The Clara James Tutoring Franchise

Contact information, map and directions, contact form, opening hours, services, ratings, photos, videos and announcements from The Clara James Tutoring Franchise, Education, Lower Close, Aylesbury.

Our goal is to support you in building a truly successful tutoring business using the systems and techniques we have used over the past 12 years, going from just 1 person to a national team which has been nominated for awards numerous times

Operating as usual


To tie the posts from the past few days together, about starting a tutoring business, I'm putting together these 10 points as a short FREE course where I go into each one in more detail.

It also has a downloadable workbook. If you're interested and you think it will help you to get your tutoring business started, just drop me a message and I'll send you the link as soon as it's ready.

I hope this helps and good luck on your journey into the world of tutoring.


This just came up in my memories from 4 years ago:

Our dog has something your business needs!

Tutoring is becoming an increasingly busy arena. It is offered by a wide range of people from students to teachers, to experts in their field, to those who just thought it might be easy money and they’d give it a try.

With so many different people offering so many varying qualities of service you need to offer something that makes you stand out.
And that’s what our dog has. Just 3 legs.

This is an extreme conversation starter, but your tutoring business will also need something that will get you noticed. To make you the company that people talk about.

At Clara James Tutoring we do a lot of things that make us stand out, many of which seem insignificant and I thought would be done by tutors automatically: provide the things needed for the lesson, not use our phones during lessons, take our shoes off as we enter people’s houses.

Other things are much more significant: travelling to the student’s home, using a range of resources rather than a one style suits all approach. Always putting 110% into everything we do and asking every day: “what can we do better? What would the best tutor in the world do? What would I expect from a tutor for my own child?”
It is this attitude that gets people talking about us. Our attitude is our equivalent to her 3 legs.

It is once people are talking about you, recommending you that your business will grow.

If you start your own tutoring business, what will get people talking about you?

If you want to find out more about joining us and the Clara James Tutoring Franchise Opportunity message me with your email and postal addresses, your name and number and I’ll pop more details straight in the post for you.

Look forward to speaking soon.


For the last of the 10 points, I think I've saved the most important, get your business out there!

You might have created the most amazing tutoring business in the world, but if nobody knows about it, then sadly nobody will ever be able to benefit from it, because in this scenario ignorance isn’t bliss.

I’m also putting my top 10 points together as a short FREE course where I go into these points in more detail. It also has a downloadable workbook. If you're interested, just drop me a message and I'll send you the link as soon as it's ready.

I hope this helps and good luck on your journey into the world of tutoring.


If you decide to start a tutoring business, know your numbers.

This is key, right from the outset you need to know your numbers. What do you need to earn? To pay your personal bills, to fund the lifestyle that you have or want. How much will it cost to carry out a lesson: this might include travel, printing out resources, subscribing to sites so that you can access their resources, internet costs, etc. But beyond this you also need to consider your other costs such as marketing, tax, training, a mentor, subscriptions, invoicing software, etc. Many of these things may just be a pound or two a time, but they add up.

So, you need to know that what you are charging is going to be enough to cover your costs.

If your rates come up higher than the average, that may not be a problem providing you can justify it with experience, genuine testimonials, how you uniquely carry out the lessons, and so on.

At Clara James, I think we are probably a high average with what we charge, but I’m happy with that because I know that we do our best to go above and beyond, but at the same time I don’t think tutoring should only be available to higher income families.


This sounds obvious, but we have options. Where will the tutoring take place?

Obviously the most popular scenario is that the lessons will take place in your home. For you that will be least time consuming as you are not travelling from location to location or having to pay to rent a room.

However, if it can prove harder to build a relationship with the parents, as seen as they are the ones paying you (and often recommending you) this is pretty important. Furthermore, from the child’s perspective, imagine been taken to a stranger’s home to study something you don’t enjoy, something you struggle with. It adds that extra stress and barrier to learning.

Another plan is that you travel to them. This is easier for the child and the family but makes your life more difficult.

A general centre where others are also learning may put the child at ease as it is more representative of a school environment, but you then have to ensure you have enough students to cover the cost of an external location.

Maybe online is the best route? For many people it works well. However… some children won’t put there camera on and it’s hard to gauge whether they are actually paying attention or to what degree, or do they understand what you are saying when you can’t see/ read their body language.

To be honest, there is no completely right answer. The only right answer is what works for you. We do a hybrid approach. We offer support in the children’s home, or a cheaper alternative online. It seems to work well and so whilst it does, we won’t plan on changing the wheel just yet.


Once you get started as a tutor, if you want your business to grow you are going to need to promote it. There will be your accounts to organise, your books to keep, phone calls to make, emails to write, learning to do, conversations to have.

I found that one of the most time efficient periods in my life was when the kids were small. My, then, husband worked away, so it was just me and the 3 primary school aged kids at home. I worked 2 jobs, I was studying for my degree, the kids were busy with clubs most evenings and I had the house to keep.

But on the fridge door I stuck a timetable. Every minute of every day was accounted for. Monday to Friday, in the box before school we would: have breakfast, pack bags, etc, etc. Then many of the sections were subdivided into smaller sections, for example when I was studying, I knew that my goal this week was to achieve…, so to do that I would do this during this time on Monday, this during this time on Tuesday, etc. It worked. It ran like clockwork. Thankfully I had mum around the corner, and she would feed us on a Tuesday and take Clara to gymnastics so I could get the other two home and ready for bed, and Steven was there at the weekends. Steven’s sister also came and cleaned for us one day a week. But I was organised. I knew what happened when, how, why. It wasn’t stressful, it meant life flowed.

I’ve never been that organised since, but I still have lists, plans, and schedules and it means things get done.

I think that is possibly one of the key takeaways, be organised with your time your life will be so much easier.


If you are considering becoming a tutor, something I definitely suggest is that you protect your time.

This is something I need to listen to my own advice on. From the outset set out the hours you can tutor. I admit over time this will possibly alter slightly but be careful that you remember to schedule in time for work, yourself, and your family. Starting a business is hard work. It takes pain, sweat, and tears (both of sadness and joy!) It is not just the tutoring you need to do, also the administration, marketing, training, resource creation, and everything else that goes with it.

Then the phone rings with the first student. Yes!

You schedule them in.

Then you take on the second and then the third.

Yes. Two more and I’ll be fully booked.

You take on your last two, then the phone rings again. A child is struggling, they are falling behind their peers and as a parent, it breaks their heart to see their child so upset.

One part of your brain is saying, if I can help I probably should. Another part of your brain is shouting think of the extra money. Another part is shouting “no!”

The mouth says, I’ll do what I can to help…

Then it happens again and again. You feel flattered that so many people are asking you for help. And suddenly, the hours you had kept as sacred to yourself have filtered away and you are on a conveyor belt where every day you get up start working, continue working, go to bed to get up, start working, to continue working… etc…

So, be firm. Designate the hours that you work from the outset. Be firm with yourself, this is when I work. This is when I spend time with friends and family. This is my time. You may find that one day you will need more support because you have reached your full capacity. When that happens, you can research the expectations of taking on employees. But no matter what, protect your time.


Although this one is half way through my list of 10 suggestions, it is probably one of the most important suggestions.

So, in answer to the question, can I become a tutor? My answer is probably, yes, but I do suggest you get a mentor:

As you grow your business you will almost inevitably make mistakes along the way. To a large extent, it’s how we learn. But at the same time, it is always less time consuming and expensive if we can learn from the mistakes of others. If you can find support from someone else who has already built a successful (preferably business in the same field as you are starting out) business it will help to prevent you from making many of the mistakes that they have inevitably made, and if anyone tells you they’ve never made any in the world of business, there’s a very high chance they’re not being entirely honest with you.

This support may be free in the form of YouTube, or social media. Or you may decide to enrol on low-cost courses or join a membership group (we have the Clara James Tutor’s Group with a one-off lifetime cost of £36). Or you can one-to-one mentoring in building your business or you may decide that the best route for you is to invest in a franchise and have all the relevant systems, resources, policies, tried and tested and in place for you.

The options are endless. If you want to find out how we can help (beyond the membership group) please do get in touch and ask.


Here's my 4th suggestion if you are considering starting a tutoring business:

4. Research where you will get your resources from

There are hundreds of free and paid for resources available on the internet. This is one of the reasons you need to be clear about the type of resources you will use. Generic worksheets, games, conversation, exam papers, the options are endless.
We use a variety depending on the requirements of the individual we are working with.

The main websites that we use are TES, Teachit, revision world, Corbett Maths, then a lot of the time we make our own. We’ve adapted games like Jenga, Snakes and Ladders, Guess Who, to name but a few.

With a lot of children, we also use resources such as snakes and ladders, noughts and crosses, Ludo, board games, word searches. It takes a lot of preparation but over the years we have now created quite an extensive library where we can find most of the things we need.

I would suggest you start to look around now to see what inspires you so that you can focus on the type of lessons you want to offer and when someone does come knocking, you know where to find what you need, and you are poised and ready to go!


Can I start a tutoring business?

The answer is probably, yes you can start a tutoring business.
Presently, in the UK there are no legal requirements as to who can set up as a tutor. This is both great news and not so great news…

So, for suggestion number 2 out of 10:

2. Know what you want to tutor.
This probably sounds obvious. I want to be a maths tutor, French tutor, history tutor.
But what age group do you want to work with? As indicated above, knowing exactly what you are going to tutor will be one of your biggest assets.
Imagine, word gets out that you are starting up as a maths tutor. A friend of a friend needs a maths tutor for their child.
They phone you one afternoon and during the conversation they explain to you how their child is struggling with the foundational work of what they have been studying this year. They’re starting to lose faith in their abilities and it’s getting them down. As a parent they want to help but they just don’t have the ability.

No problem, you are more than happy to help. You arrange a start date, time, location, etc. Wow, your first student. You ask, what year group are they in? You presume this is a secondary school child, possibly studying for their GCSE’s.
Oh no, sorry. They’re in year 13 studying for their A’ level in further maths!

That is beyond your realms of ability. After this long conversation that was going so well, do you explain to the family that you can’t actually help with A’ level maths, you only go up to and including GCSE, or agree to it and find yourself needing to learn a whole new curriculum and find a whole new set of resources which will be suitable for this student who potentially knows more about the subject than you do.

As your business evolves and you create a library of resources you will probably find that you can broaden your availability to support a wider range of students. But in the early days, what you do could become confusing to those you are trying to appeal to: “I heard they support primary aged children”, “oh, I heard it was A’ level students”, “I thought it was …” who knows.

Knowing what you want to tutor and been seen as being the best at it, is the initial goal. As mentioned earlier you can, and no doubt will evolve over time.


Can I start a tutoring business ❓

The answer is probably, yes you can start a tutoring business.
Presently, in the UK there are no legal requirements as to who can set up as a tutor. This is both great news and not so great news…
The great news is that if you are a university student, A’ level student, or just looking for a bit of extra income to support you, you probably can start promoting yourself as a tutor. However, gaining work from beyond close family members and friends may not be as easy as it would be if you had some form of formal qualifications or experience.

However, the flip side of this is that sometimes people will belittle the value of a tutor. People will ring up and enquire, you give them your price and they will tell you that the person down the road does it for a fraction of the price…

Nonetheless, having said that, once you are up and running the potential is great. What you charge, your experience, your qualifications will become of less relevance as your reputation will start to do a lot of the work for you, though be aware that this does take time and it will be a lot of hard work to get you to that point.
So, I haven’t put you off yet?

How do you go about getting started?

Over the next few days I will put up 10 posts that I suggest you consider right from the very beginning.

So, here we are with post number 1:

1. Who do I want to tutor ❓

This is key.

Because it will save you both time and money. It will also make you better at what you do. You need to know that your tutoring skills will be compatible with the person you will be tutoring.

If your tutoring style is to have discussions and to work though worksheets with someone, you would probably be better working with older children and adults or possibly with online tutoring.
However, if you use board games and quizzes you will possibly be better to tutoring in the physical world. A more diverse range of resources will also assist you in working with a broader range of learning styles/ individuals.

Their age will also affect the curriculum they are studying at school and the level of understanding you will need to have of the subject.
If they are of an age where they will be sitting exams which exam board which they be studying as this affect the knowledge, they need to be comfortable with.

If you are confident about who you would like to tutor and what you would like to tutor them, you can focus the resources you create to precisely this person.


If like me, you listen to/ read business development books you will hear the importance of having a story to tell.

I didn’t deliberately start telling our story, it just seemed the easiest way to explain things.

My background initially was working in early years. From there I became a TA in a mainstream school, then I started working in a residential hostel for children who are autistic and can’t cope in mainstream schools. In a nutshell, it was early years and learning differences.

As I started my degree (as a mature student) I also started learning as much as a could about different learning styles. I hoped it would compliment my degree but at the same time potentially support Clara (who I thought might be mildly dyslexic, but when I approached her school said that dyslexia was just an excuse for laziness…).

So, when I wrote my first profile as a tutor, I explained my background, my degree, the learning I had done. I described how I had learned that if we only give a child one thing to do to help them to learn, they will create just one memory where their brain can go to find the information. However, if we give them a variety of resources, we will help them to create multiple memories where the information could be found.

It also made sense in my mind that if we used variety and made it fun the child would be more likely to relax and want to participate. The more they participate the more practice they get. The more they practice the more confident they become and the more willing they are to have another go. It becomes a positive spiral of success.

And that became our story. I have told that story so many times over the years I can almost say it in my sleep. Initially I just told it because people would ask about my background. Then I told it because I realised, we didn’t do things like other tutors, and I felt I needed to justify it. Then I told it because I appreciated it was who we are. It’s our backbone, our logic, our reason why.

That is my story, it is unique to me. But if you were to join Clara James, I’m guessing your story would draw a similar conclusion. It would incorporate your story with mine, but our views and values would be consistent. Our methods and logic would come from the same understanding.

So, that’s the story of Clara James. Maybe I should have explained who Clara James is… I’ll perhaps do that next time.


Last week I mentioned that I wanted to write a Thursday post which was relevant to starting a tutoring business, so I spoke about thinking about why you wanted to tutor and who you wanted to tutor.

This week, I wanted to build on that. Once you are clear about who you want to tutor it becomes easier to focus your marketing; the time you spend on it and the money. It became evident that you either need to have a big time or money budget to get your business up and running. (if you’re lucky you’d have both, but for most people this isn’t realistic).

So, for now, I’m going to work on the assumption that you have some time each day that you can spend on your marketing.
So, I’m going to suggest that the first thing you do is to start a Facebook business page.

You may not be a Facebook fan, but I’ve found that we have had so many referrals over the years from people who have mentioned us in different groups. The parents can then go and have a snoop and find out about you before they get in touch.

Next week I’ll give you some ideas about the different things you could post, but for now, if I was you, I’d start by writing a profile about who you want to tutor, how you support them and why.
Don’t make it about you, make it about them. People are generally egocentric. They want to know how you can help them. They’re probably not too concerned about what your qualifications are at this point, which university you went to. What they want to know is are you the best person to support their child? How will you do it and why is that your approach?

I’ve written short courses on writing your profile, and if you want the link (I think it’s about £5 on Udemy), just give me a shout and I’ll give you a shout. It is obviously also something we would cover in the franchise training, in 1-to-1 training and in the membership group: The Tutor’s Group.

I hope this has given you something to think about.


Last week I mentioned my goal to give you a deeper insight into Clara James Tutoring, what we stand for.

Here is part of an email I shared with those who have enquired about the franchise, the other day:

My brain is fried, but I also love days like this as you feel like you are a part of something bigger. You don’t feel isolated, you are a part of something, a part of a team. Although the business has grown so much, because we don’t have an actual office, you often bury your head in the day-to-day and forget there is so much more to Clara James out there than just me.

Our ethics

When the business started it was based upon: as a parent what would I want from a tutor for my own children? That and what do I understand about different learning styles, different teaching techniques?
It wasn’t business plans, and profits and losses, and spreadsheets. It was simple and possibly heart lead rather than driven by my head and numbers.

Our mission statement has evolved subtly over time; however, it still remains very similar to what I think it would have been when the business first started:
‘’To acknowledge the diverse needs of every child and to make learning relevant to all. To acknowledge that everyone is an individual and the support that they are given acknowledges that. Learning needs to be fun, relevant, and inspiring.’’

Our values:
To celebrate individuality
To embrace creativity
To be thankful for the opportunities that we are given and the families we get to meet.
To offer help and the best possible support that we can.

I guess there are people who would pull this apart, shred it to pieces, rip holes in it because it doesn’t have foundations in numbers and profits. But it is these philosophies and values that have led to our profits because we work with people, not objects and they appreciate the support that we provide. It’s what makes us stand out amongst many bigger companies and what keeps us personal and approachable, yet professional and we know what we’re doing. Our reputation offers testimony to that.
That’s us. That’s our ethos. I hope it’s something that resonates with you.

(Image for visual purposes only)


Just wrote a long(ish) email, clicked the wrong button and lost it all...

It is definitely


Over the coming weeks I want to create a series of posts that will support you if you are considering becoming a tutor. My goal is to give you some guidance on how to start your own tutoring business. I know that if you are looking for a franchise, this may seem irrelevant. However, it will give you an insight into what my suggestions would be if you were to come on board with us.
But either way, I hope you find them helpful.

Getting started.

So, you’ve decided to become a tutor. A maths tutor, an English tutor, a science tutor. You’re excited and you start to dream about where this business will take you.

You start to think about how you will deliver your lessons, what you will charge, will you do group lessons or 1-to-1, where they will take place. The list goes on, but nothing happens.


Because you might have the best tutoring business in the world, but if nobody knows about it, it can never become a reality. It will just be a dream in your mind.

So, my suggestion is that you sit down and think about who you want to tutor, what you will charge, etc. Be as focused as you can on getting a clear image of this person in your mind.

Then tell everyone about it!

From this you will be able to start to focus on where you will place your marketing and how people will learn about what you are doing.

Because the more focused you can be, the more time and money you can save both yourself and potential families that get in touch.

When I started, I have to admit, I didn’t tell a soul. I placed an add on a national website then kept quiet. I was lucky that it did take off as it did because in theory it shouldn’t have done. But I was terrified of failing and people judging me, so I kept it as quiet as I possibly could for a good while so that people wouldn’t find out that I’d tried and failed… Over the past 12 + years I’ve learned from experience, courses, books, people. Knowing that I did everything wrong, and it still worked makes me incredibly grateful.

So, have a think about who and what you want to tutor: age group, level of ability, exam board (if necessary), subject, etc. Share it with me if you would like to and I’ll pass on my thoughts so that you can be sure to attract the right people when you start your marketing campaign.


I thought that it was about time that I gave you a greater insight into who we are. Who Clara James Tutoring is and whether we might offer something you would like to become a part of. So, Friday’s I will create a post that is more specifically about us, our ethos, our values, more of a behind the scenes.

Maybe within 2 minutes you think, ‘no, thank you’ and that will be that. Decision made. I am definitely not interested in building a business that way, it just doesn’t resonate with me. Or maybe the opposite will happen. You will read something, hear something, and know that this compliments what you are looking for, something clicks.

I’ve told this story many times before, but a couple of years after I started tutoring someone offered to by me a franchise. The company they suggested used a series of worksheets that the children worked through and got marked before moving onto the next level.

It just didn’t fit with my understanding of education, the fact that it should be fun, engaging, varied. I had to say, no. My hope is that these posts will give you a better idea of whether you need to say no, or whether it is worth continued consideration.


Just received feedback on the Franchisee Success Assurance Course that I did a couple of weeks back with Jo Middleton's Franchise Business School. Brilliant course, really makes you think about how you can step up to the mark and ensure you provide the very best


The other day I uploaded a new free course to Udemy about planning ahead to help you to grow your tutoring business in the year a head. I've just had an email from Udemy stating I now have 1,399 students studying my courses around the world.

So close to reaching 1,400!

The course is free, so if you are interested in downloading it and helping me to reach 1,400 you can do so here and I would be incredibly grateful to you!

Thank you


Welcome to the summer holidays. Days where the 'sun shines' and you can forget about school!

I was talking to my youngest at the weekend about when I used to be a TA. I loved working with the kids, but there were so many times the teacher would ask me to do something or ask me to support the kids with something and I had no idea what I was doing. I would think maybe it was because I was just thick, but the kids seemed clueless as well.

Maybe it wasn't just me.

Other times you were asked to do so many things at once that you felt you were slowly going insane...

That was several years before I started tutoring, but I'm sure it was the best experience/ grounding I could ever have asked for.

Like you probably have, I had experience of working with the children individually and in small groups, I could adapt things and make it relevant to them and their abilities.

I could think on my feet.

I've been doing this for over 12 years now and I love it. We predominately, though not exclusively support children who have some form of neurodiversity.

I'm so honoured to have the opportunity to do this.

If you've ever wondered about starting your own tutoring business and you think a franchise might be something worth considering, let me know and I'll send you across some details. If you want a chat, I'm more than happy to give you a call. I promise not to be pushy but to do my best to help in any way I can

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Who is Clara James?

Clara James Tutoring was, until recently known as Starr Tutoring.

A business which had gone from being one person who had a dedication not to fail and the naive belief that all tutors offered tailor made lessons that would be fun and boost confidence, to a business that is now set to become the number 1 tutoring company in the UK.

Back in 2012, Dawn Strachan started Starr Tutoring. She chose the name because it had a good ring to it and her maiden name was Starr, so it seemed a logical choice.

When Clara, her oldest daughter started school, she seemed destined to do well. She was doing everything she was supposed to do and was keen to learn. However, although the presentation of her work was brilliant: lots of colours and images, it got harder to ignore the fact that her spelling was awful.

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