Photo by Martin Sanchez on UnsplashWhen becoming a member of the Digital Storytellers Academy, there are certain terms and conditions with which members and their parents / carers / guardians (if applicable) must comply. These terms and conditions are effectively a contract which the student (if a mature student or over 17) or the parents / carers / guardians must sign before tuition begins. These terms and conditions cover, but are not limited to, details of recompense, attendance, health and safety and common law.
- Any agreed trial or taster session at a DSA academy is subject to the discretion of the local Studio Manager and may be determined by promotions, available spaces etc. and can not be guaranteed by central DSA Administration at a specific Studio. If not possible to arrange, DSA Administration will strive to arrange a trial session at an alternative Studio.
- All students are limited to a single trial session. A second trial session can only be arranged under exceptional circumstances if a trial or taster session has already been previously attended.
- Trial and taster sessions are intended purely for the decision making process of attending a DSA Studio. Trial and taster sessions can not be retrospectively allocated once membership has commenced.
2. Studio Rules, Terms & Conditions
- Some DSA Studios hold special classes or teach modules which are not available elsewhere, while DSA Administration may also arrange workshops using roving, regionally based specialist tutors. In these cases, the local DSA Studio may have their own rules, terms & conditions or an addendum to general DSA rules, terms & conditions which needs to be followed. You will be notified if this is the case, but such will already be included in the contract which must be signed prior to membership.
- All tuition fees are in the form of a membership of the Digital Storytellers Academy, and are not regarded as a per-class fee. Membership is paid on a monthly or yearly basis, in advance of the period (month or year - to be received prior to 1st of the Month) and remains unchanged regardless of actual number of classes that the student chooses to attend. No refunds are possible for missed classes.
- All membership fees should be paid, in full, to central DSA Administration (i.e. not the local DSA Studio), preferably via Direct Debit. Payment may be taken via other means but only under exceptional circumstances. Yearly payments are not restricted by this condition, and may be paid via cheque, bank transfer, BACS etc. Payment and membership will be renewed automatically unless specifically terminated in writing or via email to DSA Administration (see 3.9, below).
- A membership is payable for each (1) distinct student - said student may not be exchanged for another student under the same payment.
- A membership provides for a user account on the DSA Slate VLE - as well as a learning environment, the VLE provides a record of attendance and membership payments. A VAT invoice / statement of payments may be requested at any time from DSA Administration.
- A membership of a Studio does not guarantee continual attendance by a Studio Manager or specific staff - as is normal in all environments, there may be occasions of staff turnover or temporary staff changes.
- A membership fee is payable equal to the current fee set for the situation of the student, as listed below, modified by any additional individual discounts or payments on an individual basis for further tuition. This membership table will change from time to time due to inflation and living costs, and is notifiable to students and parents / carers / guardians with 30 days notice before implementation.
- Fees as of August 2020: Current Membership Fees Page
- Membership is required for a minimum of two months from the initial signing of the membership contract and therefore attracts a minimum of two monthly payments (if paid monthly). Also see 3.10 for yearly payments.
- Termination of membership must be received in writing and with a 30 day period of notice, but may be given prior to ending attendance. This may result in payment of additional fees if notice is not provided prior to the student ending attendance at class.
- Payment of fees utilising the yearly payment method results in a discount based upon a full year of attendance. Termination of membership of a yearly paid fee will therefore result in a refund of fees (incorporating the 30 day notice period, if applicable) calculated as if payment had been made on a non-discounted monthly basis.
- Membership of DSA will be placed in hibernation if the student is unable to attend classes due to unavoidable circumstances for a (reasonably) temporary period (e.g. due to serious documented illness or other exceptional circumstances) at no liability to the student or fee payer. Permanent failure to attend as a result of continuing circumstances will result in termination of membership without liability to the student or fee payer, with refunded payment where applicable (see 3.10, above)
- Failure to pay membership fees will result in a student being prevented from attending class until payment is received. Late payments will be charged with an additional fee equal to statutory interest or 3%, whichever is the greater at the moment of charging. Two repeated payments of late fees may result in the student membership being terminated.
- All members must arrive prior to the start of class, with sufficient time allowed for administration purposes (e.g. registration) in order to allow prompt start of the class proper.
- All students must register with DSA staff on arrival at the Studio.
- Known delay in attending class (e.g. due to unavoidable traffic issues) should be notified to the DSA Studio via text message if possible, with vocal notification restricted to last resort in order to prevent disturbance of ongoing tuition.
- Failure to attend prior to 30 mins into a module may result in the Studio preventing access until start of the following module (typically, 2 modules are held in each core weekly class)
- A membership entitles the student to attend their home (joining) Studio on a weekly basis, but also allows for temporary attendance at another Studio (e.g. vacation in another part of the country, temporary accommodation etc.) but only with prior agreement with the Studio of temporary attendance, and allowing for safety of numbers.
- Permanent transfer to another Studio is permissible due to relocation with the agreement of the destination Studio, based upon safety of numbers.
- A Studio Manager of staff member may request a student to leave the class if the student is jeopardising the safety, smooth running, enjoyment or educational content of a class. This is particularly important during practical classes utilising equipment.
- A student who must leave the class early must notify the Studio Manager or other DSA staff at the earliest opportunity after arrival.
- For all students under high-school age, the student will not be released from class other than into the custody of a known and acknowledged parent, carer or guardian who has been previously identified to DSA staff (or is the parent, carer or guardian on record). Students will not be released into the custody of visitor who has only been identified by the student. Because of staff changes and numbers of students, parents, carers and guardians involved, the Studio Manager may ask for a facial photograph to be logged with the student record in order to visually confirm the collector's identity.
- Unlike many clubs and weekend or evening classes, DSA Studios utilise a large amount of equipment which can be dangerous when abused, or is otherwise expensive to purchase, maintain and replace. As a result, students will not be permitted to utilise equipment used in learning DSA subjects without first undertaking a certification process showing correct use and specific features of health and safety regarding that equipment. Such certification additionally shows a progress in skills learning on behalf of the student.
- No equipment utilised by DSA is inherently dangerous and, as with most objects and items, becomes so only when abused - the Digital Storytellers Academy accepts no responsibility or liability in regards to injury caused by equipment used within the DSA learning environment, either in class or on location.
- Any student who feels unsure of equipment use or requires assistance should request aid from a member of DSA staff.
- Renewal of skills covered for certification is possible at any time, as well as viewing both written and videos guides via the Slate VLE.
- DSA will endeavour to utilise software which is available either free of charge, free for educational use, or otherwise is of an open source nature so that it can be utilised by the student externally to the DSA learning environment. Any selection of software utilised by a module which is unavoidably of a paid nature, either because of a restricted range or because the module is specifically oriented to training in that software, will be notified to the student, parent, carer or guardian prior to commencement of the module.
- DSA will provide the optional ability to display a publicly available student page (which can be disabled by the student) within the Slate VLE which can be used to display progression of skills and certifications obtained within the DSA Studio system.
- Due to GDPR and other data protection guidelines, retention of skills and certification is limited to a short time following the termination of student membership of DSA. Provision will be made for optional continued storage of student data for such purposes of skills and certification display (see 5.6) post termination via a permissions contract at the point of termination.
6. Provision for Temporary Studio Closure
- The Digital Storytellers Academy will endeavour to keep all Studios open as much as is reasonably possible under adverse conditions. If these conditions are caused by staffing issues, DSA will endeavour to provide staff from a central pool for a temporary period of time while local staff are replaced.
- Under circumstances caused by issues outside of the control of DSA, such as government or law authority closure orders which may include but which may not be limited to environmental conditions (e.g. extreme weather), health and safety (e.g. widespread illness, pandemic), or local access (e.g. transport failure, local civil disturbance), DSA will attempt to continue lessons using online resources and tele-education classes.
7. Appearance on Screen and in Recordings
- Appearing in images and audio is a vital part of the learning process in the creative media subject areas taught by DSA, and opportunities for future occupational roles - by agreeing to the DSA Terms & Conditions you are agreeing to the student being permitted to appear in media produced by DSA staff and students as part of the Studio education process, and the product of such media being displayed for promotion by DSA via press and promotion, displayed online and other electronic media, presented for viewing at cinemas and festivals and any other media distribution form in a non-exclusive and binding agreement (once a production is produced and displayed at least once with DSA or publicly, permission for inclusion may not be withdrawn).
- DSA accepts that despite being visible on media is a vital part of the creative learning process and future occupational roles, there are exceptional circumstances where students should not appear in media productions, including security considerations above and beyond everyday data protection and safeguarding. Such exceptional states should be notified to central DSA Administration in writing with sufficient explanation to support the restriction (though DSA also accepts that some such situations may be confidential). Three states are therefore possible for any student: Normal appearance (the default state for all students); Restricted appearance in media, but only for display within the confines of the DSA Studio (such media is destroyed after each session); and Forbidden to appear in any recorded media form (may appear in live display to a projector or monitor for education purposes, without recording). Note that any restriction to appear in media can severely restrict both the learning and enjoyment experience of DSA classes.
8. Rules & Laws
- Serious or repeated breaches of general and/or local DSA Studio rules may see the student membership terminated and the student barred from attending any DSA Studio in future.
- Membership of DSA will be immediately terminated if either party is in breach of the rules and contractual agreements listed here or in any part of these Terms & Conditions.
- DSA promise to provide a reasonable and commensurate level of tuition in the stated subject areas. While DSA Administration regularly audit teaching quality, any Studio which fails to provide such an acceptable level of tuition should be reported to the central DSA Administration for investigation. Following any investigation which upholds the complaint, DSA will offer no-liability termination of membership or alternately transfer to another Studio. Rectification of teaching quality of the offending studio will be carried out by central DSA Administration staff.
- Any form or harassment or abuse by or against staff, students, parents, carers or guardians will not be tolerated within the Digital Storytellers Academy. Of all creative media industries, the subjects covered by DSA are some of the most collaborative and team based to exist. As a result, any occasion of such harassment or abuse will result in an immediate expulsion from the DSA environment and may result in criminal or other legal ramifications.
- Similarly, all students, parents, carers and guardians must treat all staff, assistances, other students and parents, carers and guardians with respect. All students must undertake the Film Etiquette module prior to being permitted to work freely within a DSA Studio, which includes not only treatment of others, standard practices and levels of hierarchy and respect within the production team, but also the treatment of equipment and the health and safety issues surrounding it. All involved must be familiar with the contents of the Film Etiquette module.
- Smoking, drinking and the use of any substances other than those prescribed for authorised medical reasons are banned within DSA Studios. Due to the Health and Safety aspects of parts of the DSA curriculum, any medication which may affect attention or the handling of equipment, as well as any past experiences of their effects on the individual, must be notified to the DSA Studio Manager so that allowances may be made.
- No DSA staff member is permitted to administer or authorise the taking of prescribed or other such medicinal substances. The taking of required prescribed or other legal medicinal substances during the course of a DSA session is undertaken only with the responsibility of the student, parent, carer or guardian - and should be supervised by an available parent, carer or guardian in the case of minor.
- DSA upholds to maintain at least one (1) first aid qualified staff member within a DSA academy at any time.
- Any complaint, concern or notification that you feel can not be impartially investigated or resolved by local staff and/or the Studio manager should be notified to the central DSA Administration where we will investigate the issue.
- The subject areas covered by the DSA curriculum often involve both criminal and civil laws when performed on location - these may include but are not limited to rights of access, permission to film and use of aerial equipment such as drones. Such laws and guidances are often over emphasised or indeed quoted erroneously by the public (and also by law enforcement officials), but a strict set of conditions do exist. Coverage of such laws will be made as guidance prior to location shooting and any shooting undertaken on behalf of a DSA project. Any breach of such guidance is not only a breach of the law, but also results in negative attitudes to future filmmakers. As such, any breach of filming restrictions made by DSA students will result in termination of membership.
9. Updates to Contract and Contract Conditions
- The Digital Storytellers Academy reserve the right to update or modify the contents of these Terms & Conditions at any time. For minor modifications or changes to rules of conduct, these changes may be without notice. For any changes which may affect membership then students, parents, carers and guardians will be notified of the change 30 days prior to the change coming into affect.
- The contents of this contract are governed by UK laws, as applicable to the UK country in which the joining Studio (or DSA Administration, as applicable) resides.