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My franchise story: Rediscovering my passion for education

My franchise story: Rediscovering my passion for education

“Tutor Doctor presented itself as the perfect opportunity to make me fall in love with education all over again," says franchisee Katrin Dennehy

Education has always been close to Katrin Dennehy’s heart. She spent over a decade teaching in secondary schools throughout Essex but eventually began to feel let down by the traditional education system. Not one to admit defeat, Katrin actively went on the hunt for something that would reignite her passion once again. She found the perfect opportunity in the form of Tutor Doctor.

“I began to disagree with some aspects of the education system. Nowadays, teachers are put under so much pressure that I started to fall out of love with the career that I’d been doing for most of my life. I thought a lot about the direction I was heading, but after handing in my notice, I had the last school term to decide exactly where I wanted to go,” she explains. 

Originally from Germany, Katrin came over to the UK to start working in a secondary school teaching her native language, as well as French. After showing much promise, she was quickly promoted into middle management to be in charge of pastoral care before moving on to become a deputy headteacher of a secondary school in Romford. It was whilst in this role, in charge of inclusion, safeguarding and a coordinator for special needs students that Katrin found her passion clearly lay in protecting and promoting the welfare of students.

But the role still didn’t give Katrin the satisfaction that she thought she wanted. Although the job was very rewarding, working over 60 hours a week meant that she felt as if nothing was ever accomplished. And that had to change.

“My husband, David, has had his own oven cleaning franchise for many years and he informed me of the support and success of investing in a franchise. In February 2018, I went to a franchise exhibition where I spoke to Nigel Mayne, the franchise director of Tutor Doctor. It was the first stall that I came across but I immediately thought ‘No – I don’t want to go back into education!’, says Katrin. “I continued around the rest of the show, I was interested in a care franchise, but I somehow kept being drawn back to Tutor Doctor.

“I’d gathered information from other brands that I was interested in to make sure that I had a few to consider. Tutor Doctor stood out as I was able to provide support to students, however in a way that I had a true belief in.” 

Katrin handed in her notice but school policy meant that she had to continue to the end of the school term before being able to go on her training. In August 2018, Katrin flew out to Toronto for an intensive seven-day business boot camp.

She continues: “Once I’d eventually arrived, it was amazing. I learnt everything that I needed to know to get me started for when I got back home. Although it was a very steep learning curve for me, I was certain that I’d be supported throughout the whole process.”

After launching a Tutor Doctor franchise, there is active support by a learning support specialist (LSS), across all areas of the business through structured training programmes, weekly coaching calls, weekly global calls and on-demand support when needed. As the business grows, there are specifically designed support systems to help franchisees continue growth, build momentum and ultimately scale the business to help achieve financial and personal goals.

“I’m quite independent and like to figure things out myself,” says Katrin. “I prefer to do and learn as I go along. The good thing was that I knew I had support from my LSS if I required it. The support I’ve received from other people in my training class has been invaluable too – we’re going through the same issues at the same time.”

Katrin’s passion for education has given her the opportunity to create a lasting impression on many students’ lives in her local community, most notably becoming part of Havering’s ‘Alternative Provision’ programme as an ‘approved provider’ for schools.

“As part of the programme, I work closely with eight schools if students need extra tuition,” she says. “It might be because they’re misbehaving or have special educational needs, but the schools will come to me directly to provide that service. As well as those connections, I have 65 tutors providing tuition to 112 families.

“The sense of achievement that Tutor Doctor gives me is like no other. Families know that I have a lot of experience in education and they feel comforted by that. The satisfaction scores that I’ve received from my clients actually placed me in the top 10 across the whole global network. That is an extremely great feeling!”

The first year of business for Katrin has been comfortable and has given her the satisfaction that she was once craving. The ability to set her own schedule has worked wonders for her personal life too.

“The flexibility of my schedule is perfect,” she adds. “With most of my family still living in Germany, I have the freedom to visit them if I wish. When I first started, it was all about generating attention for the business and making sure the foundations were set before growing. I’ve since been able to have Sunday’s off and half of Saturday too and spend precious time with my family.

“Tutor Doctor has really allowed me to rediscover my passion. It presented itself as the perfect opportunity to make me fall in love with education all over again.”

At a glance Tutor Doctor

Established:Canada 2004
Number of franchised outlets: 650+ (16 countries) (70+ in UK)
Location of units: UK-wide
Investment range: £29,700 - £50,000
Minimum required capital: £10,000
Contact: 0208 1333 525

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