It’s now been a month since children from across the country returned to mainstream school and the children’s services franchise, Stagecoach Performing Arts, is getting ready to follow suit. From 12th April*
It’s now been a month since children from across the country returned to mainstream school and the children’s services franchise, Stagecoach Performing Arts, is getting ready to follow suit. From 12th April*, franchisees across the nation will begin to welcome students to in-person singing, dancing and acting sessions – for some, for the first time in over a year. Here, Andy Knights, COO, explains how he and the team have facilitated their franchisees’ return and their plan for ultimately getting the network back to face-to-face business.
When the Prime Minister announced the UK’s roadmap towards finally escaping the grips of lockdown, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to breathe a sigh of relief. The general feeling around the UK is one of positivity and that certainly goes for our network too. Unsurprisingly, our franchisees have been waiting for this for a very long time – the day that students can return to their local Stagecoach school and their much-loved teachers, Principals and friends.
Although each of our franchisees’ decisions to reopen will be governed by the regulations of their venue, we’re actively encouraging all franchisees to explore their options to reopen as soon as possible. We have it on good authority that our students are bursting at the seams to get back to their Stagecoach Performing Arts in-venue classes. Although they have already been back in mainstream education for well over a month, this is a chance for them to take back ownership of some sense of normality and socialise outside of school for the first time since last year.
But this is just as exciting for our franchisees as it is for our students and their parents. This is their chance to get back to the rewarding and fulfilling role that inspired them to invest in a children’s performing arts franchise in the first place. Whilst they have been running online sessions, they’re keen to get back to the hubbub of classes. Our priority, as a franchisor, is to make the transition back to in-venue classes as seamless as possible for franchisees.
We achieve this in a number of ways. Firstly, we’ve created specialist marketing materials for our franchisees to circulate amongst existing and new students, to help build momentum and promote the fantastic news that we’re – almost – back in venue. We’ve also communicated network-wide health and safety precautions that must be followed by all franchisees, teachers and students, to ensure the wellbeing of our network is everyone’s number one priority. And, lastly, we’re supporting our franchisees to plan special Easter workshops for those that are Ofsted registered, which will be offered to students as a chance for them to catch up on the in-venue classes they’ve missed over the course of the last few months. In essence, this is the Stagecoach Performing Arts roadmap back to, as much as possible, normality.
Sadly, we know that not all schools will be able to open just yet. And for them, we still have our online portal, stagecoachthome.com, which offers students a whole library of video workshops they can work through at home. The majority of our franchisees have also been hosting weekly Zoom classes, which some may decide to continue for any students who aren’t yet able to return to physical lessons due to personal circumstances.
Years from now, we will all look back on these 12 months and reflect on lessons learnt. Here at Stagecoach, I can hand on heart say that our network is stronger than ever before. I’m proud to celebrate how resilient we are as a brand and to see so many franchisees excitedly preparing for their return. But what am I most looking forward to? I can’t wait to see the looks on everyone’s faces once we’re all finally reunited!
Andy Knights is Chief Operating Officer of global children’s performing arts franchise, Stagecoach Performing Arts - a role he’s held since 2014. He has over 20 years’ experience working in the franchising industry and oversees all aspects of business operations for the Stagecoach brand, including marketing, franchise recruitment and business development. For more information about franchise opportunities with Stagecoach, visit https://stagecoachfranchise.com/
* May vary by territory.