Frequently asked questions about Pearson Online Schools Services

Frequently asked questions about Pearson Online Schools Services

Have you heard about Pearson Online School Services? We’ve been delivering high quality online learning for more than 20 years and operate more than 40 virtual schools globally. Now, with this new service for international schools, you can take these successful elements and integrate them...


Have you heard about Pearson Online School Services? We’ve been delivering high quality online learning for more than 20 years and operate more than 40 virtual schools globally. Now, with this new service for international schools, you can take these successful elements and integrate them into your own school, wherever you are in the world.

We recently hosted a launch webinar to explain more about how you can use this service to reinvent and evolve your offering – whether you’re a new or an established school, teaching in physical premises or virtually.

Don’t worry if you missed it, you can watch the webinar recording on demand here and read some of the frequently asked questions below.

What is Pearson Online School Services?

It’s a powerful online learning platform loaded with engaging curriculum content, with certified teachers and professional development that allows you to select what you need from our British and US curriculum online schools and integrate it into your own international school strategy and offering. It’s a great way to:

  • Extend your school reach – an online offering can help you attract students from outside your locality or fulfil the demands of your waiting list.
  • Enrich your offering – with Pearson providing online teaching services so you can expand subjects without adding headcount to core staff.
  • Expand your portfolio – you can be confident about promoting popular courses and subjects knowing you can secure quality teachers through the service.
  • Ensure against risks – the global pandemic forced schools to change the way they operate and took core staff members out of commission for weeks at a time. Online learning can provide backup in any future lockdowns.

What’s the difference between Pearson Online School Services and Pearson Online Academy?

Pearson Online Academy is our complete online private school, offering a holistic online school experience direct to learners. Pearson Online School Services is for international schools to integrate into their own school offer. Schools taking Pearson Online School Services are responsible for their own school ethos and strategy, including admissions, broader curriculum and extra-curricular activities.

What academic content is offered?

At the core of our service is high quality UK (International GCSE and International AS/A level) and US curriculum programmes, loaded with engaging content and powered by the platform to prepare students for progress.

Students engage with concepts in an interactive way, using video and text explanations alongside graphics, simulations and frequent checks of understanding. The self-study components of our courses are supported by LiveLesson sessions with their teachers, where students have the chance to discuss and practise what they have learnt.

Can we use the service to create extra learning programmes to support our in-school learning?

Yes! Pearson Online School Services provides endless possibilities and can be used to suit a variety of school needs, including creating new programmes within a school, or enriching existing courses. For example if you have too few Maths teachers, you could add an online option to take up some of the student load as a distinct stream. Or you could blend your Maths course for all students, using a flipped classroom approach assigning lessons from our Pearson online learning platform for self-study, and then using face-to-face time to conduct richer lessons that focus on application, group work, stretch and consolidation. This approach could be used to enable teachers to work with more students, or to free up their time from marking and routine instruction, which can then be used to do more high value activities, such as small group and 1-2-1 sessions with students.

Can this be used as a blended approach to teaching and learning in our school?

Yes! Schools can use our services to provide blended learning within bricks and mortar schools. It could be used to enable a flipped classroom methodology, that enables teachers to focus their time on their point of highest value (high quality interactions with learners, clarifying, intervening, applying, evaluating etc.) rather than simply instructing. Or it could be used to extend capacity – not all learners need to be in the school at the same time.

Can we supplement the efforts of our existing teachers with live sessions from your teachers?

Absolutely! You can choose to use teachers, or not use them, on a mix and match basis, so if you wanted to add one or two subjects to an existing offering, you can.

Is it available for the Primary/Kindergarten stages?

Our UK offer is currently only for ages 14 to 18, however our US offer does go down to Kindergarten. The model for online schooling does of course evolve and change over the years, and at this age the parent, or another adult in the house such as a grandparent, would be needed to play a key role as the child’s coach. We also have more offline activities at this age, such as reading. As children get older, they can be more autonomous, and the parent is not needed to maintain such a hands-on role. For our UK offer we do not assume any integral parental role. Students at Pearson Online Academy are instead assigned a ‘Success Coach’ to coach the child and look out for their wellbeing and this would need to be considered by schools purchasing our services.

Is there an International Baccalaureate option?

Not currently, although we are looking at this for the future, but it would likely be 2023 before we could offer it.

How are Pearson teachers recruited and trained?

All Pearson teachers will complete Master Trainer III, our flagship professional development course for teaching online. This is also available for schools to purchase to train their own teachers with up to 15 teachers per course. We also offer an online ‘Teaching for Impact course’ that distils our 20 years of experience in online teaching into 12 self-study modules and provides a more affordable alternative to Master Trainer III, or the perfect preparatory course for it.

Can Pearson Online School Services be used as a learning management system (LMS)?

Our Pearson learning management platform is used to deliver all content and access to the platform is included in all purchases, but it’s not available to purchase without content. The platform can be embedded within an existing school learning management system.

Can it be used as a solution to teacher recruitment?

Yes! We’ve seen interest already from international schools who have struggled to recruit high quality teachers to deliver a British Curriculum.

Is the pricing based on school size?

It is sold per student, per subject, on an annual basis. For more detail on prices, contact your local Pearson representative or complete our online enquiry form.

Can parents buy Pearson Online School Services directly?

No, parents cannot directly buy it but they would buy courses from a school that is a customer of Pearson Online School Services. Alternatively, they could enrol students in Pearson Online Academy.

Will your teachers let us know if students struggle with language?

Yes. when you choose Pearson Online School Services with teachers, we will feedback academic or other concerns to your school. The minimum English language entry requirement is an iELTS 5 .5 or equivalent. However, if, even at this level, some students require extra support, to enable them to perform at their best, we recommend you provide additional English classes via your school if appropriate.

What level of communication can we expect between the Pearson teacher and our own in-school teachers?

Your in-school team will be granted observer access to the Pearson Online School Services platform in order to monitor students’ progress and extract reports. Our teachers will also host parents evenings which a representative from your school can attend. Any serious concerns about a student’s academic attainment, safeguarding issues or concerns for an individual student’s wellbeing will always be raised with your school for discussion.

Has Pearson Online School Services been trialled in international schools?

The fundamentals of what we are doing are based on 20 years of experience in the US and more recently, Harrow School Online, so it is proven from both a technical point of view, and in terms of achieving learning outcomes.

How do we get accreditation for an online school from Pearson, if we are not a brick and mortar school?

We offer an Online School Approval process for non-physical schools designed for schools who don’t have a physical presence, or plan to recruit learners more widely, and need them to sit at exam centres around the world. The online approval requires you to commit to securing a physical examination centre at which your registered students can sit their exams, and provides you with an approved centre number and the ability to enter candidates under the name of your school, wherever they may sit the exam. Online approval will also allow you to include the ‘Pearson Edexcel Approved Online Centre’ logo on your website.

Do we become a Pearson Edexcel exam centre when we take on Pearson Online School Services?

Our qualifications lead to Pearson Edexcel exams, and those must be sat at an approved centre. If you plan to use Pearson Online School Services only with only students at your physical school or local area, your centre can become approved, and all exams can be sat there. If you are looking further to recruit students from further afield, and those students will need access to other, closer exam facilities to their locations, you should apply for Online School Approval. This process, as described above, will provide you with a centre number and the ability to enter candidates for our exams, and then transfer them to other approved physical centres. To do this you would need to make arrangements with those centres to take your candidates, and in most cases, they will charge a supplement to the Pearson entry fee.

How effective is online schooling?

Evidence from our 20 years of doing this in the US shows 100% college acceptance, consistently higher achievement than US national averages, and extremely high parent satisfaction (95%). Early feedback from our UK curriculum online schools suggests high student satisfaction, and our UK A level Spanish course, having its first students accepted at Oxbridge – one of whom is now studying Spanish at Oxford.

How are other international schools considering using online services at their school?

There are lots of different ways to use Pearson Online School Services. This is what the schools who joined our launch webinar told us:

  • 40% of them are considering using online services to introduce a new blended learning model in their school
  • 20% are planning to creating a full-time online school
  • 20% want to use online services to offer a dual pathway (online and physical) for learning in their school
  • 10% are considering online services as a contingency plan
  • 5% are considering using online services to increase their school capacity beyond their current school places
  • and a further 5% are considering offering some new subjects online at their school.

Further reading

Read more about Pearson Online School Services on our website

Read the Pearson Online School Services Guide for Centres

Watch the Pearson Online School Services launch webinar recording

Read our article How do you achieve a well-rounded education in an online environment?

Read our article The effectiveness of an online school in an online environment

Read our article Leveraging online learning – the whys and hows for your school


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