An online independent school is supporting a number of pupils across the UK who are participating in elite sports and mainstream creative arts and need more focused, dedicated time to pursue their disciplines. Minerva’s Virtual Academy has been supporting those children who need greater flexibility around schedules and who require a ‘learning at your own pace’ experience in order to retain their professional commitments.
From international cheerleaders and show jumpers to West End stars, online schools are becoming a popular option for children who are pursuing elite sports and creative arts at a mainstream level.
Lawrence Tubb, Headmaster at Minerva’s Virtual Academy explained: “Those children attending traditional schools, with rigid timetables, will often struggle to balance their school work with missed classroom-based lessons, studies and homework all in the mix. This is where virtual schools come into their own in terms of working around busy schedules, because the model of online education allows children to retain their professional commitments as well as keep on top of school work.”
Parents and pupils at Minerva’s Virtual Academy talk about their disciplines and how online schooling is helping them to pursue their dreams:
Ivy – International Cheerleader
Ivy is 13 years old, and she is an international cheerleader with Crimson Heat Tigers. Competing internationally, Ivy has a demanding schedule and competes regularly in high profile competitions and events.
A current Year 9 student at Minerva’s Virtual Academy, Ivy has been home educated since Year 5 and prior to that, she attended Stonar School, an independent day and boarding school in Wiltshire. Her parents have experimented with various approaches to educating their daughter since she began to home school.
Her mother, Blaire, explains: “When a strict ‘school at home’ approach wasn’t working (we discovered this after a few weeks in), we took to the road and travelled around Europe with Ivy for seven months, learning about different cultures and the history of the places we were staying. After that we used Outschool and private tutors as well as Ivy’s own self-directed learning. But as GCSEs loomed, we felt more structure would help.”
Ivy is keen to continue with her education and attend a good University in the future so being a student at an online school gives her the skills she needs as her education becomes more formal.
Blaire added: “Having a schedule is a big change from working with private tutors because the week is much more structured. It also gives an insight into what college is going to be like. At the same time Minerva’s Virtual Academy gives Ivy a lot of responsibility for organising her week herself. There’s a lot to do! But it’s a really important skill for her to learn how to meet deadlines and stay on top of her assignments.”
Tilly-Raye – West End Star
Tilly-Raye is 12 years old and is currently starring in the West End production of Frozen – The Musical, at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane in London. Starring in a mainstream show, means hectic theatre schedules, which keep Tilly extremely busy day to day.
Tilly-Raye is currently a Year 9 student at Minerva’s Virtual Academy. When Tilly-Raye moved to a secondary school last year, she encountered some unkindness within her year group and as a result, decided that she didn’t want to return to her school.
Her mother, Alicia, explains: “At this point we started looking at alternatives for her education, considering both traditional bricks and mortar schools and online schools. We came across Minerva’s Virtual Academy who were able to share some great testimonials and real-life experiences of their students, they were also extremely helpful and efficient at getting Tilly-Raye up to speed at short notice.
“Everything is well organised and laid out and I am glad to see her embracing the style of working. Tilly-Raye is currently involved in a West End show and so the flexible working works perfectly for her and if she does miss something there is always a way to catch up.”
Lukian – International Show Jumper
Lukian is 15 years old and is an international show jumper. He has been competing for the Ukrainian National Show Jumping team for the past two years. With a busy training and competitions schedule, Lukian needs flexibility in his education.
Currently, Lukian is a Year 11 student at Minerva’s Virtual Academy and will be taking his GCSEs in 2022.
Lukian spoke about attending an online school: “Having a flexible schedule and timetable is crucial for me because I am competing regularly in show jumping. I have been part of the Ukrainian National Team for a couple of years now and joining Minerva’s Virtual Academy has enabled me to continue with show jumping and train for my upcoming competitions.”
He added: “My first week at Minerva was very successful and I got straight to work. It is completely different from my previous school experience, and I find the changes are a positive thing for me. For example, I have organised my own timetable and can learn at my own pace. In terms of my education, my future goal is to get into Oxford, Cambridge as well as one of the Ivy league universities in the USA.”