Can someone talk to me about InterHigh please?

(15 Posts)
gibbety Sun 29-Dec-13 09:55:10

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Iamaworrywart Fri 27-Dec-13 00:10:49

Thanks Bochead

I did contact Briteschool but there was a delay in them getting back to me and then they broke up for a Christmas so I haven't had a chance to speak yo them in person. I have heard positive things about their primary provision, but haven't been able to get any feedback on secondary as yet.

bochead Thu 26-Dec-13 22:07:42

Briteschool are doing really well with my dyslexic, asd 9 year old. I can't comment on the secondary provision but the standard of primary teaching is superb and the fact the lessons are recorded means my boy can go back and check stuff like specialist spellings as and when it suits him which has proved incredibly handy. Classes also ability rather than age related which means he can work ahead in science and behind in literacy - a godsend for his self esteem.

Might be worth you adding them to your list to check out, as when I did my research the ethos of the provders varied just as much as brick schools? Due to my son's SN's I opted for the online provider with whom I felt the most telephone rapport.

Iamaworrywart Thu 19-Dec-13 19:12:13

Our dyslexic son has just finished his last day at a bricks and mortar school (we are so relieved) and we have been trying to decide between I/H and First College UK which is a lot smaller. One of the reasons I thought First College might suit him better, was because you advanced through the school based on ability and not age, I hadn't realised that I/H also do this. I am more confused than ever although the last time I spoke to I/H a couple of weeks ago, they only had 1 space left in Year 9 so may now be full. Does anyone know what their waiting lists are like? Any information for or against either school, gratefully received.

JustGettingOnWithIt Wed 18-Dec-13 13:36:41

Suzyplum, re Ofstead inspections for internet education schools and school level education providers;

Internet schools are an alternative education system so mainstream inspection systems just don't work. If parents want state rules, state inspected, and state controlled education, there’s plenty of providers offering it.

There's many practical reasons why they can’t apply the jump through specific hoops to be seen as Ofstead's concept of good, but simply the very nature of what internet school providers offer that parents want and go to them for, automatically would have them fail a system that doesn’t believe parents should want those things or be allowed to decide about them!

Ie: flexi schooling generally, some internet schools allow picking and choosing, ie a child will pay for English, but not maths as the parent teaches that, no RE, no sports, and while 'correct attitudes' are reflected, the assumption that things like healthy eating, sex education, should be taught as biology, the rest ie thinks like bulimia, self respect, healthy relationships, being down to parents to teach.

Performing arts, and professional sports students taking out as much time as they want to prioritise their careers, constant medical appointments and no requirement for parents to prove them to the school, doing lessons from hospital listening in but not well enough to work, (or at home sick 'in the back of the classroom' allowed to leave at lesure.)

Going of on an outback trip, or ocean voyage and discovering satellite internet doesn’t work is a parental problem, not the schools, as well as parent backed absence for all sorts of reasons and choices. Internet schools don't police parents. (or LSA's smile)

Leaving and automatically having a place back on request with no judgement or forced catching up. Allowing children whose parents feel it may be better they enjoy learning than are pushed to produce results, that if they request it. Students in different countries and time zones who may with their parents, live very different hours and lives, regardless of if the UK approves of it.

Children being in classes by ability rather than age, 14 yr olds not judged ‘failing’ if they enter with the ability of 10 yr olds and stay a couple of yr’s the other end to achieve rather than forced to try and race to catch up faster when not appropriate for them. Students allowed to take exams regardless of exam passing ability or likelihood of dragging scores down, etc, students allowed to take exam syllabuses with no intention of taking the exams etc.

All these freedoms would see all internet schools classed as inadequate / failing schools instantly by Ofstead.

Btw you may not know that I/H has a spring meet up where you can meet some of the older students, their parents, and returning leavers to get first hand info if you feel uneasy about the future. Ask them about it. smile

JustGettingOnWithIt Wed 18-Dec-13 12:41:17

I’ve LSA’d for I/H students with SN ( working for the students not I/H) one dgc currently there, and over the last few years have met lots of happy I/H’s in real life, including later years, plus one initially happy, but turned unhappy parent. (who withdrew their children suddenly and wouldn’t allow them continued contact with friends.)
Also met some parents with poor internet access/speed unhappy I/H not providing for that situation. You do need reasonable internet to do it.

You can tell very quickly if it's a system that fits with a child (and parents) or not.

From what I’ve seen colleges etc are initially just interested in the grades then realise they have a student who did something a bit different and get very interested.

What LEA's think depends on the LEA, but many fund places for ill and SN children there.

IGCSE’s wherever/however taken, are generally seen by many as more rigorous than GCSE’s, particularly in maths as they contain more from the old O level system, that has been dropped from GCSE’s and put into AS level.

With or without Ofstead inspection, the syllabus is definitely more than up to scratch for IGCSE’s, as with every school there are stronger and not as strong teachers, but a good relationship with parents that allows problems to be genuinely addressed.

Students who deliberately disrupt or get OTT can be put a stop to very quickly and without the normal build up and damage and unhappiness to classmates, teacher or the child doing it. Bullying is not tolerated, interestingly by the students as much as the adults.

Children may move around (timetabling permitting) if necessary, and are in classes based on ability rather than age, but may choose not to tell other students that they are younger or older, or severely disabled etc, though from what I’ve seen is most develop a good rapport and start to stop being defensive about differences.

It does provide internet social activities as well as academic, but it’s important for children to have a non on line social life too.

The big difference between all internet schools and brick mortar schools is it is the parent and student who are responsible for ensuring the student studies, not the school.

While there’s a system for ensuring parents can see if homework isn’t done or is scoring low, teachers don’t chase around or punish pupils for failing to read around the subject, (at IGCSE) it is left to the pupil and parent to ensure that is done or not.

Students know what they should be doing and listening in you can hear which students aren’t going to do so well because they’re the ones who’ve come to a class knowing the lesson is analysing a book that they were supposed to have read beforehand, for exams and they haven’t read it.

So horses for courses, involved parents, and averagely bright self-motivated children will do absolutely fine and can expect good exam grades for their efforts, others may find themselves drifting and not doing enough work to get more than C/D from minimum work and basics brains, because the provider doesn’t make them.

Hth

suzyplum Tue 17-Dec-13 10:50:44

Meant to say that an LEA home-schooling person came to our house to check what provision we're making for our son and was satisfied as he does quite a few extras outside of Interhigh as I mentioned in my last post.

suzyplum Tue 17-Dec-13 10:47:52

My 13 year old son started at Interhigh last September, having lobbied to be home-schooled (not because he was unhappy at his other school, he just said "it makes more sense" - he's of the youtube generation). He's extremely happy with it and isn't tired any more as he logs onto lessons at 9.30 and finishes around 12.
Anyway, I've always thought the social side of school is exaggerated as for many children it's an ordeal and not like real life. However, we made it a condition that our son had to go to stuff outside home, such as a drama group, badminton and guitar lessons, walking the dogs,etc, meeting his physical and socialising needs.
I like the fact that you can see everything he does on a parent account, including teachers' comments and homework grades. I know more about what's going on than I did before. He finds most lessons interesting and likes the teachers
The huge benefit for our son has been the freeing up of time to do other things. He's become passionate about books and has his own book review channel on youtube and he's just decided to write a novel. This is a boy who six months ago said "I don't do books"!
It feels a bit like a leap of faith for him to do his GCSEs at Interhigh as Ofsted doesn't inspect internet schools (why not?) though positive comments on Mumsnet are reassuring. And he's so happy and self-motivated that we're going to give it a go next year and see what happens in Year 10.

Interhigh contacted a number of private schools in our area that did edExcel exams and asked if they could take DS as an external candidate, then we said which were more convenient for us. But depending where you live you might not get choices - we are in range of Edinburgh which has a fair number of private schools. But Interhigh did all the chasing around, so we didn't have to find one for ourselves. (Up here it had to be private schools, as state ones don't usually have any connection to edExcel, we have SQA standard grades instead)

Be aware they can charge you an admin fee on top of the exam entry fee though - we paid £33 per exam, but were warned it could be as much as £50 each on top (though we didn't end up having to pay anything extra for admin, but it was up to the school)

Because they don't do supervised practicals for science, there is an extra exam paper for that.

DS went back into ordinary school, so he also got Highers and Advanced Highers (Scottish equivalent of AS and A2) which was what universities want, so we didn't have to go into what colleges thought of it. But IGCSEs are perfectly 'normal' qualifications to have, so there's no reason anyone would have a problem - if they have GCSEs as entry requirements, then IGCSEs will be totally fine.

mumof4darlings Sun 22-Sep-13 22:04:13

Hi, interhigh will enter your child for their igcses at your nearest school if they accept external candidates or a private centre, or you can arrange entry yourselves.

measuringcup Sat 21-Sep-13 18:06:34

Thanks both of you.

How do they take their gcses? Do interhigh have a centre or do you have to find one?

amuminscotland what have colleges or such reaction been to it?

mumof4darlings Fri 20-Sep-13 22:01:55

My daughter went for year sevent then one year at school then returned for year nine.she is now in year eleven working on her igcses, happy to chat by pm if you want more info.we are really pleased with interhigh.

DS used it for Y10 and 11, but had been in a bricks & mortar school until then without any problems, so may or may not have been a typical HE teen. He got a good set of IGCSEs with them, around the same as I would have expected for him from his progress up till then, so I reckon they were fine academically.

What you miss out on is the social side, though they do what they can, plus non-academic subjects. I think DS missed the social stuff more than we realised at the time, as he had been with a very close-knit group until then, so I'd say make sure your child has something to provide that as well.

But as a provider of the academic side, I'd certainly recommend them, and they seemed good at dealing with one occasional disruptive element in DSs class, taking him 'out' of classes when he wasn't in the mood...

LittlePinkMitten Thu 19-Sep-13 13:51:20

I have a very limited experience in that I work for my LEA (home ed my daughter's)
I visited a family who had just begun to use it with an older child. Both child& parents were pleased so far.
Sorry no more to add

measuringcup Thu 19-Sep-13 12:01:03

I am interested in Interhigh for secondary school, has anyone used it from year 7, has anyone got as far as gcse stage, what have the lea and your children thought about the process?

I asked Interhigh who told me to ask Mumsnet grin

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