Children come in all shapes and sizes and will look just as different on the outside as they feel on the inside. When it comes to little ones, there should really be no ‘one size fits all’ approach.
For some children and young people, they also have challenges of coping with additional needs. That can be anything from dyslexia, autism or health complications.
Denise Hutton-Gosney is the MD and Founder of Dragons’ Den backed theatre school franchise Razzamataz, which is now celebrating 18 years of business. Denise has encountered what it feels like to parent a child with additional needs as she explains: “My four-year old son Lewis was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was just two. This is a condition which poses many challenges to his day to day life. However, with careful management, he can lead a completely normal life so I was particularly shocked and upset when a tutor refused to teach him because of it. While I would not expect anyone to administer medical treatments, I was very sad that he was excluded even when we explained that she would be fully supported and would not need to deal with his condition, just to liaise with us his parents and my diabetes team.”
Fortunately for Denise and Lewis, many children’s activities have a much better understanding and he is able to experience fun classes and clubs like any other little boy, including Razz Minis, which he adores.
“Lewis attends the Razzamataz school in Penrith and loves the whole session, especially the wonderful Principal Lauren,” adds Denise. “As the Founder of Razzamataz, I have always believed that we must try and include as many children as possible and we work with their parents so they can enjoy rich and fulfilling experiences that will help to boost their confidence, which ultimately can help them deal with their condition in a more positive way.”
As a franchise, every Razzamataz school is under strict obligations to adhere to a stringent set of audits to ensure they are as inclusive as possible. This includes: First aid certificates, DBS/PVG certificates for all their team, full insurance, risk assessments, fire assessments, child protection policies, GDPR policies and thorough staff training and induction.
“We also annually review our safeguarding policy and child protection to keep up with current legislation and best practice,” adds Denise. “We have a care plan outline that Principals can access as well as safeguarding training before each school opens, and we constantly share best practice and update the whole network to ensure consistency across the schools.”
The care and attention to detail that Razzamataz offer students and their families have led to wonderful student success stories over the years. Razzamataz is committed to helping as many children as possible to have the chance to enjoy performing arts as Denise says: “We have many students who have additional needs that really flourish with us. It’s quite heartbreaking to meet parents who are genuinely shocked that we welcome their children who have particular needs. The success comes from meeting with parents and talking through each child’s care plan and if necessary we will arrange to meet with their medical professional to get some training. We will do absolutely all we can to ensure each child can enjoy our classes and meet new friends in a safe and caring environment.”
To celebrate 18 years of successful business, Razzamataz is giving more people the opportunity of joining the network. Until the end of 2018, there will be no up-front franchise fee of £7,995 plus VAT to pay. All that will be required is the £4,000 initial marketing launch and £5,000 working capital as opposed to circa £20,000 that would have included the franchise fee. Candidates who choose not to pay the upfront franchise fee, will pay 20% MMF instead of 10% over three years or nine terms.
To find out if franchising is the right option, Razzamataz holds regular Discovery Den days across the UK where potential franchisees get a chance to meet the Head Office team, find out more about franchising in general and discover what it is like to run a part-time theatre school.