Rapid business growth for Sydney-based Euka Future Learning over the past two years has highlighted homeschooling as another potential legacy of the pandemic alongside the work-from-home trend.
Euka, a company founded by schoolteacher Ellen Brown in 2016, currently supports 13,000 students nationally with the take up of its services driving a 170 per cent increase in revenue since 2021.
According to CEO Brett Campbell, who has just taken the helm of the company after three years as chairman, the business has been growing year on year since the pandemic, opening the door for Euka to embark on emerging global opportunities.
“We like to think of ourselves as the largest school in the country, although technically we are not a school,” Campbell tells Business News Australia.
However, the company does lay claim to being Australia’s largest full-time education provider for K-12 students.
"COVID 19 has transformed the educational landscape in Australia, exposing many families to homeschooling and its numerous benefits and flexibility,” Campbell says. “This shift presents a plethora of opportunities for the sector and Euka is at the forefront of this movement."
Campbell, who is based on the Gold Coast, is an entrepreneur in his own right with a number of ventures under his belt, the latest being digital growth agency Claxon, which he sold prior to joining Euka as chairman and shareholder.
Since then, Campbell has helped drive a rebranding of Euka and overseen the rapid growth of its employee base from five to around 50. He has just taken over as Euka’s CEO from Jarryd Van Poppel, who is now the company’s chief operating officer.
Euka, under Campbell’s leadership, is currently ramping up plans to target international students who may be planning to pursue their higher education in Australian tertiary institutions.
“The most exciting development for us recently is the creation of university pathways for our students,” Campbell says.
“We have relationships with several universities in Australia and we are about to exponentially grow with partnerships internationally where our students in the year 11 and 12 programs have a guaranteed spot. That opens up opportunities for our international students (looking to study in Australia).”
Euka currently has schools in Vietnam, Fiji and Bali that use its curriculum and programs.
“We now have a great foundation to grow from and we are able to grow substantially,” Campbell says.
Euka’s business growth comes on the heels of studies that reveal homeschooled students achieve academic results that are as good, or better, than the broader student population.
While research in this field is limited, a 2014 review by the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards found the average NAPLAN scores for homeschooled students were about 70 marks higher than the state average, with the differences largest in reading, numeracy, and grammar and punctuation.
Pushing back on bullying
“We have a number of different families using our programs – those who travel, kids who may be training for the Olympics, or children who don’t fit at school because of bullying or who have learning disabilities,” Campbell says.
“What we are also seeing at the moment is a massive shift in concern among parents about what is being taught at school.”
Campbell says Euka’s ultimate purpose is ‘to build the future for education’.
“There are so many ed-tech companies out there in the race to build the most pedagogical learning platform that can create geniuses,” he says.
“That’s part of it, but the ability to have something that is flexible to the child’s needs is equally important.”
Campbell notes that some Euka students may be 10 years old but need to learn at a seven-year-old level, or in one case a 14-year-old student who has gone to university.
“Homeschooling allows families to embark on unique experiences such as extended travel or pursue elite sporting or music careers without compromising on their children’s education.
“We even have a 16-year-old boy who works part-time for his father, earning a legitimate salary of $30,000 while enrolled in Euka."
The curricula offered by Euka are mapped to the Australian framework as well as each individual state.
“We are covering every element that is expected from the government which is important to a lot of families,” Campbell says.
“But we combine technology, creativity and innovation with individualised, real-world experiential learning.
“That is really important for us because at Euka you don’t go into a portal and just tick boxes. We have activities that are designed to get you outdoors and get creative, and that is where we get the best out of our students.
“When you look at our program, our average students can do 90 minutes to two hours of schoolwork a day and then spend the rest of the day working on fun activities that they really enjoy. That’s what we offer – a very flexible and adaptable learning environment.”
As for social engagement including lifelong friendships that schools often provide students, Euka says it is working on programs to address this.
“School is where some of our fondest memories are with friends. But when I look back, a lot of my best friends have been from other schools, ones that I met them through rugby, cricket or athletics,” Campbell says.
“There are so many different avenues where kids can socialise and we have a lot of different programs in this area, while we are building that further to create that element of socialisation.”
Euka is currently focused on continued growth through international expansion through its university pathways program and exposing its new way of learning to more Australian families. It’s a plan that Campbell says doesn’t require the company to raise capital to achieve.
“We are a very profitable business and haven’t needed any startup capital or funding so far,” he says. “That doesn’t mean we may not look at it in future but right now we don’t need any funding to grow.”
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