Full home-based learning for expat kids at much lower costs

An international school is offering parents the option of a full home-based learning programme, at a price that is less than a third of its current fees.

Invictus International School, which opened here in 2016, is starting a virtual extension of its classes from next month.

The programme, known as Invictus Family, will cost US$4,000 (S$5,560) per year, a fraction of the $17,000 to $18,800 that students pay for lessons on campus.

The school is headed by Dr Nicholas Duggan, who is also principal of Invictus' third campus in Singapore in Farrer Park.

The virtual programme will cater to pupils aged six to 11, and it hopes to offer secondary school education that will be based on the Cambridge IGCSE curriculum, followed by the A levels.

Mr Alex Cheng, Invictus' marketing director, said the Covid-19 pandemic had sped up plans for this model of learning.

"We had thought about this virutal learning campus for a while, as there seems to be a demand for rigour in terms of learning for home-schooling parents," he said.

"They want to home-school their children but may not have a syllabus or timetable that's pegged to mainstream schools."

Not many international schools offer virtual learning on a permanent basis at this price range, said Mr Cheng. But it is seeing more fully online programmes like those by the Harrow School in Britain and Kent College (Hong Kong).

For a start, Invictus Family is targeting parents in Asian countries, who might not have access to international schooling where they live.

It started a trial in May with more than 20 pupils, whose ages ranged from six to 10 and who came from countries including China, Indonesia and Cambodia.

Classes will run online daily for five days. Students will follow a timetable that includes academic subjects and physical education.

Mr Cheng said there has been some interest from expatriate families in Singapore.

"Price-tag wise, there's a huge gap, so that's a very big incentive for parents to see what's the difference between virtual school and physical school. We don't see both schools fighting for the same pool of students," he said.

Amelia Teng

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2020, with the headline Full home-based learning for expat kids at much lower costs. Subscribe