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Invicta Pop-Up Summer Academy proves top of the class

Children across Kent have been taking the opportunity to catch up with their lessons through a pop-up summer school.

Staplehurst ward councillor Louise Brice, who is a primary school teacher in the Weald, has been one of the 81 volunteer tutors delivering the lessons.

Teacher Louise Brice: "it's been wonderful."
Teacher Louise Brice: "it's been wonderful."

She said: "It's been a marvellous experience.

"The feedback from the children has been tremendous. They've been really engaged."

The Invicta Summer Pop-Up Academy was founded by Anna Firth, a former school governor at Tonbridge Grammar School, and by Stephen James, a Folkestone primary school teacher.

The academy has been delivering free daily maths and English lessons via Zoom to children aged between six and 16 since July 27.

It was supported initially by funding from the Henry Oldfield Trust, based in Sittingbourne , and has continued with voluntary donations.

Academy founders Stephen James and Anna Firth
Academy founders Stephen James and Anna Firth

Mrs Firth said: “We were all concerned about the damaging effect of the necessary school closures upon the education of our children.

"I felt passionately that we had to come together and offer children the opportunity to get on the front foot for September and bounce back to education with confidence.

"Our brilliant teachers and amazing team of volunteers have been phenomenal.”

The project received such high praise, that it was quickly replicated by 10 other pop-up academies across the country.

Lessons are delivered via a laptop, phone or tablet.

Children have been studying online from home
Children have been studying online from home

The scheme won praise from the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, who said: “Activities which support the education and well-being of children will no doubt be beneficial ahead of their return to school in September.

"The pop-up online school, Invicta Summer Academy in Kent, is a great example of the community coming together to provide support for local children.”

Sevenoaks MP Laura Trott said: “There will be many challenges to close the education gap that has emerged during the pandemic.

"Lost teaching time cannot be rectified overnight, but initiatives such as the Invicta Summer Academy will undoubtedly make a huge difference for children and families.”

Mrs Brice said: "I think what has been helpful is that the lessons are delivered in a very step-by-step approach."

The academy's motto is Veni, Dedici, Vici, which is Latin for ‘I Came, I Learnt, I Conquered’
The academy's motto is Veni, Dedici, Vici, which is Latin for ‘I Came, I Learnt, I Conquered’

Mrs Brice said: "The children feed back through a Q and A facility, which I think has enabled some of them to ask questions when they would perhaps be too embarrassed to put their hand up in class."

Sadly the last academy lesson is this Friday.

But Mrs Firth said the response from parent and children had been so overwhelmingly positive that they were hoping to continue in some form.

She said: "Once this course is finished we shall re-group and re-think. There's a huge demand that we continue at least with a Saturday catch-up school."

For more information, visit here .

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