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Minerva’s Virtual Academy – New School First Review EXCLUSIVE 2022
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Minerva’s Virtual Academy – New School First Review EXCLUSIVE 2022

by Jon WestleyJanuary 14, 2022

Minerva’s Virtual Academy – New School First Review EXCLUSIVE 2022. This is a first looks review. Full, in-depth review coming 2022.

“Very bright children who are bored and usually compete ahead of others will benefit from a fast-paced learning experience with the opportunity to excel and promote beyond the rigors of their daily timetables.

Every child is different: isn’t that what we teach?

Some children are ready to get a GCSE much faster than others, and online education gives students the freedom to progress at their own pace.

Some children need more focused and dedicated time to participate in elite sports and creative arts at a higher level and pursue selected areas.

Similarly, some parents work or live abroad and do not want to send their children to a boarding school in the UK.

There are many reasons why online education can help some children.”

The prestigious and award-winning Minerva’s Virtual Academy has opened admissions in the UAE. The UK based premium independent school offers UAE parents access to a pure British, Tier 1 on-line education for children through to GCSE and A Level between the ages of 12 years and 18 years. Currently the school is welcoming applications from UAE parents for children to study towards GCSE with applications for Sixth Form A level study opening later in September 2022. The school traces its history back to 2014 where its Minerva Tutors is widely accredited as being the first to professionalise tutoring in the UK with knock on impacts across the sector. Minerva has forged its reputation on the back of recruiting only the most outstanding teaching faculty, each committed to to teaching as a vocation and with a deep-seated commitment to students. Many teachers have  moved to Minerva on the basis of being able to deliver a genuine personalised education to children, something just not possible with larger class sizes and the many constraints of traditional bricks and mortar schools.

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The Academy is fully and unambiguously inclusive and welcomes all children from those most academically, technically and artistically gifted to those with SEND:

“Many of the families we speak to have children with severe SEND issues including autism, which can affect a child’s capacity for learning in multiple ways.  Several of our pupils have had their confidence knocked via the system and have struggled to fit in, adapt and progress in their schools. The pandemic has of course, not helped matters.  The reality is, many families have been unable to access appropriate support and care or have experienced delays in obtaining a medical diagnosis, which means they are left to battle in the interim with little or no learning provision.”

Photograph of Lawrence Tubb, Headmaster, Minerva Virtual Academy with Jack Child, Deputy Headmaster, Minerva Virtual Academy.

Photograph of Lawrence Tubb (right), Headmaster, Minerva Virtual Academy with Jack Child (left), Deputy Headmaster, Minerva Virtual Academy in London following a School Trip in 2021

Minerva is the first British curriculum online school to launch in the UAE. Headmaster Lawrence Tubb joined The Academy from Wycombe Abbey where as Director of Music he led the core music curriculum for almost a decade. Mr Tubb led a team of 45 full-time teachers taking on ambitious projects across multiple departments including leading several international concert tours. Prior to Wycombe Abbey, Mr Tubb taught at Leweston School in Sherbourne as Head of Music. Mr Tubb personally leads the school’s World Changers Programme which links students with organisations across business, industry and the Arts to tackle real world problems and “make the difference.”

Jack Child, Minerva’s Deputy Headmaster, is a Chemist by training, with expertise across the Sciences and geography. He teaches across the GCSE and A level spectrum as well as having expertise in preparing students for entrance to top tier universities. “When he’s not tutoring with Minerva, Jack can be found making rockets and volcanoes out of household items on Minerva Tutors TV, a free educational channel for pupils aged 7-13. Something to experience!”

Core GCSE subjects are offered by Minerva’s Virtual Academy in:

  • Mathematics
  • English Literature
  • English Language
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

with 3 further optional subjects to be chosen from:

  • Business Studies
  • Geography
  • History
  • Computer Science
  • Psychology
  • French
  • Spanish

The school also offers a wide array of further subject options which may be provided, subject to discussion with parents. These currently include, but are not limited to:

  • Mandarin
  • Economics

Parents may register today for the Minerva Sixth Form, starting September 2022 as above, for subjects including:

  • Biology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • English
  • French
  • Geography
  • Government & Politics
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Further Mathematics
  • Media Studies
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Spanish
  • Travel & Tourism

Applications for A Level require students to have predicted GCSE grades of 6 or above in the subject they wish to study – or in a related subject where that has not been available at their school. Further A level subjects are available subject to discussion with the Minerva team.

One key benefit of the program is that students will access British UK teachers and a curriculum tightly tethered to the UK. One example is the provision of A Level Government and Politics – a subject popular in the UK but not provided formally by any school currently in the UAE. The result is a seamless transition to UK universities, or seamless re-entry into UK schools for parents not planning to remain in the UAE for the lifetime of their child’s education. Currently students in the UAE invest significant time in learning Arabic subjects which are not part of the Minerva core curriculum.

Students in the school learn through a combination of interactive, small group live subject lessons taught by specialist teachers and modules of self-study work on-line. All students are directly supported  by their own academic and personal mentor whose subject specialism is linked to the student’s subject choices. The aim is that academic provision is significantly more personalised, and personal, than that achievable in a bricks and mortar UAE school.
At Sixth Form, students following three courses have 6 hours of live subject lessons per week and a dedicated hour of 1-to-1 time every two weeks. ‘Study Groups’ links students with their classmates which build friendships and inspire debate. In addition all Sixth Form students access the Minerva Enrichment Programme which includes Symposia – a specialist 6-week cross-curricular course, taught for one hour per week, which develops core critical and creative thinking skills to prepare students for top-tier university study; preparation for university study; Life Skills, a weekly 30-minute class in a broad range of areas covering everything from cooking to budgeting; and the Minerva Galactic Award, a mini Baccalaureate programme spanning Year 12, involving completion of an academic project of personal interest, volunteering, fundraising, event organisation, young enterprise and subject research specific to the interests of each child.
ECAs are numerous and include debating, art, chess, film production and app design.
Sixth form life also includes regular online socials, termly opportunities for students to meet up in person, and school trips.
The commitment to delivery of a whole child rich commitment also extends to GCSE study. Again, every child is individually assigned their own personal tutor and mentor – someone whose role is to intrinsically care for, and respond to, the needs of each individual child. Weekly Assemblies bring the whole school together, just as in traditional schools. A flourishing ECA programme  stretches from Art and Film Production to Debating and E-Gaming clubs. Regular on-line classes ensure that the school experiences equals if not betters those of its bricks and mortar counterparts.
On-line education is a growth industry and increasingly mainstream in the UK (with schools like Harrow launching their own Virtual school for example) and globally, but arguably it is the impact of Covid 19 that has resulted in the growing interest of parents to choose virtual over bricks and mortar education. Fees are lower, the waste of time and stresses of commuting are completely removed, parents can spend more quality time with their children, education is more personalised and attuned to the needs of individual children – and the time children have to invest in their passions and interest can double.
Fees at Minerva offer strong ROI with fees in 2022-23 fixed at approximately AED 34,600. For founding students in the UAE, Minerva is offering fee remission of around AED 2,500 to bring fees in at around AED 32,300.
For parents seeking to home school children in the US curriculum, read our review of iCademy Middle East here. Currently, there are no opportunities to study for the IB online in the UAE.
Our full review of Minerva’s Virtual Academy is in progress – watch this space. In the interim, Minerva Admissions can be contacted directly in the UK on 0044 (0)203 637 6477. You can read about the school on its official web site here.

© SchoolsCompared.com. 2022. All rights reserved.

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About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of SchoolsCompared.com and WhichSchoolAdvisor.com UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at] schoolscompared.com

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