The past year has been challenging and tiresome for everyone as the COVID-19 pandemic ground normal life to a halt. With economic uncertainty rife, businesses have had to quickly adapt to a new way of life or face detrimental consequences. At Lingotot, it was no exception. When 2020 began it was shaping up to be their most successful year yet, and when the pandemic struck they were faced with new and unexpected hurdles. However, Angela Sterling, founder and CEO, and the Lingotot family have adapted, innovated and motivated each other through the rough waters.
Angela, a fully qualified teacher and mum of two, founded Lingotot in 2010. Lingotot introduces languages to children in a fun and engaging way with the ultimate goal of increasing their awareness of global connectivity through language and culture. Angela found that her vision for language learning was appreciated and shared by many who also saw the opportunity that Lingotot presents. Lingotot now proudly boasts a network of over 50 franchisees UK wide, with their biggest intake being from November 2020.
Not only did 2020 see Lingotot welcome their largest number of new franchisees in the UK, it also marked many more achievements. Lingotot expanded their network in Ireland, where the master franchise there welcomed their first franchisees. Continuing with her goal of providing widespread, accessible language learning for children, Angela also commercially published her first story book, LingoTales. LingoTales is an anthology of stories in eight different languages that Lingotot have been using in their classes for over ten years. Due to their popularity, Anglela decided to collate them into one collection and make them available to everyone.
For existing franchisees, the Lingotot team has worked determinedly throughout 2020 to make sure they continue to succeed. They created new ‘Lingotot Champion’ roles from existing franchisees within the business to provide peer support and expertise on particular elements within Lingotot. They also invested heavily in the creation of the Lingotot Sales Academy with their specialist sales partners. It ran throughout the summer of 2020 for franchisees with the focus of increasing growth in each individual business. 2020 also saw the introduction of a new monthly growth report for each Lingotot business. Each franchisee is now provided with a 10-page business health report each month with bespoke commentary from Head Office offering advice on how to grow.
In order to overcome the complications that lockdowns and restrictions gave rise to in terms of teaching, Lingotot introduced innovative ways to safely continue lessons. The launch of the Forest School programme allowed for socially distanced, outdoor learning. They also created a Summer School programme which opened franchisees up to more business, and had a new interactive online learning platform ready in time for the first day of lockdown one. The efforts that Lingotot have made have been recognised by the British Franchise Association, where they were finalists in the 2020 awards, and by retaining their ranking in the Elite Franchise Top 100 in the most competitive year yet.
Angela has also been instrumental throughout the pandemic for the wider franchise and education sector. She has for some time now been involved in policy direction, attending meetings at Whitehall where discussions on how best to advise the government on curriculum reform for modern languages in primary and secondary schools took place. Angela was also invited by her local Conservative MP Richard Holden to take part in round table discussions with Cabinet Ministers and the Chair of the Conservative Party to advise as an expert in the field of education and business. Most recently she has, with Richard’s support, lobbied for clear and timely guidance on the children’s sector. Anglea also appeared on BBC television during the coronavirus crisis to ensure that there was a voice for franchise businesses in the UK.
Bex Brookwood from Lingotot Wakefield says ‘Through COVID we couldn’t have had more emotional and factual support from Angela. She has worked relentlessly to pick through government updates to ensure we are all comfortable with any changes and how they affect our business. She has fought our corner at every step, has changed and adapted our schemes of work so that they are accessible for online teaching, developed a new forest school scheme to ensure we can get back to ‘normal’ work as soon as possible, launched summer schools as a way to help us financially after some great knockbacks but above all she has been a constant ear and friend to all of us’.
If you want to find out more about joining the Lingotot family, you can visit their website here, phone them on 0845 680 8148, or email firstname.lastname@example.org