Booking Ben

Booking and fees:

To arrange a visit get in touch via the contact form on this site after reading this page.


Details of fees are all subject to your exact requirements, so nothing on here represents a formal quote, but roughly speaking these are my guidelines. Each session is approximately one hour.

I am, of course, happy to negotiate details since every event is different.

School enrichment workshops/talks:

I am keen to support schools in their enrichment needs, and these prices reflect this. In practice even a short visit requires a day of my time. As a result you will get more value for money if you use me for more than 1 talk/workshop on a day – as follows.

  • One approx 1 hour workshop/talk/lecture session: £400
  • Two sessions (i.e. roughly a half day visit): £600
  • Three sessions: approx £750, but discuss this with me first to check on timings.
  • Four sessions or more – Please get in touch to discuss this.
  • plus travel/accommodation expenses as required, from Bath, UK, at 45p per mile (HMRC guidance) for petrol, or equivalent public transport costs.

For simplicity – discussions on a full day rate should start around £1000.

Fees for Teacher training/INSET/conference events:

I regularly deliver workshops, demonstrations, and keynote presentations. The exact situations and needs will vary widely and should be discussed directly with me.

With that caveat, and as a starting point for fee discussions, a typical keynote (approx 1 hour) speaker fee for a large teacher conference might be around £750, plus travel.

I understand that budgets vary wildly. Please get in touch. It may be that a day-rate is more appropriate if more than one session is required.

A day rate should be considered as in the region of £1000, plus travel.

Public Admission:

The situation for general public events (particularly with an entrance fee) will also be very event dependent, so please also discuss this with me directly.

Interview Preparation

I am also very happy to provide 1-1 Mock Interviews for students intending to apply for mathematics related degrees.

  • Approx 45 mins to 1 hour should be allowed, but this would normally be best done as part of a longer visit.
  • If many students are interested I can work with them in pairs, in a minimum of 30 mins (preferably longer), although this does mean a much briefer and less personal experience.
  • We need a quiet room, and space to sit with pen and paper, and an appropriate member of school staff either present (can be working in the background) or within calling distance.
  • The interview will be approx 75% mathematics discussion, and about 25% debrief and discussion of the interview, with time for them to ask questions as needed.

Grants and other funding opportunities

You may wish to check whether there are grants available for funding (or part-funding) an event like this:

  • the Royal Institution regularly fund events from the STEM directories (My page on the directory is here).
  • British Science Association (BSA) (grant info here…)
  • Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) (grant info here…)
  • London Mathematical Society (LMS) (grant info here…)

General Requirements:

If delivering a session at your venue I will usually need the following setup:

  • A projector and screen, large enough and bright enough for the audience to all see clearly.
  • I need to be able to plug in my own laptop: video via HDMI or VGA, sound via 3.5mm jack, and 240V power supply
  • I need to be able to access my laptop during the presentation (i.e. not all plugged in off-stage, or in a sound booth somewhere) – a table at the front or on stage is great.
  • A radio microphone (lapel or lav microphone) if the venue normally requires it (rough guide:  if it’s for more than 100 people then I’d recommend one)
  • Set-up time (20-30 mins in the venue before any audience is present to check set-up of projector and sound etc)

If any of these are likely to be a problem we can probably work around it, but I do need to know! I can bring more of my own equipment/cables if I know to do so in advance.

If in doubt – just get in touch and ask.

Employment Status (IR35 etc):

If you are a school or university, you will probably ask me to be a guest speaker, which is typically one day of work, or less, for a one-off fee.

HMRC consider this to be self-employed, and in the light of the somewhat complicated recent reforms to employment law, have issued guidance about what particular jobs are likely to be self-employed – see the following quote:

From the HMRC website and employment manual:
“A visiting lecturer who gives an occasional talk or short series of talks on a subject about
which he has specialist knowledge and which is not part of the core curriculum will
normally have rather different terms and conditions and is likely to be self-employed.”

I confirm that I am registered as self-employed, as a sole trader – under the name “Ben Sparks” – for Self-Assessment with HMRC, and declare all my income as required. No VAT charges will be added to the invoice.

It is *extremely unlikely* (from my own conversations with HMRC) that anyone employing me in the manner described above would be required to pay me through PAYE as an employee.

Employment status can also be checked by the worker or client using the HMRC check
employment status service
Unfortunately, in my experience, for a guest speaker, the tool only gives a result of “unable to determine”. This has happened repeatedly and as a result I have chosen to explain the situation in detail here on this page to help employers.