Online private school sees rise in admissions

Minerva’s Virtual Academy says parents are switching from traditional schools in a bid to avoid further disruption to their children’s education

An online private school has reported a rise in admissions and enquiries, particularly from parents wishing to move their children out of traditional schools.

Minerva’s Virtual Academy, which costs £6,000 per year, was founded in 2020.

The rise in enquiries for the online private school comes at the same time that schools in England have been forced to close and move to remote learning for the second time due to Covid-19.

However, a surge in pupil attendance during the current lockdown, due to the Department for Education widening the vulnerable and key worker children categories, has left heads and teaching unions worried it could hamper the fight against the virus.

Pupils at Minerva’s take part in interactive group lessons, weekly assemblies and one-to-one mentoring. They have access to after school clubs and co-curricular activities such as art and debating. There are also regular wellbeing sessions and, outside of the pandemic, in-person meet ups and trips.

The school hopes to “bring greater consistency and continuity to what has been a disruptive year for education”.

Learning online doesn’t mean being alone, in fact the reverse is true in this case – Hugh Viney, Minerva’s Virtual Academy

Minerva’s is the brainchild of teaching professional and CEO Hugh Viney, who also owns private tutoring and home schooling business Minerva Tutors.

Viney said: “Traditional home schooling has long been criticised as isolating for some children, but times are changing and education is evolving. Learning online doesn’t mean being alone, in fact the reverse is true in this case.

“Our school is all about instilling a love of learning, building friendships, inspirational teaching and a spirit of community – all from the comfort and safety of your home. With the working from home revolution firmly underway and the likelihood of a prolonged period of school closures, our online school marks the start of an exciting new era of learning from home.”

Viney has appointed experienced teachers and specialist education mentors from both the state and independent school sectors.

Lawrence Tubb, former head of music at Wycombe Abbey, an independent boarding school for girls in Buckinghamshire, has been appointed as deputy headmaster of the academy.

He said: “This last year has demonstrated the fundamental value of reliable, fit-for-purpose remote learning, which ensures continuity of education for children. With that all-important school community at its heart, our school encourages pupils to thrive both emotionally and academically alongside their peers, while furnishing them with the skills and resilience they need to succeed in the modern world.”

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10 March 2021, 11am GMT