Student Voice surveys illustrate the true impact of Academy21

More than 700 students have responded to our latest student voice surveys sharing valuable perspectives of their provision.

3 students, happy, waiting for class
While we partner directly with schools and local authorities, students themselves are always at the heart of what we do. As such, their insights and experiences have always been incredibly valuable to our development here at Academy21.

Our most recent student surveys have had over 700 student responses — a figure that, in itself, is a great testament to our students’ desires to influence their academic journeys.

What do our students think about learning with us? Where are they benefitting the most? See our key findings from the 2023 Student Voice Survey here.

Students enjoy their lessons and teachers

For many young people, enjoyment is intrinsically linked with motivation and engagement. An excitement for learning fuels academic success; the more students enjoy classes, the more likely they are to focus, connect with the material, and remain eager to learn.

So, for pupils who have become disconnected from mainstream education, it’s crucial to us that we create a fulfilling and accessible learning experience. When asked, “What do you enjoy most now that you are learning at Academy21,” the most common response was the delivery of the “lessons.” themselves. In particular, students highlighted the core subjects like English and maths — areas that many pupils previously found challenging. Following this, another common response was the “teachers.”, specifically their approach to delivery and support. Fully live online alternative provision, is central to this. By being live, teachers build rapport and relationships based on trust and engagement – and students notice.

Further questions on our survey revealed which aspects of our teacher-led lessons and state-of-the-art virtual classrooms are most enjoyable. Hundreds of responses showed that our pupils relish the chat pods, Q&A pods, and drawing tools we use, all of which are designed to boost participation and keep learners engaged. As for lesson activities, favourites included our quizzes and polls (designed to test pupils’ knowledge and encourage active recall) along with individual work in breakout rooms.

Other responses included “I am able to learn properly but without anxiety,” and “If you don’t understand…the teachers and really kind and patient”.

Students feel more confident in their learning

For many students, their challenges can stem from a lack of confidence. This can be especially true for young people with additional learning needs, who sometimes struggle with feelings of self-doubt in their learning when they compare themselves to their peers. Then, there are the enthusiastic learners who have simply lost confidence after time away from the classroom — students with long-term health conditions, for example.

As such, it was heartening to see that 9 in 10 students reported an increase in their academic confidence since joining Academy21. Armed with a personalised style of education that guides them to make great progress, so many pupils learning with us feel a renewed belief in their potential.

91% of students “feel more confident in their learning now they are learning with Academy21.”

Students benefit from teacher feedback

Teachers aren’t just here to teach; they’re also here to inspire students to learn. It’s important to us that the students we work with develop a sense of curiosity and a desire to drive their learning further, as these skills are crucial for success in the wider world.

A significant part of that involves being able to identify and celebrate their strengths as well as see the areas where they can work hard to improve. At Academy21, alongside engaging directly with their teachers, students get constructive individual feedback on their homework and assessments to help them build that ability.

We asked pupils about the usefulness of these personalised teacher comments, and once again, an overwhelming 9 in 10 students reported finding teacher feedback helpful in recognising their successes and areas for improvement. This is wonderful to see, and a true testament to the unwavering dedication of our educators here.

90% of students “find teacher comments useful at helping them to see their successes or know how to improve.”

Students have no trouble navigating online learning

Some schools and authorities may worry that there’s a tech barrier to online alternative provision, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Academy21’s platforms are designed to be intuitive, both for tech-native young people and the partners we work with.

That’s something students agree with too. In our survey, 98% of pupils said they find it easy to access their lessons from the Academy21 student portal. For the remaining few who need a little more assistance, our tech team is always on hand to provide support and help learners make the most of our online platform.

Making our platform easy to use helps make online learning second nature, ensuring pupils can focus wholly on their academic and personal growth.

98% of students “find it easy to access lessons from the student portal.”


Our findings in a nutshell

The results of our student voice surveys, combined with much qualitative feedback, are informative not only for our staff, but also for the schools and organisations that we work with. We think teachers and mentors will be pleased to hear of the impact Academy21 is having on their students, and will feel reassured in their decision to place students with us.

Here at Academy21, we’ve been delighted to see our Student Voice Surveys spotlight the sentiment of the pupils we work to support. Watching pupils rediscover their enjoyment for learning, build their confidence, and learn vital skills for the future is key for our team, and these validating testimonials will be welcomed by the schools and local authorities who have chosen to work with us.

It’s been great to witness so much positivity from our pupils, and these results complement our recent Mentor Voice Survey too, where 100% of mentors reported that Academy21 fulfils the purpose they use us for.

Most importantly, the feedback we’ve received from students will light the way forward and form an important part of our continuous improvement at Academy21. With lots more expansion and development planned for the upcoming year, we can’t wait to see the next round of responses from our students and stakeholders.