When it comes to describing our school, our students really know what to say. As well as the comments above, a few students, who are highly capable vloggers, have said it on YouTube. We hope you enjoy what they have to say.
‘At the end of year 9, after 3 years of battling and getting nowhere with mainstream school, we decided to home educate our son. In a panic about how to educate him we got some (fairly old) books out of the library and in the back of one of them was a small paragraph explaining a new option which was an online school called InterHigh. A quick search on the internet and we found the school website, favourable feedback on mumsnet and some articles from the newspapers. It was exactly what we were looking for: a structured approach leading to GCSE qualifications, taught by real teachers, with feedback and interaction, but without all the issues of being in a classroom with 30 hormonal teenagers who were not interested in achieving anything.
Our son started Year 10 in September 2013 and we were amazed at how quickly he settled in. He was no longer anxious and unhappy. His enthusiasm for learning returned. The quality of his work improved. He was enjoying school for the first time in years. As parents we were no longer stressed by battling an unhelpful school so the change to InterHigh was positive for all the family, not just our son.
InterHigh suits our son because the lessons are really focussed, without the teacher having to spend time dealing with inappropriate behaviour. Homework is set online so there is never any confusion. Lessons slides are always available so you can go over anything you didn’t quite get first time round. Teachers and staff are really helpful and respond to email and phone calls so if any issues arise they get sorted really quickly (This was really difficult to get used to after years battling mainstream). Worked gets marked really quickly and useful feedback is provided (again this was difficult to get used to after mainstream).
When we attended our first InterHigh weekend our son met up with his school friends and had a fantastic time, which proved to us that the problems he had with mainstream were due to the setting not due to his autism. We are just back from our second InterHigh weekend which was equally successful and our sons first comment after the weekend was to ask to go again next year.
We are now nearly at the end of year 11, with exams looming, and we know that the best decision we have ever made in relation to our sons education was moving to InterHigh.’
‘School. What about it? There is nothing to say about it. I have had a hard past and a really bad experience with school. In every single and I mean every school I was bullied by both students and teachers. It was when I was in middle school when my mama had enough and decided to teach me herself, so she balanced her job as a managing director for two hotels to have enough time to give me an education.
For one and a half years she did this. I had finished three years worth of school in one and a half years. My mama then told me that she does not have the ability to give me the level of education I needed. And I have to say I can’t blame her. She was working a full time job, raising 14 kids with her best friend, and still, even though her first language is German, for my sake she was teaching me, an English based curriculum because English is my first language. What to do? My mama knew she couldn’t put me in a school because we tried all of them and we couldn’t relocate because of our family and her job. So for six months of my life as a 10 year old kid both her and my family taught me what they could, how to run a hotel, how to help people who are HIV positive, how to help single mothers or pregnant women, etc.
Then our friend recommended a school that was new, taking a chance I started going to school again. Only to have the same experience. Before two years had passed, just before October an incident happened with a teacher and once again I left school because of bullying. By some chance a friend of ours had a client who mentioned Interhigh. By December I was in school, but this time it was different. We had never tried a school on the internet and everything was different. The first few months it was really difficult for me to adjust, a different system and an unknown territory.
Then it happened. Marilyn was my geography teacher, and we were learning about Kenya. We live in Uganda so Kenya is our neighbouring country. We came to the topic of the nomadic tribe known as the Masai. It just happened to be that I learnt about their culture and knew a few personally. Since I knew a lot about them, my teacher said I should take the lesson and teach the class about them. For the rest of class I did just that. After saying goodbye to the class I logged out and just sat there, and cried. I continued crying as I left my room and all the way to my mama’s office. While I tried to explain what happened to my mama between sobs, my mama was panicking thinking that we will have to find a new school because it was happening all over again. As my tears stopped flowing, in front her staff that were there for a meeting, I explained what happened. As soon as I finished my mama started crying because finally we had found the perfect school where I fit in. For the first time in school I felt that people appreciated what I did as a student seeking knowledge.
Till this day being in Interhigh all of my teachers and fellow students I have had for the past two years have not only encouraged me but also pushed me forward. Even not knowing it, they have helped me and my family in the most unexpected ways. In March we went to the Interhigh weekend for the first time, and honestly going there and coming face to face with the people who helped me in the past years, it was amazing, emotional and both my family and I want to say thank you Interhigh for just being there.’
‘I don’t miss anything about a traditional school because there’s not really much to miss. The schools round my area are not really that nice. A lot of bullying goes on and it’s just not a nice environment for someone who wants to study.
When I joined InterHigh, it felt strange that you couldn’t see the teacher or any other classmates but it was also really exciting. I find it quite normal now. It’s just like using instant messaging to keep in touch with your friends but you’re learning at the same time.
The teachers use simple language but if someone doesn’t understand something, they will be happy to explain it to them. We don’t laugh at anyone or take the mickey out of someone for not knowing something. Everyone is kind to each other and it’s quite easy to make friends.’
‘I joined Interhigh when I was 11, I am now 15. I found going to Comprehensive school too difficult, too large and too many people. My mum found Interhigh and I had a trial few days at the school. It was brilliant. I was at home but I logged into a class with other pupils and the teacher, when I joined there were only a few people at the school. I felt safe and comfortable learning at home.
The teachers are just great, unlike mainstream school they have plenty of time to give you individual help with your classwork and homework. They are kind and understanding and never make you feel stupid. In Comprehensive you sometimes don’t want to ask a question or even answer a question in case you get it wrong and feel stupid in front of your mates. In Interhigh if you are shy or concerned you can private text the teacher with a question or answer.
You soon realise that the fellow students in your class don’t think you’re daft if you ask a silly question or if you get an answer wrong, after all they can’t even see you!’