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Dragon joins the online schooling revolution

Dragon joins the online schooling revolution

Visionary online school Minerva’s Virtual Academy has announced a ‘game-changing’ hire from one of Britain’s leading preparatory schools as it looks to continue its rapid growth.

The academy, an award-winning online independent school for 12-18-year-olds, has appointed Dragon School Deputy Head (Academic) Mark Edwards, who will join in August.

Mr Edwards, 45, who read Classics at Oxford University before moving onto a teaching post at Stowe School, has since spent the last 17 years at Dragon School in Oxfordshire, whose alumni include John Betjeman, Alain de Botton and Emma Watson. 

Chief Executive Hugh Viney said it was a landmark moment for the business he founded at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and which now has pupils from 35 countries around the globe.

“I’ve been steadfast in our commitment to bringing the best talent to Minerva’s Virtual Academy and Mark’s appointment is another sign of this intent,” Mr Viney explained.

“Mark not only has experience of teaching in the best establishments in the UK, he himself is an incredibly passionate educator who firmly believes that online education is a fantastic environment for countless students for whom mainstream education does not work.”

Mr Edwards said he was driven to help Minerva continue its impressive growth.

“I have loved my time at Dragon School and I am truly excited about the vision Hugh has for Minerva,” he commented. “The lure of being able to make an impact upon hundreds of thousands of children who are not being reached by mainstream education was too good to turn down.”

Minerva champions alternative education provision for pupils for whom mainstream schools are not always the right fit, including elite sports stars, children of parents in the Armed Forces, those with a range of special educational needs from hyper-intelligence to anxiety, as well as families across the world who want a British education for their children.

“It’s estimated that over a million young people are refusing to go to school within the UK, for reasons ranging from anxiety and mental health problems, through to complex additional needs,” said Mr Viney. “Many young people thrive in a traditional school environment but, for a significant proportion, it simply cannot meet their needs.”

The school has won a number of awards including Best Business In The UK (with under 50 employees) at the SME National Business Awards, Digital Impact award from schools’ body AMCIS and Most Innovative Technology-Led Teaching from lifestyle platform Muddy Stilettos.

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