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The challenge of replicating the whole school experience online

Samuel Gipson
Samuel Gipson (16 posts) Head of Secondary View Profile

A lot has been written about the challenges of online learning, particularly that academic progress of students will be compromised as a consequence of sustained lockdowns and physical school closures.


While there will always be difficulties associated with huge changes to the way any organisation operates, the unique challenges schools face in ensuring students continue to achieve academically are immense.

The Nord Anglia approach to these unique challenges well and truly separates our schools apart from others. While most institutions approached schooling in lockdown through the lens of online learning or distance education, NAE schools endeavoured to implement a Virtual School Experience. While seemingly a difference of semantics, the impact of such language choice is huge.

Here at NAIS Manila, our approach to Virtual School has been to replicate so far as possible the entire school experience; from providing daily opportunities for students across year groups to interact, collaborate and share experiences, to providing chance for participation in friendly competition, to give a platform for students to share their stories and shape one another’s learning journeys. All of this on top of and in concert with the incredible learning that takes place daily in lessons.

Virtual School is not just about the transmission of knowledge online.


Virtual School is more than just learning at distance. It is about maintaining, promoting, and enhancing the inclusive NAIS MANILA community, developing relationships between students and providing opportunities for interaction, collaboration, and celebration, all in the virtual space.

Our daily House Times that take place every morning and afternoon in which students of all ages work together are fantastic to see. Similarly, the bi-weekly BABB (Be Ambitious – Be Better) sessions in which students undertake a range of activities lead by our dedicated teachers exploring the issues of the day as well as challenging students to think creatively while working together, are a sight to behold. These key parts of the daily NAIS MANILA experience create a holistic and inclusive learning experience, the impact of which furthers academic progress and enhances student wellbeing.

The impact of this language choice, Virtual School not online/distance learning, has been huge and our community engagement surveys testify to this.  See results below;

100% of parents feel their child is making good academic progress

100% of students feel they are making good progress

94% of parents rate the NAIS MANILA Virtual School Experience 5/5 Stars  

100% rate it 4 stars or above

Our continued wellbeing surveying of students also shows our students to be consistently happy and engaged in their learning. Contrast this with recent survey results coming out the UK suggesting that students are on average achieving only 70% of the progress they had in previous years. While some academic progress has been inevitably stalled due to the challenges of lockdown, our approach to Virtual School and providing a holistic schooling experience has paid dividends in maintaining positive approaches to learning and sustained academic progress.

Schools are more than just the day-to-day lessons taught, and as a result, Virtual School must be more than just learning at a distance. I am very proud of and thankful for the continued efforts of all NAIS MANILA secondary teachers, students and of course parents. Together, an incredible Virtual School Experience has been created and our students will continue to benefit now and into the future.

 - Sam



To learn more about our Virtual School Experience, click on the link below.

Male student using laptop

Our Virtual School Experience

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