Tell us about your business Flying Start Tuition…
At Flying Start, we’ve been delivering expert tuition for ten years. Over the past decade, Flying Start Tuition offers small group and one-to-one support to children in maths, English and exam preparation such as the Eleven Plus (11+), SATs and GCSEs. Our emphasis is on helping students to develop a love of learning and we are proud to have won a number of awards for our innovative, holistic approach to tuition.
At the heart of the Flying Start ethos lie our five core values that guide our staff, pupils and parents: ‘welcome’, ‘inspire’, ‘empower’, ‘support’ and ‘enjoy’! It is these values and our unique approach that make Flying Start a truly special place for children to learn.
Inspired by the potential of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) for enhancing children’s confidence, focus, independent thinking and memory, many of the tools and techniques used in NLP are embedded into Flying Start lessons and all our teaching staff are trained in NLP. The varied activities and pace within each session, interspersed with active movement, means students remain engaged and focused throughout, enabling them to learn and progress more effectively. To find out more about NLP, click here.
Our main head office and tuition centre is in Chesham and we have five other satellite tuition centres in Amersham, Aylesbury, Berkhamsted, Jordans and Little Chalfont. We run sessions after school, on Saturdays and during the school holidays.
What inspired you to start Flying Start Tuition?
When I had my first daughter, Charlotte, I went back to work part time but I found juggling teaching and motherhood quite a challenge. I had been tutoring a few pupils alongside my teaching role and I loved the satisfaction of being able to work with individual students and target support where they most needed it. I decided to leave my job and set up as a private tutor so that I could fit teaching around being a mum.
What were you doing beforehand?
I was a primary school teacher and had taught in both the private and state sectors over the course of twelve years, including a year on the senior management team.
How did you get started?
I set up a room in my house as a small classroom and put out some adverts in local press, as well as putting the word out amongst friends and contacts. I came up with a company name and a logo and my husband built me a basic website. Soon after setting up as a tutor, I discovered NLP when I was out at a business networking event. I was so excited by the potential of NLP to help children with their learning that I trained as a practitioner and this is what gave me the inspiration to develop the Flying Start approach that we have today.
What has been the greatest challenge so far?
There have been many challenges along the way! When I started out in business I had no idea what I didn’t know so I have made a lot of (often expensive) mistakes. One of the earliest challenges was making the shift from working out of a room in my house to taking on commercial premises as this resulted in a huge increase in overheads. For a while, I was not sure if the business would survive the additional costs and it took a huge leap of faith to take the risk but in the long run, it was worth it.
And the greatest success?
Our students and our fantastic team. Each student who comes through our doors and leaves feeling more confident and having achieved their goals is a success. And each pupil’s success is down to the commitment and dedication of the fantastic team that we have at Flying Start Tuition. It is our tenth anniversary this year and I am proud of the team we have built and the thousands of pupils we have helped over the past decade.
What’s a ‘normal’ day for you?
There is no such thing as a ‘normal’ day – and that is what I love about what I do. I split my working life between my home in Norfolk and Flying Start’s head office in Chesham. I no longer teach as I spend my time on business development and management. When I am in the office, I spend quite a lot of time in meetings; these may be to do with marketing, course development, staffing or a whole host other things. When I am working from home, I spend most of my time working at my computer – much of it responding to emails!
How do you stay productive, motivated and at the top of your game?
The honest answer is that I don’t always! As a busy working mum (now with two daughters) life is a constant juggle and I do have days when I just want to pull the duvet up over my head and stay in bed! When I get to that point, I realise I am close to burnout and over the years I have become more aware of how important it is to invest time in self-care. So, now I am more aware of it, I do my best to fit in some regular ‘me time’ and to make sure I am looking after my health as that has a positive knock-on effect in all areas of my life.
Do you have any tips for others?
If starting out in business, it is so important to do your research and get the right advice. Also accept that you probably can’t do everything yourself so bring in help where needed.
AND JUST FOR FUN….
Favourite thing to do at the weekend?
As I am so busy during the week, I love to spend time relaxing at home with my family, going out for walks or bike rides and having a family movie night in.
Favourite way to relax?
I love to sing and am in two choirs and an acapella quartet so that all keeps me very busy! I find singing very uplifting and relaxing and it is my way of switching off from everything else going on in my hectic life.
One thing on your bucket list?
I would love to take my family on a trip around Australia.
Keep in touch with Flying Start Tuition
Flying Start are Ofsted registered and accept Childcare Vouchers and Tax-Free Childcare. Bursaries are also available – please ask for details.
t: 01494 772 898