Frequently asked questions
Assessment lessons usually last for 30-minutes and are a great opportunity for you to see where we teach (if you’re having face-to-face classes), look through our teaching resources and answer any other questions you may have. It allows you to get a feel of what’s involved before you commit.
Q. Can I have a Skype assessment?
Sure thing – let us know and we’ll send you our Skype contact.
Q. Do I have to make a decision straightaway?
Not at all! There’s no need to decide on the day, simply let us know in your own time.
Q. Can I start classes without an assessment?
You can, some students start without an assessment and that’s fine. Simply let us know your objectives, your timetable and your start date and we can register you. If you have some knowledge of Spanish, let us know and we’ll tailor your classes according to your level.
Q. Do you offer group classes or only 1:1?
We mainly specialise in 1:1 classes. We used to offer group classes but here’s what we found:
- If students were unable to make the weekly class, they’d fall behind and even with the best will in the world, lose momentum. Our 1:1 Spanish classes can be flexible if you need to change the time for any reason (we understand life gets in the way sometimes!)
- Group courses are challenging if your pace is different to others in the class. Our 1:1 classes move at your pace because we all have different learning styles and respond differently to absorbing information. It’s your time so you can ask and study anything you want!
- The class content can be generic in group classes. In our 1:1 classes, you have endless options to focus on what you want to learn, which means that you learn what you’re genuinely interested in.
We think group classes certainly have a place in language learning (we even have students who attend group classes and top-up their learning with us), it’s just that we choose to specialise in 1:1. We do also offer 2:1 classes for families, siblings, partners, friends etc.
Once you’ve decided to start learning with us, we’ll establish your tutor, timetable and start date. We’ll then email you your registration details which includes details of:
- your timetable
- your tutor
- our info-sheet on what to prepare before your first class including your textbook
- payment details and cancellation policy.
You’re then set to start!
Q. Do I have to book the same time every week?
Most students book classes every week because they like to have structure and it helps them get into the mindset of learning. Some students (e.g. those that work shifts, irregular hours or travel a lot) book ‘ad-hoc’ classes whereby they check-in with their tutor and see their availability in any given week and book different days/times as they go along. We can’t always guarantee your preferred time but students do rearrange and cancel their classes so we can usually fit you in somewhere – we do our best!
Q. How does your tutor matching process work?
We’re a tight-knit team of tutors at The Spanish Academy and all of our tutors are multi-lingual, well-travelled and teaching is their main profession. Our aim is to match you up with a tutor that suits your learning needs and style. We invest time and resources in tutor recruitment, selection, training and retention as we want them to be part of our team for as long as they can! We ask for regular feedback and check all class progress sheets so we know how every student is progressing.
This varies on the type of class (general, exam, business, Skype, children’s) and venue (Cardiff, London or Skype). Our classes start from £23/hour.
Q. How do I book classes?
Most students have a fixed weekly timetable, e.g., Wednesdays at 6 – 7pm. We’ll reserve this space for you on a rolling monthly basis until you tell us otherwise.
Q. How do I pay for classes?
Your first class is PAYG so that you can try us out. Thereafter, we kindly request students pay for their classes one month in advance so that we can secure their preferred timetable and tutor as we operate a busy timetable and often have waiting lists! At the end of the month, simply confirm your dates for the following month with your tutor. Your calendar will be updated and you’ll be sent an invoice at the beginning of the month. Think of it like a gym membership; you can cancel anytime.
Q. How do I cancel my class?
If you wish to rearrange or cancel a class, please contact your tutor directly (you’ll have been given their profile and contact details upon registration); please do not contact the office as we may not be able to relay the information on time. For classes cancelled with less than 24-hours’ notice, we do charge. This is because we pay our tutors as it’s too short notice for us to slot another student into the space. We don’t like doing it but we hope you understand.
The class price is inclusive of all resources such as handouts, worksheets, homework, podcasts, progress reports (exam students) and end of course certificate. We provide email support outside of classes if you need as well as guidance on language learning resources, trips and so forth. The only thing that’s not included is the textbook which can be purchased online.
Q. Do you offer discounts?
We do! If you’re booking more than 1 class per week, you’ll receive a discount. If you block book 2 months’ worth of classes in advance, you’ll also benefit from a discount. The amount depends on the original hourly rate, which can vary depending on if you’re having general Spanish classes, exam, business, Skype, children’s, etc.
Skype classes area great for students who can’t have classes at our Academy or prefer taking advantage of technology and learning from home. Plus, we can be more flexible with our availability – and they’re cheaper too!
Q. What are the technical features on Skype?
- Listening: Through the speakers you’ll be able to hear the listening exercises. The tutor will be able to control the pause, rewind and play buttons so you don’t have to do anything.
- Notes: The Instant Messaging (IM) board is great for notes and corrections, which can then easily be copied and printed or referred to after the class. You can also write notes on a notepad during the lesson if you prefer.
- Attachments: Skype easily allows for files and attachments to be emailed during the conversation.
- Video recording: You can even record the class and play it back afterwards if you wish!
- Browser pages: You are encouraged to have an online dictionary in another tab if you need it.
Q. What checks do I need to do before class starts?
- Device – although you can use Skype on your tablet or smartphone, we recommend learning on a laptop or PC
- Updates – make sure your Skype is updated to the latest version (check your Notifications or click ‘Check For Updates’)
- Accessories – use headphones if possible as this reduces background noise
- Sound checks – test your microphone, speakers and video quality on Skype (most devices have webcams installed otherwise these can be purchased separately and are inexpensive). Skype also has a ‘Test audio’ feature.
- Battery – enough power or access to a mains socket
- Desk – sit in a comfortable place with good lighting where you won’t be disturbed
- Lesson materials – make sure they’re to hand, such as your textbook and worksheets.
Q. My connection isn’t great – what can I do?
Most classes should have great video quality but now and again, you can have glitches. If for any reason the video call quality is poor, try the following:
- log off and log back on again (this does the trick most of the time!)
- switch off the video and switch to audio
- switch off any background devices you don’t need as this will improve the call quality.
We’ve just launched a new add-on service for exam students who need complex homework, essays and assessments marked. Essay and assessment marking can take time for tutors to do – we have to compare the essay against the mark scheme of the exam board, complete the marking grid and include recommendations.
Simply email your tutor the work to be marked and your tutor will mark it according to the exam board guidelines. Your submission will be corrected using the tracking feature so you can clearly see corrections, suggestions, edits, change of word order and so forth. You will also be awarded a final mark.
All submissions are £9.50 each, which will be added to your lesson invoice.
CV and Interview Preparation
We have students who need assistance with writing their CVs and covering letters for applications to jobs, placements and internships in Hispanic-speaking countries (and the UK if you’re Hispanic and learning English with us). We can help tailor your CV to the position, ensure the vocabulary you have used is relevant and shows off your strengths. We can prepare you for interviews and guide you through the process. Contact us for more information and pricing.
UCAS Application Form
We’re proud to have guided A level students on their UCAS application forms who have subsequently been accepted into their top-choice university. We often have students wishing to study languages at Degree level and need guidance on submitting their UCAS application. Contact us for more information and pricing.
Tutoring for us
Send us an email expressing your interest and we’ll send you a link to our online application form. We look through all applications and will get back to you either way.
Q. What’s your interview process like?
We have a 2-part interview process – we need to make sure you’re committed as we want you to stay with us for as long as possible! The first is an interview to discuss your skills, qualifications and experience and the second interview involves you teaching for us so we can assess your knowledge and teaching style. We’re looking for engaging, personable and responsive tutors!
Q. What documents do you need from me?
All tutors are legally required to have a valid DBS certificate to teach children in the UK. You’ll also need to submit your references and proof of ID.
Q. What level of English do I need?
We welcome applications from native and non-native language tutors. We generally prefer tutors to have a minimum C1 level of English; it’s important that you can explain more complex grammar and verb structures to students in plain English.
Q. How many hours can I teach and when?
As many as you like! We prefer to work with a smaller community of dedicated and committed language tutors as we’re looking to build a good ongoing relationship with you.
Q. Can I teach face-to-face classes or online?
We teach both face-to-face classes (in Cardiff and in London) as well as online. Demand for our online classes is growing as students are realising the benefits of online technology and the convenience of booking classes.
Q. How often will I get paid?
We pay tutors monthly – simply send us your invoice with the hours you have taught and any expenses and our Accounts team will pay you online.
Q. Do I need to be self-employed?
All tutors are registered as self-employed and are responsible for submitting their own annual tax returns to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Q. Do I get paid for cancellations?
We operate a 24-hour cancellation policy so if your student cancels the class last-minute, you’re entitled to be paid for the class.