Stress, anxiety, and uncertainty are words that could be used to describ feelings over the last year. Life has been difficult, particularly in the workplace, where we have had to adapt to huge changes including working from home and social distancing.

One profession which has been placed under huge pressure and strain is teaching. Right from the start of lockdown teachers have been expected to step up, initially having to change all lessons to online whilst being at the sharp end of many parents’ complaints. Then, having to adapt classrooms for social distancing whilst living in constant fear of catching the virus themselves.

Morale has plummeted, with thousands complaining they have been left feeling exhausted, anxious, and demoralised. Many described suffering their shared concern of parents’ fears and frustrations, as well as pupils’ anxiety and disillusionment, as unbearable and this has led to a surge in those now considering quitting the profession that many of them originally entered as a vocation.

Ed Hyslop, CEO of tuition franchise First Class Learning, comments, “Teaching as a profession has been hit unbelievably hard by COVID-19 as teachers across all age groups, who were already under strain from increased bureaucracy, have been expected just to get on with it, against a backdrop of constantly changing guidelines and increasingly difficult working conditions. It’s no wonder that so many are now seriously looking at a career change. Of course, they want to give the children in their care the best education they possibly can, but not to the detriment of their own mental health and wellbeing” who were already under strain from increased bureaucracy.

We have been inundated with enquiries from teachers who just need a change, and see running their own tutoring business as a way of staying in education and utilising their skill set without all the worry and constant strain of being in a classroom every day.

Emma Orton is an example of a teacher who gave up full-time teaching to invest in a FCL franchise, and hasn’t looked back since. She now has a great work-life balance and runs four tuition centres in the North of England.

She explains, “I was looking for an opportunity which enabled me to continue with my full-time teaching job initially, but something that would also allow me to work more flexibly around a family in the future. I explored lots of educational business opportunities, but when I came across First Class Learning it immediately stood out. I loved the idea of a franchise, as it gives you the chance to start your own business, but with the help and experience of a successful organisation behind you.

I chose First Class Learning as it was well structured, offered plentiful support and guidance to get started but at the same time allowed me to run the business my way. I visualised that running an FCL centre would allow me to continue working in the education sector, whilst working from home and setting my own hours. I could also see that as my centre became more established there was lots of opportunities to grow my business and help more children.

I opened my first centre in Darlington in July 2011, and by March 2013 I had also taken over developing centres in Sunderland and South Shields. In September 2017 I opened my fourth centre in Redcar, and now run 7 classes every week across 4 areas. I was also named First Class Learning Franchisee of the Year in 2017. It’s been a lot of hard work, but it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Emma adds, “Being an FCL manager has provided me with the flexibility I was looking for, as I have been able to run my centres around a family. I get the best of both worlds, still busy working in education and helping children learn and grow, but still having lots of time to be a mum. I took voluntary redundancy from my full-time teaching position in July 2012 just before having my first child and I have never looked back. I knew I wouldn’t want to go back to a full time teaching job after having a baby and being an FCL manager has allowed me to continue working, which was important to me, but spend much more time at home whilst my children have been young.

First Class Learning is a highly successful education franchise specialising in maths and English. It is currently the UK’s fastest growing tuition business with 300 franchisee-run centres nationwide. First Class Learning is a tuition business, but what it is really selling is success; to students, parents, and franchisees. Core to its success is investment in people, with the franchise built on the mantra that no child deserves to be left behind.

First Class Learning has low start-up costs, with investment levels varying depending on where a centre is located. Initial costs cover training, website set-up and access to the Centre Managers’ Portal with its wealth of guidance and templates, marketing and business support, an Accelerator Launch Package worth over £2,000 and exclusive rights to operate an FCL Centre and use the FCL brand in your territory. Furthermore, FCL offers a 100% franchise fee discount in month one, then a 50% discount for a further three months, to give new starters plenty of time to build a critical mass of students.

For further information please visit