The rise in popularity of children’s services franchises

A recent study has revealed that a whopping 77% of parents are happy to invest their hard-earned cash in after-school activities for their children*. And with the majority spending upwards of £28,000 on their children’s hobbies before they reach 18, it’s no wonder that savvy entrepreneurs are seeing the benefit in investing in a children’s services franchise.

Funding cuts and budget limitations in mainstream education have plagued the school system for decades. In 2019, the government pledged to invest an extra £7.1billion in schools across England before 2023 but this still leaves a significant shortfall of £2.5billion following recent budget cuts. Parents are now taking matters into their own hands by investing their disposable income in extra-curricular activities for their children.

But with hundreds of potential activities available on the market, how do you make your service stand out from the crowd? Andy Knights, COO of Stagecoach Performing Arts, says the secret is opting for a service you feel passionately about and playing to your strengths.

“A key component of running a successful children’s services franchise is a passion for child enrichment and making a difference in the community. Even if you come with no on-the-job experience of working with children, you must be invested in their development and equipping them with the confidence needed to perform in life. That’s the case across the entire children’s services sector, whether that be in the performing arts, after-school tuition or sporting activities.”

Consistency is key

Andy goes on to explain that a crucial element of any children’s services business strategy is ensuring all team members are singing from the same hymn sheet.

“At Stagecoach, we live by our motto of Creative Courage for Life, because we feel that truly encompasses our commitment to our students. Our franchisees live and breathe this concept which has a knock-on effect on our network of teachers and assistants. I’d encourage any business owner to quickly establish a relevant and relatable company culture and then live by it. At the very least, it unifies everyone who falls under the umbrella of your brand.”

Don’t know? Don’t worry!

Utilising the support available to you is another crucial component of any successful business plan: “One of the unquestionable benefits of running a franchise is the abundance of support you get from your franchisor,” added Andy. “As long as you bring passion and commitment to your business, anything you have less experience in or knowledge of can be taught. A considerable proportion of our network is made up of former performers or mainstream teachers with no real background of business ownership or management. We utilise their valuable skillset in lesson planning and creativity to diversify our singing, dancing and acting sessions, whilst we fill in any gaps in their knowledge through our comprehensive training programme. It’s a mutually-beneficial partnership of give and take, which any franchisor should be happy to instil in their network.”

Trust in your service

When operating any sort of children’s services franchise, it’s imperative that parents feel your service and team are credible and trustworthy. By ensuring your motives constantly centre around a commitment to child development, you’ll soon be reaping the rewards of running a successful franchise.

“Committing to these behaviours will establish your franchise as a well-respected and reputable service,” added Andy. “The children’s services sector continues to thrive, so this is a prime time to invest.”

Matthew Wing, franchisee and Principal at Stagecoach Performing Arts Chingford, can certainly vouch for the increase in parents opting for after-school activities for their children.

“I first took over operations of my Stagecoach franchise 11 years ago,” explained Matthew. “Back then, I had 140 students – now I have 440. As a parent of two myself, I understand parents’ frustrations with the apparent lack of performing arts opportunities in schools. Funding is no longer as available as it once was, meaning state educators aren’t able to offer the opportunities they once could. Therefore, it would make sense that more parents than ever are looking into extra-curricular performing arts opportunities for their children. And if they’re paying for a service then, of course, they’re going to be doing their research, so it’s crucial you have something that differentiates you from other providers.

“Stagecoach is one of the most internationally recognised performing arts schools in the world. Their brand position has placed me well in the local community – my schools are known as the best in the area, which has really contributed to the growth of my franchise.”

The children’s services sector covers all manner of opportunities - from children’s tutoring, to after-school clubs. With more parents than ever looking to invest in their child’s future and overall happiness, now looks to be a high-time to make an investment of your own.

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*Gerard Kelly & Partners, May 2019, Out of school, out of pocket - How much do parents spend on

extra-curricular activities?


Editor’s notes:

Images available – A hi-res photo of Matthew Wing with Stagecoach Chingford students

To speak with Andy Knights or Matthew Wing contact Kelly Ayres on 07895 876745 or email

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About Stagecoach Performing Arts

About Stagecoach Performing Arts: Over the years we have seen more than one million students unlock their potential, which is something they will value for their whole life. At Stagecoach we teach our students so much more than how to sing, dance and act. We help them blossom into well-rounded individuals, ready to embrace life and all its opportunities. With nearly 30 years’ experience in teaching the performing arts, we understand how to get the best out of our young performers. We delight in seeing our students have fun, make friends, learn new skills and discover hidden talents. We encourage them to take ‘safe risks’ through rehearsals and performance, which brings out a willingness to take on new challenges. None of us know what the future holds, which is why it’s so important for today’s children to be resilient, brave and self-assured. Furthermore you can rest assured that your child is in safe hands as we adhere to the strictest child safety policies. About joining Stagecoach as a franchisee: With our 30th birthday in 2018, the Stagecoach model has been proven and refined to become one of the UK’s leading performing arts opportunities. Franchisees build a team of equally passionate and enthusiastic teachers, qualified to bring out the very best in their students. Stagecoach schools provide a thriving, nurturing and supportive environment for creative learning. That’s just one of the reasons why 40,000 children every week flock to classes nationwide. Today, a network of more than 300 franchisees operate over 680 schools offering 1,780 classes in eight countries. Through an exciting and varied framework of teaching and development, franchisees have helped to unlock the potential of more than one million students since it opened in 1988.

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