Written by: Melissa McBride (Sophia’s CEO)
In April 2020 the World Economic Forum and UNESCO reported that due to the COVID 19 Pandemic, over 1.2 billion children were out of the classroom as schools around the globe were closed.
This sudden shift away from the traditional classroom has forced education into the digital era, albeit within a timeframe that would have previously been believed to be 15 years in the making.
Due to COVID19 – rapid pace of educational change has been compressed into the span of about 5 / 6 weeks. As a result, education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of and popularity of online learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.
Even before COVID-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology, with global EdTech investments reaching US$18.66 billion in 2019 and the overall market for online education projected to reach $350 Billion by 2025. Whether it is language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, or online learning software, there has been a significant surge in usage since COVID-19.
Research further suggests that as online learning has been shown to increase retention of information for students, offer a more personalised approach to learning and take less time than traditional schools; fundamental changes to the delivery of education, which coronavirus has caused, are likely here to stay. The digital revolution of Education in the 21st century has well and truly arrived.
In the UK, the Department for Education (DFE) has announced that their pre-COVID plans to offer an accreditation scheme to U.K. online education providers who offer full time educational provision to students, would be given the green light.
The move to accredit providers is an exciting and important step in the growth of the online education sector in the UK. Accreditation will provide much needed regulation and quality assurance checks, from an inspection point of view, to a sector that has been able to develop without any requirements from the DFE to ensure quality education provision and safeguarding standards are being offered by online providers.
Even longstanding traditional Independent UK Schools such as Harrow and King’s College Wimbledon are adapting to the new digital era in education; with Harrow Online now offering A Level online provision and King’s exploring the opportunities online schools can bring to students both in the UK but on a global level. Headteacher of Kings, Andrew Halls OBE, says he expects 300,000 children to be home-schooled by 2025 – a five-fold increase on the current (pre-COVID) level of 60,000. To meet this demand, clearly quality online provision will be needed.
At Sophia, our move to launch Sophia High School was a natural progression from the supplementary education we provided through private tuition, both in person and online and the offering of virtual school small group sessions following the U.K. National Curriculum and SophiaX camps and courses offering during lockdown.
As an organisation we knew we had a highly capable and passionate team of teachers who were skilled in the delivery of online learning for students in small group settings, with a maximum of 6 students for every teacher in line with the EFF (Education Endowment Funds) recent research into the topic.
At Sophia High, children take part in daily live interactive lessons with our team of teachers and further their learning through our unique project based independent home learning, made possible through our Exciting partnership with Fieldwork Education to be the first virtual school globally to offer both the IPC and IMYC programmes. Both elements of delivery are crucial to our forward thinking approach to education.
Our team we excited to deliver a student focused curriculum ready for life in the new era of digital learning and are driven by our collective belief in high quality learning outcomes for students which prepare them for life in the 22nd Century. Our commitment to involving and working alongside parents is a key element of our blended learning model of education. Relationships, Trust, Leadership and Communication are key pillars of our DNA.
This unique blend empowers our team to develop independence and confidence in our students and deliver a model of education at the forefront of the digital paradigm shift in education and shift to online learning. At Sophia High our reward comes from not simply from providing a model of education fit for life in the 22nd century, but in knowing we are helping to prepare our students for the roles they will play in the future as leaders and entrepreneurs as we support the growth and development of an inspired future focused generation of learners.
Sophia High is now accepting registrations for our priority waitlist intake for 2nd November 2020.