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Francis joined the NVA at the end of the 2013/14 academic year as our youngest ever student and our first to be based in the Philippines. At 9 years old, Francis had experienced various health issues and was in the process of convalescing when it became apparent that returning to mainstream school for the time being would be difficult. Here we discuss with Monica Moreno, Head Teacher of Francis’s school in the Philippines, her take on the situation and her experience working with the Nisai Virtual Academy.
At that time, Francis’ mother reported to us that because he was recuperating from a bout with viral meningitis, he could not attend regular schooling. However, Francis himself was eager to continue his studies. So the only option at that time was for us to send his school work home. We were all set to arrange a schedule of home visits by his teachers. When we heard about the NVA, we knew that this would be the perfect set up for him: a good way to continue schooling in the comfort of the home. The time difference between the UK and the Philippines also was an advantage, because that meant that Francis family members could be present to facilitate the technical aspects of the program.
Due to the 8 hour time difference Francis was able to study in the evenings, supported by his family. Initially Francis studied Core Curriculum, a rolling 6 week programme we offer through the NVA which allows clients to access Key Stage 3 or 4 English, Maths, Science and PSHE with the complete freedom to choose which subjects, days and length of time they require. Many clients use Core Curriculum as a way of trailing the NVA before transferring a student onto a long-term course. During the final 6 weeks of the academic year, Francis studied English, Math’s and Science for 6 weeks. After the summer holidays in September 2014, Francis rejoined the NVA and was placed onto KS3 courses.
How was your initial experience of our service?
Very good! From the constant communication, to the opening of an account, to the reports on Francis’ progress, we enjoyed being a part of the partnership. It was wonderful to get the reports and to correspond with Francis’ mum and NVA about changes in his health condition and the progress he was making.
It quickly became apparent that Francis was Gifted & Talented, particularly in Maths, so he was moved to a higher level course. For the remainder of the academic year Francis studied Y10 GCSE Maths alongside KS3 Science and English. As a 9 year old, you would expect a student to be working towards a National Curriculum Level 4 at his age; instead Francis was working at a GCSE Grade D in Maths and a National Curriculum Level 6 in English and Level 7 in Science.
Without the support of the NVA, Francis would not have been able to move up a grade/level, and would not have been able to return smoothly to regular schooling. NVA made a tremendous difference to the quality of his home study program.
The support that Francis received from NVA has been wonderful and a great boost to his self-esteem. I like the fact that NVA matched the program with Francis’ needs and capabilities. It was very individualized, very personal. The fact that he made an easy transition to his regular school program speaks of the success of NVA in readying him for this big step.
Following by the end of the 2014/15 academic year, Francis’s health had improved and he was able to transition back into his mainstream school.