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Examining fees: our survey results 2020

The survey is the largest of its kind in the UK with over 1,300 music teachers taking part and was conducted by an independent statistician during September and November 2019. We asked musicians about their charges for individual music tuition in 2019 and a new section in the survey concerned examining. Here we set out our survey results relating to examining.

The survey results for examining are summarised below; please note that these are not recommendations. Competition law prevents us – and other trade associations and organisations – from recommending rates for musicians’ freelance work.

Respondents were asked whether they worked as an examiner between January and September 2019. Sixty-eight respondents answered Yes to this question. They were then asked which organisation they worked for and the responses are shown as follows:

Which organisation did you work for?

Frequency

Percentage

Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM)2232.4%
Trinity College London (TCL)1217.6%
London College of Music (LCM)1927.9%
Rockschool (RSL Awards)11.5%
Other1420.6%

Total

68

100%

Respondents were then asked whether they were employed, self-employed or employed as casual labour when working as examiners. Over half of respondents said they were self-employed for this work:

Are you employed, self-employed or casual?

Frequency

Percentage

Employed1927.9%
Self-employed3957.4%
Casual Worker1014.7%

Total

68

100%

Respondents were asked how much they were paid for examining according to the different grades and how these rates were calculated; i.e. hourly, daily, or per exam. Most of those who responded said they were paid on a daily basis. The data for this question is very sparse and not very consistent with some saying they were paid by the day but then clearly quoting hourly rates or rates per exam; for example one person quoted a rate of £25 but their response implied this was a daily rate.

However, from the little data we have it seems most are paid on a daily rate with this rate ranging between £160 and £206. The same rate seems to be paid regardless of the grade of exam.

Only 20% of those who responded said they were paid for travel time. Eight respondents gave details, as follows, on travel expenses:

  • paid £206 per day for examining in UK, around £180 per day plus approximately £90 per ‘travel’ day abroad
  • previous night leave about £40; per mile 40p
  • travel allowance + expenses at cost
  • travel from home to venue by public transport and hotel if necessary
  • between venues travel time is added to examiner time
  • can claim expenses
  • mileage was added onto examining earnings
  • travel allowance + costs

Respondents were asked whether they receive holiday pay or whether they were entitled to holiday pay. Only 18 respondents (just over a quarter of those who answered this question) said they receive holiday pay.

On the other hand 60 respondents (almost 90% of those who responded to this question) said they are entitled to expenses and subsistence allowance.

You can also read our tips on how to set your own fees, including how to assess where you yourself fit within the overall range of fees and how to negotiate with your pupils and parents, by visiting ism.org/advice/tips-for-setting-music-tuition-rates

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The ISM Teachers' Pack

This pack is a helpful guide for all instrumental and vocal teachers, whether you are employed, work freelance in schools or teach privately.

A Subject Association For Music