From education to employment

Schools must prepare pupils for education, says Head

Education needs to change to better prepare students for the world of work, the headmaster of an award-winning online school has said.

Lawrence Tubb, Headmaster at Minerva’s Virtual Academy, says the ongoing impact of the  COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the skills young people will need for the new way of working.

He was speaking after a survey by Reed showed only 36% of young people in school felt prepared for their future careers.

According to the Commercial Education Trust charity, almost three quarters of companies believe their profitability and productivity would rise by at least 25 per cent if new recruits were better prepared for employment.

Mr Tubb said: “The new way people have been working in the last couple of years is a world for which, unfortunately, most people leaving school or university in recent times have been woefully underprepared. They may know more about computers and technology than my generation ever did, but that is different from having the skills to interact with new colleagues who you may never, or seldom, meet in person.

“That was one of the drivers behind the launch of Minerva’s Virtual Academy. It is the perfect school for modern times – combining smart technology and engaging online resources with one-to-one support, active group learning and multi-disciplinary projects. 

“We have changed the way we approach education and believe our programme is attractive to modern employers. Our pupils’ timetables don’t look anything like the traditional school timetable, but rather resemble a work week calendar. For 70% of the time our pupils are self-studying on our platform with only 30% spent with teachers in ‘normal’ lessons.

“This automatically gives the pupils deadlines to complete sections of work, which is  very different to a calendar of lessons that pupils have to turn up to without any prior preparation, which is what you see in mainstream schools.

“Our pupils learn to manage their own time to meet these deadlines – and we help them do this with our dedicated personal mentoring programme. We teach study skills which will benefit them for years to come – not just revision hacks.”

Mr Tubb said that for some parents who had been forced to adopt homeschooling as schools shut down during the pandemic, online learning might feel like a poor substitute.

Done properly, with proper planning and proper care for the pupil, online learning is an environment which can arm a young person for what comes next,” he said.

“There is absolutely no doubt that education needs to change. And part of that change includes embracing what online technology and online learning can bring to the table.”

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