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The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) are planning a Virtual Academy for London, commissioning Tribal Technology to draw up plans for an academy that would improve educational provisions for 14-19 years olds.

The idea has been proposed by the London Grid for Learning, Villiers High School of Ealing and Ealing and Hammersmith and West London College. The London Virtual Academy will be an independent institution and will enrol its own students.

Tribal Technology and Tribal Education will evaluate the viability of a virtual academy, which would offer greater resources and accessibility for students who want to enhance their studies through the use of learning technology. Tribal Technology has experience on similar projects already set up in the UK, whilst Tribal Education will assess the business and financial aspects of the project.

Inner City Problems

The London Virtual Academy will attempt to address the problems experienced by inner city schools lacking the suitably qualified staff to provide specialist support. These problems particularly affect core subjects such as Science, Maths and English.

The Academy would be available to young people across London wishing to supplement their school education; it will also introduce new approaches to learning and teaching via the online medium. The academy will also help students that are unable to access education through sickness, exclusion or being home educated.

Computers and Learning

The project intends to achieve its goals by providing a computer based system, e-learning and integrated action research facilities. An e-learning content unit together with a team of trained teachers will be created to provide support and the necessary development. An Individual Learning Plan will be set up for each learner to enable delivery of the service in schools and colleges as well as on-line. The Academy will work as both a supplement to school based learning and as a 100% on-line course of study.

The project will also develop interactive learning materials, as well as recruit, train and support the various staff and managers involved. There will also be assessment and certification of learners and an evaluation of the project's effectiveness as a model for the UK as a whole.

Dan Atkinson

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