Bolton teacher started drama lessons during Covid pandemic

March 30, 2021

A TEACHER and mum-of-three has made it her mission to help improve children’s wellbeing by introducing them to the world of performing arts. Laura Hanlon began a new Little Voices franchise in Bolton at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, running drama and singing lessons for children aged four to 18.

With venues due to reopen in April, the primary school teacher wants to spread the message and help as many children as possible after what has been ‘a difficult year for young people’.

In aid of supporting young people who may be struggling with their mental health as a result of Covid-19, Laura and her team have kept children engaged during lockdown with free video workshops and weekly lessons.

Related: Buying and Running A UK Children’s Franchises – What Does It Take?

Laura, 33, who lives in Lostock, bought the Bolton franchise in April 2020 during the first national lockdown but has been determined to help it grow. She also runs the Bury franchise of the national performing arts training organisation.

She said: “At first it was a really stressful time as I tried to get my head around taking over a new business and growing it, as well as taking our lessons online.

“It was so important for our pupils to still have structure and normality in a confusing time in their lives.

“I met most of my pupils for the first time while we were online. Every time we went back into venue following a lockdown, more pupils joined and amazingly we are going from strength to strength.”

Founded in Blackburn in 2007, Little Voices grew nationally, with more than 50 franchises dotted across the UK, from Bolton to London.

Related: Children Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

The group prides itself in having small classes and putting students through their London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) exams.

Laura added: “I wasn’t going to be defeated as I knew I had such a strong support network of fellow principals around me and parents who were calling out for some positivity and fun in their children’s lives.

“Performing arts is perfect for this as it really boosts children’s wellbeing – allowing them to believe they can do it. I love watching their confidence grow.

“I have spent most of this year seeing my pupils through a computer screen and there is now a real buzz that we are heading out of this and we will be back into our venues finally.”

Laura has big hopes for the future, with plans to put pupils through their LAMDA exams soon while welcoming more youngsters.

By Sam Ormiston

Source: The Bolton News

Code Ninjas Celebrates 300 Open Locations

March 9, 2021

International Kids Coding Franchise, Code Ninjas, Sees Success Despite Pandemic Challenges; Reaches Major Growth Milestone

Code Ninjas, the world’s largest and fastest-growing kids’ coding franchise, celebrated having 300 locations simultaneously operating for the first time in company history, the week of February 22, 2021. Code Ninjas reached this notable milestone in less than five years. In fact, in 2020 alone 98 locations newly opened worldwide, helping cement Code Ninjas as the global leader in the kids’ coding category.

Related: Buying and Running A UK Children’s Franchises – What Does It Take?

“Despite the pandemic, Code Ninjas achieved monumental growth and for the first time was able to claim 300 individual locations in operation,” said Justin Nihiser, CEO. “This achievement would not have been possible without our loyal Ninjas and their families, our dedicated franchise owners and the team providing them with our unmatched coding curriculum.”

The franchise celebrated several achievements in 2020:

  • Expansion into the UK with the opening of more than a dozen new Studios
  • Strategic financial partnership with Eagle Merchant Partners
  • The addition of a new executive team including CEO Justin Nihiser, VP of Franchise Operations John Kutac, VP of Strategic Projects and Alliances Colin Fitzpatrick and VP of Marketing Jim Davidson

Related: Children Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

At Code Ninjas kids learn how to code in a fun, safe, and social learning environment where gaming is celebrated, and STEM is cool. The franchise offers kids the opportunity to dive into fun, challenging, and rewarding projects and activities that will engage them with knowledge and bring out skill sets they never knew they had. Everything about Code Ninjas is built around fun, which keeps kids coming back. The curriculum is self-paced, but not self-taught; kids get immediate help and encouragement from Code Senseis™ and fellow students as they advance from white to black belt, on the nine-belt program that makes up CREATE. Younger kids are able to take part in Code Ninjas JR, and all ages are able to take part in summer camps instilling the problem solving and critical thinking skills into our leaders of the future.

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About Code Ninjas

Founded in 2016, it is the world’s largest and fastest-growing coding franchise, with hundreds of locations across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Here, kids learn to code while building their own video games. They gain problem solving, critical thinking, and STEM skills in a fun, safe, and inspiring environment. Kids have fun, parents see results.

Source: PR Newswire

Razzamataz Theatre School scoop top accolades

March 3, 2021

WorkBuzz has announced the winners of the 2020/2021 Best Franchise Awards, sponsored by Llyods Bank, at a virtual ceremony that was held earlier this month.

Multi-award winning Razzamataz Theatre School, in which Razzamataz West Cumbria and Carlisle are part of, is delighted to be named as Best Franchise in one of the categories at this year’s event, as well as scooping two other awards.

Related: Children Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

During the presentation, the Razzamataz team spoke about how they lead their team with trust, integrity and kindness to leave a positive legacy for students, franchisees and the franchising sector.

“Our franchisees took on the task of supporting their teams and customers, resulting in some overwhelmingly positive testimonials,” explained Denise Hutton-Gosney, MD and Founder of Razzamataz.

Related: Razzamataz Franchise

By Sam Smedley

Source: News and Star

Theatre School Franchise Helps To Boost Confidence In Children With Competition Launch

February 11, 2021

With more reports emerging about the crushing effect that Covid has had on children, one theatre school franchise is helping to bring back confidence. More than 62,000 pupils in England have been tracked from May to December by ImpactEd, with some worrying results.

This has been the largest review of schoolchildren in the Covid era and the report warns of the potential for a lost generation. Anxiety levels are rising and wellbeing has tumbled according to the report, with those in their exam years feeling the pressure of trying to catch up.

The most alarming research uncovered that the closure of schools has not just impacted education, but on mental health too. Multi-award winning Razzamataz Theatre Schools has listened to thousands of children across the UK discuss their concerns during online performing arts classes as well as dedicated wellness sessions.

Related: Buying and Running A UK Children’s Franchises – What Does It Take?

The impact of the pandemic can be summed up by student Libbi who attends Razzamataz Maidstone: “To highlight children’s mental health week, I thought I would drop a message to say that Razzamataz has saved me. When I had a rough patch with my mental health Razzamataz picked me up and made me feel like there was a place I belong. Whenever it was Saturday I was always at my happiest. The Razzamataz team support is brilliant and I really am grateful for that. Now I would say my mental health has never been better.”

To reach out to even more young people, all of the schools within the network will be launching Razz’s Got Talent, a competition that aims to give young people something positive to aspire to. Unlike some TV competitions, there will be no Mr Nasty or negative comments, the schools will be working with a judging panel of professional performers who can give positive support to every competitor.

Related: Children Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

Children from the age of 6 to 17 can enter for a chance to win a year’s scholarship to attend their local Razzamataz school. The competition is open to current students as well as those that have never had any formal training before. Supporting local talent and giving back to the community to help young people with their performing arts training is high on the agenda for the theatre school franchise, especially now when confidence is at an all-time low.

“Razz’s Got Talent is a really fun way for children to enter a talent contest in a safe and caring environment,” says Denise Hutton-Gosney, MD and Founder of Razzamataz Theatre Schools. “We only give really constructive and positive feedback because we know it takes a lot of courage and determination to enter a talent competition and we want this experience to be a really positive one that they can learn from.

“This is also a great opportunity to see what undiscovered talent we can find and for existing students, it gives them the chance to hone their skills and shine individually in front of a panel of industry judges.”

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The judges are looking for raw talent and will talk to the children to understand where their passion for performing arts can take them. “We know children have had a lot of challenges over the last year; for some, it has really knocked their confidence and will impact their mental health,” adds Denise. “Our Principals and teams of teachers have worked so hard to help students and the feedback we have had from families has been so wonderful. This is another opportunity for us to give back again to local communities by nurturing young performers.”

Razzamataz teaches all three disciplines of dance, drama and singing, to create ‘triple threat performers.’ Children taking part in Razz’s Got Talent can showcase one or all of these skills. Applicants should prepare either a song, dance or drama piece or a mixture of all three that lasts no longer than three minutes. Children and young people should apply directly to their local school to find out closing dates and any other details. All auditions will be held remotely online to keep within government guidelines.

Source: Franchising

Tiny Toes Ballet offers free online classes to support parents and teachers

January 29, 2021

A PEMBROKESHIRE dance school, Tiny Toes Ballet, is keeping a step ahead of lockdown by offering free online classes for children.

Tiny Toes Ballet, which holds children’s dance classes in Haverfordwest and Pembroke, is making the offer to help support parents and teachers who are home schooling due to lockdown.

Its eight-week course of classes combines drama, dance, cookery and more, and is aimed at children aged seven and under.

Sonia Murison, who runs the Pembrokeshire Tiny Toes Ballet franchise, says she is delighted to be able to help keep children learning through lockdown.

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“Every week we provide fun and engaging dance classes, where our little ones learn through our dance programme that is fully integrated with the early years foundation stage curriculum,” she said. “We get to teach to over 130 amazing pupils here in beautiful Pembrokeshire. We love to help our little dancers learn through using rich sensory props, story time, fun activities and so much more.

“We have so much fun in just one 40-minute class and now we are bringing these fantastic classes back online through Zoom to our dancers once more.

“We love looking forward to seeing our dancers on Zoom live every week; we are not just a dance class – we have made an amazing Pembrokeshire Tiny Toes Ballet family.”

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Tiny Toes Ballet was founded in Swansea in 2011 by Emma Morgan, an experienced primary school and ballet teacher, and has grown to have 14 franchises all over the UK.

Emma said: “We’ve centred the activities on themes that we know children love – Three little pigs,

Under the Sea, Down on the Farm and Superheroes, for example. The classes will run for eight weeks and we’re encouraging as many people as possible to get involved.”

By Ruth Davies

Source: Western Telegraph

Babyballet Dartford lockdown classes prove a hit as dance school lands double celebration at national awards

November 20, 2020

A dance school which kept twinkle-toed toddlers occupied online during the first lockdown has scooped a national award.

The Babyballet franchise in Dartford has been named among the most loved music, dance or performing arts activities in the UK.

It scooped the major accolade at the What’s On 4 Kids Activities Awards, launched in 2007, to celebrate the best kids clubs, along with leaders and volunteers.

Awards are nominated and voted for by a panel of experts, parents and carers and the results were unveiled as part of a virtual ceremony held last month.

Keeping little ones occupied during the first lockdown in March was a struggle for many parents as activities became increasingly home-based.

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But the dance school, which is targeted at toddlers and babies from six months upwards and also serves Bexley and Bromley, kept classes running online and delivered with aplomb.

“This year has been without doubt the toughest in my businesses history,” says Jessie Lilley, owner of Babyballet Dartford, Bexley, Bromley.

The 39-year-old, who grew up in the area, continued: “But that goes for every company in every industry. My team and I moved our classes online during the first lockdown, so that we could continue teaching our 1000 plus babyballet stars to dance.

“Keeping them happy and active was my main priority!”

On top of this feat there was also an individual accolade for one of the ballet school’s much loved teachers.

Baby ballet instructor Jade Allen, who has taught at the school for six years, was voted the most loved activity leader manager in the South East.

Affectionately known to the the children as Miss Jade, the teacher was overwhelmed to become a winner.

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“The South East is a big place, and I am bursting with pride to have won,” said Jade.

“The team at babyballet Dartford, Bexley and Bromley are like family to me and I adore teaching the classes.

“I can’t wait to get back into the dance studio and see my little stars, with social distancing measures in place to keep them all safe.”

Although the dance classes are closed during the second lockdown, registrations are open for future face-to-face sessions.

“We have returned once and the magic of our classes remained, even with the new safety procedures in place,” added owner Jessie.

“I am counting down the days until I can open the doors again.”

The franchise is headquartered in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and has 83 locations across the UK.

By Sean Delaney

Source: Kent Online

Code Ninjas coding schools spread around UK

November 10, 2020

US-based kids coding franchise Code Ninjas is live in six UK locations and plans to open a further 22 around the nation.

Budding ‘ninjas’ can enjoy coding, gaming and drone building at locations in Hampshire, Greater London, Hertfordshire and Berkshire.

The next round of launches will be hot on the heels of the late summer grand openings, with programmes opening up in Potters Bar, Chelmsford, Croydon, Welwyn Garden City and Hammersmith before the end of January.

The Code Ninjas network has grown at a rapid rate. With plans for 22 more locations already in the pipeline, the US-born kids coding school is on track to deliver their fun, interactive coding curriculum to ‘ninjas’ aged 5-14 throughout the nation by 2021.

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“In late August, we celebrated the grand opening of our very first UK location in Watford, Hertfordshire – that was a momentous occasion for Code Ninjas and something the entire team has been working towards for a number of months,” said Justin Nihiser, CEO.

“It was also around this time that I joined the Code Ninjas team. Stepping up to take the reins of a global kids coding franchise during a pandemic has certainly been a challenge but one I was proud to take on.

“Despite the economic challenges caused by the lockdown period, I’m pleased to have witnessed such impressive growth first-hand.

“All of the locations we’d planned prior to the 23rd March are now fully operational and our network has almost doubled during the second two quarters of the year. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg as we plan for 2021.”

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Code Ninjas Watford, the brand’s UK flagship location, opened its doors on Saturday 11th July.

“It’s an honour to be part of Code Ninjas and play such a vital role in spearheading the growth of the brand on British soil,” said Jass Patel, who owns the centre with wife Reena.

“We both feel so passionately about Code Ninjas’ commitment to delivering quality coding education and are thrilled to have the opportunity to support that mission in our community.

“We’re in for a busy few months but can’t wait to make our mark on the state of children’s coding education in the UK.”

Just one week later, Code Ninjas Pinner followed suit, launching on the 18th July. On the 22nd August, Code Ninjas Enfield welcomed budding ninjas from across Greater London. On the 24th August, a centre opened in the Hampshire town of Chandler’s Ford. Code Ninjas Langley, the first location to launch under the brand’s new Studio model, launched in Langley College on the 19th September.

Biraj Nakarja, one of the four franchisees behind Code Ninjas Langley, was over the moon to welcome students, parents, families and friends to their grand opening event.

“Despite the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we still made the most of our launch party, inviting our community to help us celebrate our new business,” said Biraj.

“We’re very proud and excited to bring the Code Ninjas programme to local children and, now that we’re open, are looking forward to making a real impact on the state of coding education in our area. We’re providing a service that is so in demand and fundamental for the future of the next generation.”

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Along with the rest of his team – wife, Sital, and long-term friends, Raman and Karnvir Bath – Biraj plans to open a second location, in nearby Windsor, within the next year.

“Essentially, we’re establishing ourselves as the go-to providers for kids coding education across east Berkshire. Our first priority is to build momentum with our initial location before setting our sights on getting our second location off the ground. Although we definitely have to take the current economic climate into consideration, we feel confident in our ability to grow with the backing of the Code Ninjas team to guide us,” said Biraj.

Despite the delays caused by the pandemic, the majority of the UK network have already made the initial steps towards opening a second location. Justin and the support team, based in Pearland, Texas, have been impressed by the network’s commitment to delivering the Code Ninjas curriculum at such a crucial time.

“With a system of determined and passionate franchise owners and corporate staff that believe ardently in Code Ninjas’ mission, our work will result in better problem solving and critical-thinking skills for our ninjas. Building these STEM-related skillsets at a young age equips Code Ninjas’ students with valuable tools to navigate today’s increasingly tech-centric world.”

By Jonathan Symcox

Source: Business Cloud

Oswestry-based swim teacher Kim up for national awards

November 2, 2020

AN OSWESTRY-BASED swim teacher is celebrated after being named as one of the best franchisees by her parent company.

Kim Pinnington, who has a team of coaches delivering lessons at Oswestry School, among other areas, was named the Puddle Ducks Franchisee of the Year 2020, and has also been listed as a finalist in two prestigious national awards: the NatWest EWIF (Encouraging Women into Franchising) Awards 2020 and a BFA (British Franchise Association) Awards 2020.

She is the owner of Puddle Ducks North West Midlands, south Cheshire and Wrexham, part of a nationwide swim school which provides innovative swimming classes for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers aged newborn to four, as well as Swim Academy from four to 10 years.

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Managing director of Puddle Ducks, Jo Stone, said: “Kim is an inspirational woman and deserving finalist for these awards.

“I am very proud of her achievements and outstanding contribution to the Puddle Ducks franchising network.

“I wish Kim the very best for the awards.”

In February 2020, Kim was named as the Puddle Ducks Franchisee of the Year for 2020, recognising her monumental efforts in growing the business alongside providing the high-quality swimming lessons associated with the Puddle Ducks name. She is the newest Puddle Ducks franchisee to ever win this award!

Related: Children Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

She has been described by colleagues as ‘working tirelessly’ to ensure not only the success of her business but also for securing the best opportunities and support for her team of teachers, office workers and poolside assistants.

The last year in particular has been difficult, not only for Kim but for the entire team. A key teaching pool that also housed one of Kim’s offices burnt down last July, but Kim tackled this setback calmly. She managed to turn this negative experience into a huge positive with new pools, new team members and new class recruits.

By Barrie White

Source: Border Counties Advertizer

Code Ninjas announces a new format for the UK

September 29, 2020

Code Ninjas, the U.S.-based after-school programme that teaches children computer coding, has introduced a brand new franchise model for the UK.

Called, Code Ninjas Studio, the new offering has been designed by the company to make the UK’s profitable children’s services market even more accessible, with a reduced start-up fee and flexible location requirements.

Code Ninjas said its new business model offers prospective franchisees the chance to invest in its coding franchise at a fraction of the traditional cost and enable them to get their business off the ground in weeks rather than months.

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The company explains that new franchisees also stand to benefit from the brand’s unrivalled infrastructure, including development and support from in-house education, technology, operations and marketing teams.

The new model mitigates the need for business premises with extensive fit-out requirements as franchisees will operate in centrally located community centres, like libraries, schools and universities, keeping overheads low and profit margins high.

Franchisees will have complete access to the brand’s full offering of propriety programmes and curriculum, meaning Ninjas (students) progress through the same programme, with the same level of guidance from their instructors (Code Senseis) as they would through the traditional model.

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David Graham, chief executive and co-founder of Code Ninjas, said: “This new model has been specially constructed to align with the way businesses operate in the UK. “Libraries and schools are predominantly regarded as community hubs, so running sessions out of these sorts of locations means franchisees can capitalise on heavy footfall.

“Code Ninjas Studio is a fantastic opportunity for those looking to build a long-lasting and scalable business, that also makes a real change in their community. We’re very excited for this new venture.”

Related: Code Ninjas Franchise

With minimal initial location fit-out for a Code Ninjas Studio, new franchisees can invest resources back into the marketing and set up of the business, and on completion of its virtual franchise training, franchisees can begin to host coding sessions in their territory in a suitable location approved by the company.

Children’s educational enrichment has seen an increase in demand in recent years said Code Ninjas and it sees the new business model capitalising on the need for digital education for children.

Source: Franchise World

Theatre schools in West Cumbria and Carlisle prepare to re-open

September 9, 2020

Two theatre schools in Cumbria are preparing to open their doors to performers and welcome back budding actors, dancers and singers once again.

Razzamataz West Cumbria and Razzamataz Carlisle say they have been thoroughly briefed by their head office, have passed a new covid-secure health and safety audit and are following all Government guidelines and Children’s Activities Association (CAA) best practice in order to re-open safely.

Matty Aitchison-Rayson, principal of Razzamataz West Cumbria believes that the theatre school can help young people adjust back into social interaction. He said: “Through the performing arts, children learn many life lessons including building resilience, working as a team and emotional intelligence. We believe that these skills are more important now than ever before as children have missed many traditional milestones. More than ever, we can’t wait to get the buzz back of teaching a room of children and watching them learn and progress each week.”

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The theatre school franchise will be focussing on rebuilding children’s self-esteem and belief in themselves as well as getting youngsters fitter and healthier.

Razzamataz West Cumbria are due to re-open on September 5, with classes taking place at Summergrove Halls, Hensingham. Although there is now limited availability to join, the school will be holding taster sessions, where students can find out more. Contact Matty on 01946 848148/07940957894.

Razzamataz Carlisle are planning to re-open on September 12, with classes to be held at Harraby Community Centre. More information on both theatre schools can be found at their websites or Facebook pages.

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Steps to keep the students safe include sanitizer in each room, cleaning protocols, two metre safety distance between each student, plans to stagger classes, reduction of class sizes, no props and attendance at re-opening webinars.

When the pandemic hit the UK, Razzamataz Theatre Schools was just starting its 20 year birthday celebrations, and had many events planned.

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Matty said: “Sadly our large scale events had to be put on hold but we are busy making plans for Disney 2021 and looking into what else we can do for our students who have lost out on so much this year.”

He added: “During the pandemic, we were delighted that we could continue to offer scholarships with The Stage and also our own Future Fund charity to help even more young people experience the joys of performing arts. We are a school where children come to follow their passion in dance, drama and singing but we are also so much more than that. We have so many parents tell us that Razzamataz is the place where their child feels most accepted, it is where they have grown in confidence and it is where they have found lifelong friends.”

By Lynne Wild

Source: News & Star