How will children’s education franchises grow out of COVID and how will they make the learning experience more positive for children?
Posted: 03 Feb 2022 | 6 minutes read by What Franchise
As the world continues to recover from a testing two years, the beginning of 2022 presents an ideal opportunity to reflect on the way businesses and their markets have been affected by the pandemic. For the education industry, in particular, the future certainly looks different now to how it may have done pre-pandemic, with further importance placed on mindfulness and meeting the personal needs of individuals. The in-home and online tutoring company, Tutor Doctor, reviews projections for how children’s education franchises will be reacting and growing out of COVID, as well as making the learning experience more positive for children who require the services of a high-quality, personalised education brand.
The number of students being home-schooled has been on a steady rise since 2012 but has spiked significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking forward, the tutoring market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of around eight per cent from 2021 to 2026. This trend results in an increase in demand for support as parents struggle to navigate the complexities inherent with home-schooling their children. As more children around the UK and globally continue to expose gaps in their education due to contingencies such as online learning not meeting the required high standards, parents are turning to private companies to supplement this lost learning.
Frank Milner, president of Tutor Doctor, sees this movement reflected in the growth and development of the brand, which continues to supply the increasing need for its high-quality services. “It’s no surprise that we’re seeing a moment of significant growth for the domestic and international tutoring market in 2022,” says Frank.
“The last two years not only created problems and added pressures in the education industry but identified huge gaps in how education is delivered in a world where sophisticated technologies are at our disposal. While mainstream educators did what they could with the help of Zoom and other software to keep classes involved and engaged, a drop-off in the overall attainment level was natural, which is exactly why families are turning to private tutors to supplement their children’s needs.
“We’re incredibly proud of how we’ve approached the pandemic as an international community of passionate educators. This has enabled us to expand and reach local markets that didn’t previously have access to high-quality in-home and online tutors. It has certainly affirmed our intentions to continue this throughout 2022.”
It is understandable, therefore, that the theme for students in the coming calendar and academic year will be all about catching up. When schools reopened in the UK in March 2021, it was estimated that primary school students were an average of three-and-a-half months behind educational benchmarks in maths and roughly two months behind in reading. Therefore, much of the learning in 2022 will be focused on catching students up to meet educational benchmarks for their cohort while preventing them from falling behind in learning goals for this year.
The National Tutoring Programme is just one way this will begin to happen, and individual schools, teachers, parents, and tutors will all play a role in helping students to close their COVID learning gaps. Tutor Doctor is also assisting in these efforts, with some franchisees having been NTP accredited. These locations include Cambridge, Beeston Park and most recently Bristol.
A significant lesson from the pandemic, meanwhile, is the importance of emotional learning and employing mindfulness in schools, which was also seen pre-pandemic. Studies have found that one-half of parents report their child’s mental wellbeing has been negatively impacted by the pandemic, and surveys indicate that 74 per cent of teachers and school staff feel school closures have impacted students’ mental health.
“This year is very much about ensuring the full recovery of students’ learning,” explains Becky Ward, the education experience specialist at Tutor Doctor. “Academically as well as making sure they’re mentally prepared and in a positive enough position to learn after suffering disruptions to their overall development is imperative. We are all taking away a lot from the last two years, and it is now all about how we can flip a traumatic time on its head and make it positive moving forward.
“One way this will be achieved is through technology. It is very likely that we will see more focus placed on developing and improving educational technology to increase its effectiveness and accessibility for all students. This will be especially valuable should more school closures occur in the future. It is also likely that we will see more technology incorporated into in-person learning as tutors, teachers, and policymakers reflect on those things that worked well with online learning and devise ways to replicate it in the physical classroom and/or in-person tutoring setting.”
A mentor introduced Ruth Agbaji, the founder of the fledgling franchise Code Wiz, to Tutor Doctor’s President Frank Milner last year, when COVID-19 shutdowns were sending parents and kids scrambling for safe and enriching activities.
The two struck up a partnership, in which Code Wiz sent students to Tutor Doctor and vice versa. “It was one of those things where all the stars just sort of aligned,” Agbaji recalls. “It was like, this makes a lot of sense. You should look into an acquisition.”
In March, Tutor Doctor and Clear Summit Group bought Code Wiz, and Agbaji and Milner are now strategizing on an expansion plan for the six-unit computer-coding franchise.
Milner is “super, super excited, in case you couldn’t tell,” about the 20-year-old brand’s first acquisition. Tutor Doctor has 350 franchisees who operate around 700 franchise territories in 15 countries, he says. Code Wiz has only six.
“I think back to the early days of Tutor Doctor when we were just getting started. So for me to have an opportunity to get back to the early stages, high-growth opportunity, it’s incredible exciting,” he said from his headquarters in Toronto. “I’m chomping at the bit.”
Agbaji launched Code Wiz in 2017. “It tied my love for coding and my desire for impact,” she said. “We help kids ages 7 to 17 unlock their inner geniuses through coding and robotics.”
Range of investment for a Code Wiz franchise is $60,000 to $80,000, about the same as Tutor Doctor. “Definitely the plan is to grow Code Wiz as a separate and distinct stand-alone brand, and we see huge market opportunity for that,” Milner said, adding details of their growth plan will be hashed out in ongoing strategic planning meetings.