We never intended to franchise Sounds Right Phonics Classes for Kids and to say it ‘just happened’ would be a bit blasé but it was never the intended goal.
In 2016 we launched some phonics classes in our home town of Chelmsford and a local village called Kelvedon a few miles away. I was a primary school teacher who specialised in Early Years. I had been the Literacy subject leader at my school as well as being a leading Literacy teacher in the county. Charlie was an entrepreneur who was at the time was running her highly successful theatre school: Little Stars Theatre Workshops. I had been helping her out in the office with admin for a few months when the idea of a preschool phonics class arose. On a slight whim one Tuesday afternoon in January we put a post on a popular mums’ Facebook group asking if anyone would come to new phonics classes if we ran them. We were blown away by the response and less than a few hours later we had hired two church halls and started booking children into classes that would take place in just over two weeks. Less than twenty-four hours later we added extra classes to keep up with the demand. We had a hall and we had children and with just two weeks to go I started on the content. The aim was to create high energy and fun phonics classes.
As luck would have it, we have another sister who is also a primary school teacher and she was head of Early Years at that time, so we took the classes into the nursery setting of the school where she worked to road test the product. This was the best thing we could have done - trying it out on real kids gave us both the confidence that we had a fantastic product but also the foresight that we needed to make some tweaks. That we did, and we launched the classes to a sell out class in Kelvedon Village Hall in February 2016
Over the next few weeks – we moved quickly – we took on four members of staff and branched out with classes across Essex and into St Albans. It was around this time that we were getting repeated emails for people asking to buy a franchise. Initially this made us smile and chuckle to ourselves but slowly over time we thought – let’s give it a go! Less that a year after launching the classes we franchised the business with 3 pilot franchises and there the journey began!