Development Series: Dance School Term Times

For many dance schools the term times used are simply just the terms of the local school. However during this post I want to discuss other formats of term times that dance schools can put into place.

When using the school term times as your dance school times, it’s pretty easy to work out when your classes are likely to have lots of people, and when they’re not. For example, you’ll find that if doing classes during the half term, attendance may drop. As well the attendance near the end of the term, when older children have exams.

However, I think there are two downsides to having classes that rotate around school term times. The first is that they are often irregular. You may have a half term of 6 weeks and then the next half term has 4. Like wise, the winter term is often much larger as a whole than the spring or summer term. This can make it harder to plan for and obtain the same outcomes each term.

The next is that not all schools in the area will break up at the same time. While they often break up within the same week, there may be times when one school breaks up the week before, which may lead to confusion. Especially if you’re running until the last school break up and others don’t realise. On the positive side though is that on the whole, there won’t be so much confusion as it will slot in with norms around that area.

So what are the other alternatives? One is that you just run class almost every week. This keeps the classes regular and so easier to maintain and let people know when they are running. However, it doesn’t take into account holidays where classes may see a decrease in students. Plus you would then need to work out how often the bills would be. Would you get students to pay Weekly? Monthly? or Yearly? I think all of these may hit into some bumps along the way, billing weekly would cause you to use time from every class to take in the money. Monthly, is a nice half way point but months become irregular some may have three classes others may have five which may become confusing for some and cause you to spend some time working out each bill. Lastly, Yearly might be a little too long of a commitment to some and the bills would also come around and be quite expensive.

Another option is to split the year into your own term lengths. I’ve seen terms of 6 weeks, 9 weeks and even 10 weeks used effectively. Some of these lead to quite big holidays where you wouldn’t be earning any money from teaching so working out what is best for you would be great. They all balance on working out how much the money you earn will last you, especially over that daunting summer period where there aren’t very many children’s dance classes. When running the classes in this way it is especially important to be on top of the dates and ensuring that every customer knows the new term dates and holidays etc. well in advance, to avoid confusion.
For now I’m unsure as to what term set up I would use. I think some of this feeds back into the type of space you are using. If you’re studio is purpose built and you’re the sole user, why not have classes covering most of the year? But if you’re using a school, it’s unlikely they’d want to open up their space during the holidays for you to use.

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