Questions from kids

Thrilled to log on to Twitter and read messages from Miss Tillotson’s year six class. The group from Victoria Road Primary School is currently working on a railways topic, and have been learning all about Virgin Trains, Virgin and my life story. Keen for more information, they have been tweeting me letters with lots of questions.

As a big believer in making learning more interactive and fun, I have answered some of their questions below.

Miss Tillotson Year 6 student trains excursion

Miss Tillotson Year 6 student trains excursion

Miss Tillotson Year 6 student trains excursion

Miss Tillotson Year 6 student trains excursion

Did you find school interesting? – Jamie

Most of my teachers took a one-size fits all approach to education. Because I struggled with the learning disability dyslexia, I couldn’t always keep up. More often that not, I became uninterested, and was left feeling that I was lazy and not very smart. It is really important to make learning fun, interactive and useful. It looks like your teacher, Miss Tillotson, is doing a great job. I enjoyed reading about your railway topic studies, exercises and excursions. I believe that most of life’s greatest lessons come from getting out there and experiencing things for yourself. 


I know that you struggled with dyslexia when you were young. I bet that was hard. Have you got rid of it now? – Anna

Growing up with dyslexia was hard. There wasn’t as much information about the disability and how to deal with it back then, as there is today. Dyslexia is not something which you can outgrow, so I still have it. But having lived with it for 65 years, I have learned how to turn it from a disadvantage into an advantage. My dyslexia allows me to look at things differently and see opportunities where others see challenges. 

Richard Branson and schoolkids

What inspired you to start Virgin companies? – Paige

We started Virgin in 1970 with Virgin Mail Order, because we wanted to provide music lovers with an easy and affordable way to buy music. No one else was doing it well, so we saw an opportunity and went with it. From there we have grown the Virgin brand by finding other areas where improvement was needed. From music to air travel and trains to hotels – we’ve always looked to provide something of use that makes a real difference to people’s lives. I believe that this is what all people should look do to when starting a business.

Richard Branson at the Manor recording music

I was wondering about going to one your jobs when I’m older. What would I need to do to be a good staff? And what would I need to do for the customers? – Anna

Our staff are caring, friendly, hard working and always willing to help. If you look at all the different Virgin companies, one thing you’ll notice is that we are service-focused. Our people make magic happen, and give us that Virgin touch, which is recognised across the globe. I hope when you grow up you apply for a job with us. We’re always looking for passionate and creative people, who want to make a difference for others. 


How did you get interested in the train company? – Jamie

We believed that we could improve the UK’s train services, so we applied to run some franchises. Just like when starting any new company, we saw an opportunity to provide a useful service that could make a difference in people’s lives. We introduced great new technology, while still focusing on service and our people as well as our customers. Now we run both the West Coast Main Line and the East Coast Main Line.

Richard Branson driving Virgin Trains

What came into your mind to make you do a space Virgin? – Paris

I remember watching the moon-landing back in 1969 and thinking ‘Gee, I’d like to go to space one day’. Then in 1988 I went on the BBC TV show Going Live! and answered a call from young boy who asked me: "Have you ever thought about going into space?" After that call, I set about registering the name Virgin Galactic. They say that the experience of looking back at Earth from space is absolutely amazing and life-changing. So why should that experience be restricted to just a few? With Virgin Galactic we hope to democratise access to space for the benefit of life on Earth.


How did you feel when you became a Sir? – Paris

Being knighted was a wonderful honour I accepted on behalf of all the people working hard for Virgin over many years. However, while I’m proud to have the Sir title, I prefer to just be called Richard.

Richard Branson receives Knighthood with Holly and Sam

Thanks for all your questions Miss Tillotson’s grade six class; and keep up the great work! Looking through the images that you shared on Twitter, it appears that together you are finding innovative ways to make learning fun. I wish my teachers took an approach like yours. 

Miss Tillotson Year 6 student trains excursion

Miss Tillotson Year 6 student trains excursion

I enjoy reading through my social media feeds. It’s a great way to get feedback about our goods and services, and a wonderful way to find inspiration for new ideas. Keep the comments and replies coming! 


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