News / Press

Sky News Feature: Meet Philippa & Florrie: Mother & Daugther in Cornwall Who Switched To MVA

Sep 5, 2023
2 mins

The narrative surrounding mainstream education is often one of conformity and uniformity, neglecting the individual needs of students. But what happens when this system fails to deliver? Philippa, a former deputy headteacher, and her daughter Florrie found their answer at Minerva's Virtual Academy (MVA). Their compelling story was recently featured on Sky News.

When Mainstream Education Takes a Toll

Florrie's experience with traditional schooling was heart-wrenching. She often described it as carrying a "massive weight" on her shoulders. Her time at her previous school was so emotionally damaging that she spent mornings crying in her room, pleading not to be taken back to what she called a "literal hellhole."

Philippa, who had spent years in the education sector, knew that something had to change when she found Florrie hiding in her bedroom cupboard. The level of unhappiness was unbearable and began to encroach on every aspect of their lives. It led to Florrie joining the 1.7 million children in England with persistent absences, severely affecting her educational journey.

Making a Courageous Decision

Taking what they describe as a "leap of faith," Philippa decided to withdraw Florrie from mainstream schooling altogether. It was a tough decision, one that changed their lives but in the most positive way imaginable.

A New Beginning at MVA

Florrie soon enrolled in Minerva's Virtual Academy and began attending classes online, from the comfort of her home office. The transformation was almost immediate. Within a year, Florrie had perfect attendance and was on track to achieve nine GCSEs the following year.

More importantly, she rediscovered her love for learning. "The heavy weight has disappeared," Florrie says, now enthusiastic about her education and future. Her mental well-being has improved dramatically, thanks in part to MVA's emphasis on student welfare and individualized learning plans.

MVA’s Mission and the Future of Education

At Minerva's Virtual Academy, we strive to redefine education for the 21st century, placing a strong emphasis on student mental health and personalized learning experiences. With over 20 subjects to choose from and a team of personal mentors to support each student, MVA represents a new horizon in educational possibilities.

The rise in popularity of online education, coupled with the UK government’s move to accredit online education providers, heralds a major shift in how we perceive education. As MVA founder Hugh Viney says, "We don't care about results, we care about happiness."

Online education offers more than just academic success; it provides an alternative path for those who find mainstream education suffocating. It can cater to individual learning styles and mental health needs, empowering students to succeed on their own terms.


The poignant story of Philippa and Florrie underlines the importance of finding the right educational environment for every child. Their journey from desperation to happiness illuminates the value of what we offer at Minerva’s Virtual Academy: an affordable, world-class education designed to let each student thrive, both academically and emotionally.

As we work to expand and redefine the very fabric of what education can be, stories like these serve as both inspiration and confirmation that we are on the right path. It’s not just about challenging the status quo; it's about offering a meaningful, life-changing alternative.

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