Still on the high road out

A progress check three months since leaving the classroom

at the beginning of September I wrote a blog explaining my rationale for leaving the classroom and what the future lay in store. In taking the high road out, I outlined three priorities:

  • Priority number one – Pay Septembers mortgage. I have registered with plenty of agencies, digging out old certificates and applying for DBS. Supply work is the priority, to make ends meet I probably need to bring home around £120-£130 a day, a quite and frighteningly tall order. I don’t actually know if any schools will take anyone on supply in the next few weeks with all this uncertainty? I guess pupils and teachers may well be hit by the French and Spanish quarantine rules? Who knows?
  • Priority number two – Set up a Tutoring Company. Its a mysterious world, tutoring. I hear of all these ex-teachers who have made successful transitions into tutoring, then I find out they all teach Maths! I have no idea if this will be successful or not, but I guess now is a good time to try. I will cover my experiences of setting up a company in my next blog post, but in the meantime excitingly http://www.castletutoring.com is live.
  • Priority Number Three – Contact schools to offer catch up sessions. Talking of opportunities, the Government is offering schools a catch up premium of £1bn towards a National Tutoring Programme, with each secondary school receiving approximately £80k. This money is for small one to one tuition and extra teaching capacity from September.

So what progress has been made since leaving the classroom?

Priority number one – Pay Septembers mortgage.

Success – Well OK I cheated, we have deferred our mortgage payments for three months as part of Rishi Sunak’s Coronovirus support package. However, we have been able to put the equivalent amount away each month as the business builds and consequently are well placed to re-invest once the payment holiday comes to an end.

September

A tough first month, one day placement at an all girls Islamic school and the first two clients, one requiring A-Level English and one Year 6 Sats. The first £20 however went into the Castle Tutoring accounts in the second week so we were up and running. I enjoyed preparing a student for their University of Cambridge UCAS application in mechanical engineering and was successful in applying to run the Extended Project Qualification with a set of Chinese students, keen to obtain the necessary qualifications to study at UK Universities.

Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com
October

Supply teaching work started to increase, providing a financial safety blanket to the growing business. I worked at two schools, both mixed comprehensives in Berkshire, neither I had been to before, but as a former school leader I could see similar areas for development. I have really enjoyed going in at the ‘bottom level’, seeing what challenges ordinary teachers face not only day to day, but also how during a global pandemic they tackle the issue of social distancing and sanitation. There is no right or wrong approach, but one does feel that the advice given to schools could be more explicit to help develop a more coherent strategy, it does feel that headteachers have been left to sort their own schools out with very little guidance.

The tutoring work really started to build, as word of mouth spreads. A lovely set of clients across all age groups, I spent the first few sessions getting to know the strengths and weaknesses of each child and tailored each session to their needs. The National Tutoring Programme is an interesting development; as a small business unfortunately Castle Tutoring was not able to apply for any of the programmes, however the opportunities in schools are beginning to open up and the successful agencies are keen to recruit as schools look for catch up opportunities for their more vulnerable students.

November

Wow! I did not think that the situation would change so dramatically and so quickly, after a quiet couple of months November has been hugely successful. A lovely supply placement at an all boys independent school has set the tone for the month and the business has developed really successfully, with thirteen clients now on the books. There is a huge demand for tutoring services across the local area and it is now more a case of matching the right tutor to the right student.

Castle Tutoring have a waiting list of clients, if any qualified teacher is looking for some extra work then please do visit the website http://www.castletutoring.com

I have my first meeting with the Chinese clients this Saturday working through the Extended Project Qualification, working out their areas of interest and seeing what resources they need in order to be able to develop their area of expertise and more importantly their project skills, to prepare them for life at an British University.

All in a really positive start and as we prepare for the next steps it will be focused on how we can grow this opportunity further.

Priority number two – Set up a Tutoring Company

Success – the legal details are all in place, accountant booked and Google business has been deployed. Early on I participated in a networking meeting with @realnetworking which was hugely positive and gave me some excellent pointers as to how to grow the business further. Since then thanks to my good friend @chrisedge76 and the partnership I have developed with @Opogoeducation, I have established a really positive online presence, blogging regularly to direct traffic through the site. The company exists and it is profitable, so onto the next stage. I have also recruited staff to help support the venture to reduce the waiting lists and I am looking forward to introduce our range of experts to a wider community.

Priority Number Three – Contact schools to offer catch up sessions

Less successful, whether it is the wrong time of year or that schools are preferring to work with National Tuition Partnership scheme I am not sure, but I have not received any offers of work through this option, despite emailing all the local schools. It is a difficult one as supply work has been constant and the odd hour in school may not be worth my while anyway, so will to perhaps reconsider this priority.

So what next?

It has been a very exciting adventure to date, you can track most of my progress through the variety of blogs that I have written and published. Castle Tutoring is profitable and the original daily target has been smashed.

However, despite only being three months into the campaign, it is clear that there is scope to grow even further. Finding out how that works and to turn the business into a truly exciting enterprise is the next step.

It would be great to partner with like-minded individuals who can see the potential scale of the business opportunity and help match outstanding qualified tutors with students looking for that extra bit of support.

The first few months have been a real labour of love, developing the business and working long hours in the evenings and weekends to ensure its success. There is still much to achieve but the future is very exciting indeed.

Richard Endacott, Castle Tutoring

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