This is a frequently asked question by those investigating the concept of BGA and what it means to be a student, or as we like to say, ‘learner’ with us. As is the query, is BGA similar to homeschooling? The simple answer is both yes and no! BGA offers what we call a hybrid education and personal development model.
What is a hybrid learning model?
The hybrid learning model created, developed and adopted by BGA is a personalised, flexible education which is partly online (in terms of academics) but within a dynamic, collaborative PHYSICAL classroom setting which we call a ‘hub’. Within the hub, (location selected by the learner and their family), there are mentors and learning coaches present to help guide and assist the learners through their chosen education, life skills, and introduce and integrate them into their community. The aim is to create a holistic learning experience with the intention to prepare our brave generation for their (personalised) future.
“BGA is about education and beyond it. Its mission is to prepare for life: equipping learners with valuable resources, and the knowledge to use them; more importantly, BGA is about the future of today’s generations.”
What does BGA offer that other online schools do not?
As we have mentioned BGA is not solely an online school, we have physical hubs all over the world which offer full academic support for their learners via learning coaches, mentors (present in the hub daily), online course managers and teachers. BGA does not close for holidays (except Easter, Christmas or other specified local-to-your-hub holidays) and is open daily from 8am-6pm, so the learner can always work at their own pace in their own time.
The flexibility of BGA is a big attraction in that learners are given the opportunity to fulfil all their life goals within the ‘working day’ and are not limited to the structure of regular, traditional school or class times. BGA does not encourage homework as we believe that all scholastics can be, and should be covered within their personalised timetable during their hours at the hub. We also encourage the learners to create a schedule that works for their individual abilities and lifestyle.
If you are a surfer for example and the waves are good at 10am – you go surfing then you make up your school time later on or in the next days.
If you are a budding musician and the teacher has a 12pm slot, you can take your lunch hour then and go to your lesson.
If you are a professional or in training to become professional in a sport or other occupation, the flexibility of BGA’s set up allows for the hours needed to put in to achieve all your goals.
Online academics are structured by the learners themselves, they initiate their own timetables, work at their own pace and structure their time in order to reach their individual targets. The learning coaches are on hand to help design and support them through this, to advise and help where necessary and ensure that they keep up to date.
Learners are also offered the opportunity to move between hubs if they so desire. We now have (and are rapidly opening more and more) hubs across the globe. As soon as a hub is full (30 learners max.) we open another in the vicinity to host new applicants. If your family decides to travel, you can attend a hub anywhere, both nationally and internationally and still receive the same education, as well as the added bonus of meeting new learners, skills, and integrating into new cultures and communities.
How does the academic side of education work at BGA, is the curriculum officially recognised?
“BGA offers a curriculum recognised by the world’s leading universities as the gold standard of international education, fully integrated with projects and courses to support and embrace each learner’s personal goals.”
BGA offers a comprehensive, interactive, user-friendly online platform with endless resources, as well as excellent teachers, as the core of the learner’s academic studies. The mentors and learning coaches are on hand (present in the hub) to support each learner through their chosen academic path and ensure that they are reaching their own personalised goals effectively and happily.
“ALL RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE FOR LEARNERS TO REACH THEIR FULL POTENTIAL. ONGOING SUPPORT IS PROVIDED BY PEDAGOGICAL PROFESSIONALS, LEARNING COACHES, COURSE MANAGERS, AND PEERS ALONG WITH TECHNOLOGY AND DIGITAL TOOLS, WITH HIGHLY STRUCTURED PROCESSES, GUIDING LEARNERS THROUGH THEIR EDUCATIONAL JOURNEY.”
The platform used by BGA learners is on an online website (strategically curated by our incredible team of computer whizzes, teachers, professors, students, psychologists, analysts, and more) that can be accessed from anywhere at any time. The content is in English and each subject topic is made up of various video clips, texts, quizzes, research and assignments. Everything needed to fully understand and learn the curriculum is available. Because the online platform is asynchronous, the learner will never miss an online class. The learners set their own goals, choose their own courses (apart from those which are mandatory), and work at their own pace.
So BGA is an online school with a shared workspace? What else?
Whilst BGA does involve a digital platform for learning academically, it is not solely an online schooling system. The BGA concept adheres to three pillars when it comes to nurturing a young adult’s secondary education; knowledge, community and skills. The academic side of the learner’s experience at BGA is decided upon by them. If they are hoping to go on to further education or to study for a specific profession then they select the subjects, courses and relevant examinations to get them where they need to go. If a learner has decided they want to train to be a vet for example, they would need to achieve a certain number of specified iGCSEs, then A Levels with required grades in order to be selected for university to study further. At BGA we fully support the child’s decision as to what / who they want to be. This can be slightly less straightforward should the learner be unsure as to what they are interested in doing in the future, and so BGA offers many many courses and options for learners to try out until they settle in to their chosen path. If a learner chooses one direction that turns out not to be right for them, then BGA offers them the capacity and the opportunity to change their minds and help set them off on another.
The academic side of BGA is available to the learners via our comprehensive and inclusive online education platform.
There are three programmes within the British Curriculum designed for different age groups.
- The Lower Secondary programme (Year 8 & 9): The goal is to provide learners with enough information to properly choose their preferred subjects for the next level.
- The IGCSE programme (Year 10 and 11). This is typically a mix of mandatory subjects plus subjects chosen by the learner. IGCSE requires external examination.
- The A-Level programme (Year 12 and 13). Students specialise in a few chosen fields with a view to progressing into the workplace or further education. A-Level requires external examination.
So is BGA an accredited online school?
This is where the answer is yes to our original question. Yes, BGA is an accredited Cambridge online school. All examinations, certificates, and qualifications will be monitored and provided by the Cambridge International Curriculum.
The Cambridge International Curriculum was introduced by Cambridge Assessment International Education, a globally recognised provider of international qualifications. Cambridge International is part of the world-renowned University of Cambridge with over 10,000 schools in 160 countries offering Cambridge programmes and qualifications.
Bottom line, yes BGA is partially an online school but no, BGA is not like homeschooling!
You can see from this brief outline that BGA does not really resemble a homeschooling framework; there is no need for parents involvement (unless they want to of course!), the learner attends a physical classroom with other learners on a daily basis using their own personal timetable and weekly structure. The learners often organise lunches, games, music sessions, sports, parties, festive occasions, trips, activities, etc. to do together, this, again is their choice and is supported fully by the hub and learning coaches. They are involved in the local community and are given plenty of opportunities to incorporate new skills into their lives by way of extra courses, Brave & Beyond (see separate blog for more information on B&B), Babel language courses, MOOCs courses, apprenticeships, interactive onsite learning and instructors coming in to work with the learners on specific professions.
There is however, the option for learners to work from home, for example, if they are travelling or working / part of a team / professional group which means they can’t attend a hub. Working from home isn’t encouraged unless there is a good reason for it as we feel that learners get so much more from the social, interactive aspect of the hub environment.
We believe that BGA offers the best combination of both online and offline education, it is the perfect mix! For more information on BGA and how it works, feel free to contact the team at any time with any questions you may have.
Coming next… What is a learning coach exactly? The role, the responsibility and the results!
November 23, 2022 Cascais