It has been a little while since we have done this so I thought the new academic year would be a perfect opportunity for introductions. Sounds Right Phonics Classes for Kids was founded in 2016 by me (Alex) and my sister Charlie. I have a background in teaching having graduated in 2000 from Durham University and subsequently taught for the next 15 years in primary schools. I have a passion for learning so much so that I went onto complete my masters (and gained an A in AS level psychology) while teaching full time. I am Mum to Bertie and Connie who are 6 and 4 respectively who certainly keep me on my toes!
Charlie – who is my younger (people have asked if we are twins which I find complimentary as there is 10 years between us) , business partner and next door but one neighbour. She was in many ways the driving force behind the business in that prior to starting Sounds Right Phonics she ran a successful theatre school: Little Stars Theatre Workshops. It was her business know how, determination and confidence that initially got the business off the ground. She too is Mum to Ernie who is two years old and is one of Sounds Right Phonics Classes’ biggest fans.
At the time I was on maternity leave having recently given birth to my second child. Having returned to teaching full time after my first child was born, I was pretty certain that this wasn’t something I wanted to do or logistically could do a second time around.
I wanted and needed a job that gave me the flexibility to be with my own children, but I loved working with young children and had a passion for Literacy and phonics. As a reception teacher I sometimes felt that there was a slight gap in the children’s early phonic knowledge as they entered school, and these needed to be taught prior to them learning reading. Over a wine (or two) one night Charlie and I came up with the idea of opening a class that taught these early phonic skills in a fun and high energy way. We wanted pre-schoolers to learn new things but without realising that they were attending an educational class. We also wanted parents to gain knowledge about phonics from our classes. By the next weekend Sounds Right Phonics Classes for Kids was born and we opened with 6 full classes by February half term.
Fast-forward a year and the business had done so well that we had taken on teachers and the classes had spread across Essex. However, we wanted to do more and felt that these fantastic classes should be available to all children across the UK. We franchised Sounds Right Phonics Classes for Kids in 2017 and our classes now run from Devon to Teeside and everywhere in between.
After a year parents were regularly asking for a class for their younger preschool so in January 2018 the MINIs class was born. This classes, recommended for children walking up to 30 months, teaches early phonic skills primarily through nursery rhymes which are brought to life with props, role play and singing. A year later we launched our BABES class which is for babies 3 months to walking. This is a sensory wonderland where child and carer can bond while learning early language skills through nursery rhymes.
We are both still very much hands on in the business but we now have a wonderful office team who help us out. This Summer we launched out classes in Australia and were lucky enough to go over there with the whole family and trained 5 franchisees who are flying the flag for Phonics in Australia.
The saying goes “Do what you love, love what you do “and this motto 100% applies to us. We are both so lucky to have our wonderful business complete with fabulous franchisees and amazing customers who support we appreciate whole heartedly. The world of literacy is so enrighing and we are lucky that through our classes we are opening that world of literacy to pre-schoolers and their parents.