A FORMER teacher who saw his home tutoring business forced to the brink of bankruptcy by lockdown has begun to turn things around by selling home-schooling resources.

Colin McKenzie, from Great Harwood, set up his company, McKenzieTutor, last year and it grew quickly, going from two or three children to nearly 30 in a matter of months.

But then he said the coronavirus lockdown, and the inability to visit people’s homes, put a real spanner in the works.

Mr McKenzie, a former teacher at Pendle Vale in Nelson, whose business specialises mostly in children’s literacy and numeracy, said: “I had just taken on a second and third tutor to meet the increasing demand. I was about to secure town-centre premises and the future was looking very bright indeed.”

Mr McKenzie, who has years of experience in teaching dyslexic children and those with other learning difficulties, said: “I believe that lockdown was absolutely the right thing for the government to do, but when it happened, I was pretty devastated - not just for myself and my new staff, but also for our kids, who we knew would be missing out.

"But I couldn’t just sit at home doing nothing, so I started sending stuff out to them.

“Over the next few weeks, I sent out hundreds of free science, maths and literacy resources to local pupils. The schools were doing a fantastic job, but sometimes parents wanted that little bit extra – particularly for children who really struggled outside of the school routine”.

Mr McKenzie, 52, said although he also sold some of his own resources, including Fast Maths, a book he co-wrote some years ago, to try and keep things ticking over, it wasn’t enough to pay the bills.

He said: “For reading, writing, and spelling, I’ve always used phonics books from Sound Foundations.

"I helped to develop them many years ago and it was my early experience in tutoring pupils in literacy that got me into teaching in the first place.

“Although sales of Sound Foundations books had been very good, they mostly sold to schools, so were also hit by the lockdown. I realised that they would be ideal for home-schooling pupils.