BGA is NOT solely an online school, physical ‘hubs’ are offered as a co-educating space for all learners as a vital component of the BGA learning model.
There has been some confusion surrounding the BGA concept, some were led to believe that BGA is an online school. This is not the case. BGA’s academic platform is online, however every learner has access to a local ‘hub’, or communal workspace, for them to attend daily.
What is a hub?
The hub is a physical space where BGA learners go to study, learn, integrate and interact with their peers as well as their learning coaches and community. The learning coaches provide a mentor-style support system for the learners and so form a vital role in their education and development during these formative years. The learning coaches are always present within the hubs during opening hours and are there to aid and assist the learners in any way needed.
There are a range of ages at all hubs from those just starting off their secondary education and others finalising their next moves after A Level and beyond. All learners at BGA are considered equal; there is no hierarchy – everyone is unique and individual but no different from the next. Being older does not mean you are better, it means you may have something more to offer those who are in a situation you may have managed previously – you may be wiser and able to help someone out! Often we find our youngest learners helping out their elders as they see things through fresh eyes and have innovative ideas.
All hubs are open daily during the week from Monday to Friday, 08:00 until 18:00. Public holidays as well as Easter and Christmas holidays are the only times when the hubs are closed, BGA hubs do not close down during the summer allowing learners to continue their studies throughout the year.
The fact that the hubs are open almost all year round lends the option for families to travel when it suits them rather than having to stick to a schedule when travelling is most expensive and limited. Perhaps a learner wishes to visit another hub in a different country while they are abroad – no problem! This must of course be pre-arranged with the on-site learning coaches and faculty, but if there is space at any hub, BGA learners are always welcome to experience other locations.
How many learners are there per hub?
We limit the hub size to around 30 people with one learning coach per 15 learners, minimum. We feel that this is a good number that works; it is not too many that anyone can get lost in the crowd, and it is just enough to create a diverse, interesting and positive atmosphere, plus the learning coaches have a manageable amount of learners to focus on. Once the hubs become full in any one location BGA will open a second or third hub to accommodate demand. A minimum of 6 learners is required to open a new hub.
What about breaks or lunchtime?
The learners are given the autonomy to organise their own academic schedule and so we also believe they are capable of allotting their own breaks and lunchtimes. These will vary from person to person however some hubs learners have decided on a shared lunch break so that they can have some shared communal time to eat, chat and play games outside, etc.
Learners are able to use the hub from 8am to 6pm every day of the week and so their hours will vary from learner to learner; if one chooses to work at the hub from 12-6pm for example, they would probably take a break at a different time to another who attends from 8am-2pm.
How many hours do learners spend in the hubs?
Again, this is an autonomous decision and also depends on the academic schedule of the learners, however BGA recommend that learners spend an average of five hours per day present at their hub.
What about vacations?
Again, the autonomy and flexibility of the BGA concept means that learners and their families can travel as and when it suits. We do no recommend taking extended holidays as the learners do need to maintain a structure to their studies, but as the learning concept offers the academic side online learners can keep up with their own schedule whilst travelling. In order to keep to a framework that makes sense for all concerned, BGA recommends that learners take vacation at any time of the year but to ensure that the allocated time is communicated with their learning coaches and does not exceed 3 months per year (this includes the 3 weeks that hubs will be closed over holiday periods). All cases can be discussed and arranged individually, but these are the BGA general guidelines for an optimal learning experience.
Can BGA learners move from hub to hub?
Provided that the idea is planned and communicated with the relevant learning coaches, there is no problem with learners moving between hubs. In fact if it is a positive thing for the learner then it is encouraged. If a family happened to be travelling in a different country for example and there was a hub local to them it could be arranged for the learners to attend here during their stay. Hub rotation is often encouraged as it gives the learners and insight into other cultures, communities and can often provide stimulation and inspiration for their chosen path.
What else does a hub have to offer?
The hub serves as the meeting place and a hive of activity for its learners, not just as a place in which they study but also the place from which they go to explore their community and get involved in local activities, internships, entrepreneurial ideas, local groups, clubs, music, sports, as well as environmental preservation and a social life. If a learner wants to open a door, the hub will help them find the key!
Contact the BGA team any time for more information on hubs or any other topics concerning our learning model.
January 30, 2023 Cascais