Written by: Melissa McBride (Sophia’s CEO/Cofounder)
One of the most frequent questions that our education team is asked by parents considering Sophia High School and online education for their children, is what are the differences between traditional brick-and-mortar schools and online schools? Followed closely by; is online schooling right for my child?
There can be no doubt that 2020 has been the catalyst for significant, and arguably much-needed change in education. The World Economic Forum and UNESCO reported that 1.2 billion children were out of the classroom as schools around the globe were closed during the first wave of the pandemic and many families had their first experience of full time remote learning as traditional schools were forced online. What that meant was approximately 1.2 billion students were studying remotely; disruption borne of disruption.
While almost every industry has undergone a digital revolution in recent years, the education sector has lingered at the back of the class. The coronavirus crisis, however, has been a game-changer for education and has opened the door for a whole new focus for teaching and learning; the rise of online schools.
In the future, 2020 will likely be regarded as the pivotal point at which the traditional education system began to undergo extensive disruption. “This is education’s Netflix moment,” says Kirill Pyshkin, Senior Portfolio Manager at Credit Suisse.
New and exciting choices are quickly emerging in the field of education, which previously would not have been accessible or provided high quality learning opportunities for students and their parents prior to 2020.
Traditional schools have been forced to adapt their approach to digital learning and as we face potential further waves of COVID19 in 2021, prepare for the likelihood of further disruption to learning.
In recent years, home education in the UK alone has grown considerably and is set to keep growing in the future; from an estimated 34,000 students in 2014 – 2015, 60,544 students prior to COVID19 in 2017-2018 and an estimated projection of over 300,000 students by 2025 – 2026.
Research suggests that 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.
Online Schools, led by some of the key players in the sector, including Harrow, Valenture, Kings and Sophia High School, are emerging as the forward-thinking leaders who collectively present a new future of education and challenge the status quo presented by physical school settings.
Parents, and most importantly the students themselves, are discovering some of the many benefits of online education including; flexibility, student centred learning, skills based digital learning and a pedagogy that is 21st century ready.
Looking beyond the statutory years of primary and secondary education, online learning will no doubt play a crucial role in preparing education seekers for post secondary education and for career builders seeking to retrain.
Longer term, according to the World Economic Forum, almost a third of the global workforce, more than one billion people, will need to be reskilled by 2030 as jobs are transformed by technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The choice to continue with traditional schooling models or to choose online schooling is a personal one and every family must ensure that the benefits of online schooling meet the unique needs of every individual learner.
As an education team who share over 48 years of educational leadership and teaching experience, we passionately believe that the number one consideration parents should make when choosing a school is the learning environment; traditional or online, where their child will be happy. Happiness breeds confidence and this underpins the ability to learn and thrive.
For parents seeking more information about Online Schools; our Director of Education at Sophia High School, David McCarthy, recently wrote an article which may be of interest: “Remote Learning for Children – Challenges, concerns, solutions and opportunities,” which can be viewed here