Would YOU switch your child to an online-only education?

Would YOU switch your child to an online-only education? New private school will offer live-streamed lessons for 15-pupil classes and one-to-one parental support – and it only costs £6,340-a-year

  • Kings College Online will serve school years 10 to 13 in UK from September 2021
  • Students  taught globally recognised Pearson Edexcel GCSE and A-Levels online
  • Lessons specific to each class, recorded live-streams so absentees can catch up

When lockdown hit, thousands of parents across the country suddenly found themselves taking on the role of teacher as home-schooling became the new normal.

Now in the wake of the pandemic, the world’s first online school is being launched – offering live-streamed lessons, virtual parent’s evenings and attentive teachers at the end of an email.

King’s College Online – which has no affiliation to King’s College School in Wimbledon or King’s College London – costs £6,341 (€7,000) a year and has been developed by Inspired – a co-ed independent school group that already teaches around 50,000 children at over 60 physical campuses across 20 countries worldwide.

These include Fulham School in London – rated Good by Ofsted in March and listed in this year’s Tatler Schools Guide – and Reddam House Berkshire in Wokingham.

In the wake of the pandemic, the world’s first online school is being launched – offering live-streamed lessons, virtual parent’s evenings and attentive teachers at the end of an email. Pictured: stock image

Serving years 10 to 13 with class sizes of around 15 pupils, King’s College Online’s fees are around 60 per cent of what physical private schools charge. 

Students will be taught globally recognised Pearson Edexcel international GCSE and A-Levels online and have access to the group’s private school premises for sport and creative arts subjects. 

The £6,341 per annum covers its core programme, which consists of five GCSEs and/or four A-Level courses. Students can take additional GCSEs at a cost of £1,345 (€1,500) per subject. 

Figures shared by the London School of Economics today revealed 2.5 million children across the country received no teaching whatsoever for the first six months of lockdown, while private school pupils were twice as likely to receive a full day of online lessons during lockdown than children attending state schools.

King’s College Online costs £6,341 (€7,000) a year and has been developed by Inspired – a co-ed independent school group that already teaches around 50,000 children at over 60 physical campuses across 20 countries worldwide. These include Reddam House Berkshire in Wokingham (pictured)

Inspired’s group also includes Fulham School in London, pictured – rated Good by Ofsted in March and listed in this year’s Tatler Schools Guide

Nadim Nsouli, chief executive officer of Inspired, told The Times: ‘We’re a global group that has educated and graduated hundreds of thousands of people. We have a track record.’

‘My view is that the pandemic has exposed a lot of the failings of schools,’ he added.

‘We have people in our education team that no single school could afford. At one point I had the [former] heads of Westminster and of St Paul’s working for the group.’

My son benefitted from online learning – but he missed his friends

Lucy Woodnutt’s son Jack, 12, is a pupil at Fulham School in west London – part of the Inspired group.

Jack told The Times he felt his teachers managed very well during lockdown and put in ‘a lot of effort’, while online classrooms became the norm and ‘fun lessons’ including art, drama and music continued.

Lucy said this model of education could be ‘very beneficial’ for the future, adding that she believes the group would make it ‘as close to the experience you would get in a traditional private school as they can’.

She did admit that Jack missed his friends, which is hard to replicate via online education, but pointed out that many young people primarily communicate digitally these days anyway.

King’s College Online will be a separate school with its own teachers, selected from a talent pool of 4,500 which teach at the group’s physical schools.

Initially lessons will be launched in January in China and New Zealand, with courses available to the UK and the rest of Europe from September 2021.  

Lessons will be specific to each class and a recorded live-streamed, so any absentees can catch up. 

To add a personal touch there’ll also be a university-style tutor system, with smaller study groups for two hours a week to enable students to have more interaction with each other and their teachers.

Students are invited to email their teachers directly, with each assigned a tutor and a class teacher, as well as 24-hour pastoral care and counsellors on hand.

Virtual parents evenings will also be introduced, with Nsouli claiming there will be more feedback than in a normal school thanks to data tracking on pupils’ attendance, performance and participation. 

While co-curricular activities are on the agenda, the online school will not teach PE due to the belief that they’d be better off joining a local club.

In the school holidays, students will have access to summer or winter camps to pursue their passions, delivered through Inspired’s partners, which include the Real Madrid Football Foundation and the Berklee College of Music, at discounted rates. 

Nsouli told the Times that class sizes may go up if uptake is high, adding: ‘We have to be very careful in making sure we provide a good service. If we end up providing bad quality, then very quickly we’re not going to have many customers.’

He also insisted that 90 per cent of Inspired children obtain a place at their first choice universities, which include Russell Group and Ivy League institutions.  

Private school pupils twice as likely to receive full day of online lessons during lockdown than state school

Private school pupils were twice as likely to receive a full day of online lessons during lockdown than children attending state schools.

Figures shared by the London School of Economics show a disparity between the privileged and state-funded schools, while also revealing 2.5million children across the country received no teaching whatsoever for the first six months of lockdown.

The research suggested nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of private school pupils were benefitting from full days of teaching during lockdown, compared with just 38 per cent of pupils from state schools.

Private school pupils were also five times more likely than state school pupils to have had at least four online lessons a day. 

They were also four times more likely to have spent more than five hours a day on schoolwork.

According to the study, four in 10 pupils across the country are still not receiving the same number of teaching hours as they did before the pandemic hit, while about 2.5 million children across the UK received no schooling or tutoring at all during lockdown.

Roberta, 16, from Harris Westminster Sixth Form told the BBC’s Panorama programme, which airs tonight: ‘During those six months it was just no education at all. I didn’t really get any support from my old school regarding my education.

‘It’s been a little bit stressful so far. I always had a dream of going to A Levels prepared, focused and ready. That break of six months did so much damage.

‘I think coming into this school, I didn’t realise the disparity would be this big in the classroom. There are people that don’t know anything and people that know almost the whole content.’

The Department for Education reportedly told Panorama it is giving every school more money, with £58million already provided to help schools with the extra costs of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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