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Online summer school Invicta Academy oversubscribed with thousands of pupils signing up

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Thousands of pupils across Kent have signed up to a free online school which will be teaching core subjects throughout the summer holidays.

The lessons, which go live from today, will involve up to 20,000 pupils from key stage 1 to key stage 4 in classes of up to 100 at a time.

KMTV reports on the academy

Anna Firth, from Sevenoaks, co-founder of the community interest company (CIC) and national voluntary director of the Conservative Policy Forum, said the team had been "bowled over" by the reaction from parents and children.

She said: "We're completely oversubscribed and we're incredibly excited to open our virtual doors, welcome our children and see the teaching begin.

"We want to make sure this is a meaningful experience, that's what distinguishes the Invicta summer academy from the Oak National Academy - another brilliant project, but that's broadcast lessons.

"Ours are live lessons from teachers that are going to be interacting with the children and answering their questions."

The academy's motto "veni, didici, vici" means "I came, I learned, I conquered," a wordplay based on the well-known Julius Ceasar quote: "I came, I saw, I conquered."

Anna Firth and Stephen James are behind the project
Anna Firth and Stephen James are behind the project

Mrs Firth and Stephen James, teacher at Sandgate Primary School, Folkestone, and co-founder of the online academy, secured funding through a gofundme campaign to set up the lessons throughout the summer.

Organisations which have supported the online academy include the Henry Oldfield Trust and the West Kent Freemasons.

More than 80 teachers signed up to teach lessons remotely, with around 18 core staff chosen to start leading classes from today.

Mrs Firth said: "We've been very vigorous in our vetting of teachers because we want to deliver something that's very high quality for children of Kent."

There are also a number of supply teachers available in case of sickness.

Alongside the core subject teaching, each Wednesday will consist of a showcase lesson where a special guest comes to talk about their career path with the children.

This Wednesday, Olympic gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold will be talking to the pupils about her path to becoming an athlete.

Mrs Firth said: "We think it's not just about educating children's minds, we also want to educate their hearts as well and we want to inspire them.

"Every Wednesday we're going to be inspiring the children - it's worth coming to these classes."

The academy's hope is the lessons will help children catch up in their core subjects after the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on education.

More than 20,000 pupils have signed up for the free lessons
More than 20,000 pupils have signed up for the free lessons

There are 200 lessons planned between today and August 28 but the co-founder said a commitment from other financial backers would mean that number could increase.

The idea has also taken off in other counties, with fundraising campaigns for Invicta academies kicking off in Surrey, London, Lancashire and Oxfordshire.

The amount of funding needed to run the Kent Invicta Academy this summer was £15,000.

Classes will run Monday to Friday.

To find out more about teaching classes at Invicta Academy this summer, click here.

News from our universities, local primary and secondary schools including Ofsted inspections and league tables can be found here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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