TJ Hegarty, founder of online tutoring business Breakthrough Maths pictured against a blue background.
TJ Hegarty. Image: Breakthrough Maths

Online maths school plans to double in size, hiring 10 more tutors

31 Aug 2021

A maths tutoring business formed in Cork in the middle the pandemic has grown to more than 100 students since moving online. It now plans to enter the UK market.

A maths school founded in a Co Cork community hall a year ago before moving online to teach students during the pandemic, is planning to double its Irish workforce.

Breakthrough Maths already employs 10 people, but it expects to double its workforce over the next year, hiring 10 more experienced maths tutors in 2022.

Since its founding last year, Breakthrough Maths has grown from 24 students and two teachers to 100 students by the end of the recent academic year. It hopes to teach 250 students during the coming academic year, and it plans to increase that number to 500 by June 2023, when it hopes to expand into the UK.

Classes for the current academic year return on 6 September and they will cater for students from fifth class in primary school right through to Leaving Certificate level in secondary school. Groups of six or seven students attend two lessons per week, all taught through Zoom, consisting of a 50-minute class and a shorter quiz to track progress.

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Founder of Breakthrough Maths, TJ Hegarty, said the tutors want students to learn, understand and most importantly enjoy maths.

“The purpose of Breakthrough Maths is to make quality teaching in small classes available to all students in a click. The online classes fit around the students’ life meaning they still have time to play a match or enjoy another hobby in the evening. An average student saved 45 hours that would otherwise have been spent travelling to and from grinds.” Hegarty said.

“What’s more, our teachers simply love maths,” he commented, adding that his staff of tutors was dedicated to showing kids that maths could be enjoyable.

“Most are recent graduates from [University College Cork and University College Dublin], achieving over 600 points in their Leaving Cert. Maths can cause so much anxiety and pain for pupils but our tutors bring enthusiasm and show students how they can use maths in their everyday lives.”

Online schools like Breakthrough Maths have benefitted a lot from the lack of contact hours students have had with their schoolteachers over the past year. Another online tutoring business, School is Easy, has also established itself in Ireland recently, having come from Canada.

School is Easy has been serving kids aged between five and 19 for the past 15 years in Canada and it has since expanded to locations in the US, England, Scotland and Ireland. It offers on-demand tutoring through its School Is Easy app, as well as pre-arranged individual online learning.

Sharon Bolger and her partner Graham O Neill are the territory directors for School is Easy’s north Wicklow, south Cork and Dublin locations.

Bolger commented: “As parents of two boys, we found it difficult to find educational support for them during the Covid-19 lockdown while we both worked. This is how we came across the School Is Easy tutoring business.”

As the business continues to expand across Ireland, there will be further opportunities for franchises to develop in other locations. All franchisees work from home managing a team of professional tutors, who work with students individually and remotely.

Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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