World's First Blended Online, Physical School

The Inspired Group, which already operates schools in Oman and Bahrain, has announced the launch of a new hybrid on-line/in-school model supported by its 60 physical schools around the world.
World's First Blended Online, Physical School
By Lyn Soppelsa
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In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, King’s College online is being launched with a promise to offer the best in British education. However, unlike other virtual schools, the new venture has partnered with 60 schools owned by the same organisation to offer access to physical school premises and facilities for arts and sports subject.

Despite the name, the school is not connected to the Kings’ group of schools in the UAE, or to King’s College London.

The hybrid education model is being launched by Inspired, a co-educational, non-denominational, independent school group that already educates 50,000 children in schools across five continents and 20 countries. Inspired group schools currently enable 90 per cent of students to successfully obtain a place at their first-choice university, including those in the UK Russell Group and US Ivy League.

Currently, the group does not operate any schools in the UAE, but both the British School of Bahrain and the Knowledge Gate International School in Muscat are members.

According to the group, 'Inspired offers a fresh and contemporary approach to education by re-evaluating traditional teaching methods and curriculums, and creating a more dynamic, relevant and powerful model reflecting current attitudes. We nurture the unique individuality, talent and self-assurance of each student, equipping them to take on the world with the skills and confidence to ensure success.'

Students of King's College on-line will be able to study for full-time international GCSE and A-levels. The Pearson Edexcel international GCSE and A-Level curricula will be used, delivered via a leading learning platform, Canvas, which incorporates the latest student and teacher dashboards, online assignments, and embedded artificial intelligence.

In line with the British curriculum being taught, students will be required to have appropriate proficiency in English. Entrance will be non–selective, though a number of scholarships will be offered.  We assume that this opportunity will operate in line with the current physical school scheme whereby talented students, who would otherwise be unable to afford private education, are offered means-tested scholarships for excellence in academics, performing arts and sport.

Teachers have already been recruited from Inspired’s current global network of schools. Students will learn through live keynote lessons, supported by personalised tutorial study groups and proactive weekly performance tracking, as well as co-curricular activities such as music, drama, art and coding. They will also have access to additional support, such as 24-hour pastoral care and university counsellors.

Initially, lessons are being launched in China and New Zealand for courses starting in January 2021. Rapid roll-out will then see courses available elsewhere later in the year.

King’s Online says winter and summer camps will be run with leading partners in their field, such as sport with the Real Madrid Football Foundation, fashion with Missoni and performing arts with the Berklee College of Music. Students will also be invited to opt for an experience in a physical school or school camp at preferential rates.

Nadim Nsouli, the founder and CEO of Inspired, said: “It is always a pleasure to launch a new school, and even more so to launch the first of its type in the world. Many parents have commented on the success of our digital offering during this pandemic, which motivated us to imagine an all-online school.”

“King’s College Online will be unique in that it is the first online school launched by a premium global group of schools, enabling its students to access prestigious physical schools around the world to complement their online learning. This new project enables even more children to access the best of an international curriculum and allows them to open the doors to the world’s best universities.”

The core King’s College Online programme will cost £6,380 (AED 30,000), for a full suite of five international GCSEs and/or four A-level courses.

This is more costly than some physical schools in the UAE offering iGCSEs and A’ Levels.  Key factors to its success will be the quality of its offering, of the school it is partnering with in any location, and of extra-curricula activities.

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