Alison Bond

Alison’s son Ethan goes to InterHigh. He struggled with mainstream school and Alison says his move to InterHigh has made him and the family a lot happier.

Did you know about online schooling and how did you find out about InterHigh?

I knew nothing about online school. It was my son Ethan who found out about it.

Can you tell us about Ethan’s education experiences before joining InterHigh?

We really struggled at mainstream secondary school, he didn’t enjoy it. It was a very dictatorial atmosphere. So, for him now to be able to manage his own time, do school from home and not have somebody on his back all the time has been incredible. It’s been really, really positive for us. The teachers are just so supportive, he has a pastoral manager that is very supportive with him. He’s going through all the usual teenage years where sleep is a priority and we have to sort of tackle that along with getting him to do his homework. Everyone is so supportive so it’s working really well with us!

One of the concerns or misconceptions about online schooling is that children miss out on social interaction and social development. Is this something you were concerned about? And what has your experience been?

Kids nowadays do nearly everything over the internet anyway. They meet all their friends through Instagram and Facebook and are always talking online, so it’s a completely natural thing for them. There are opportunities for pupils to meet up too - we went to summer school, and up to Shropshire to JCA where Ethan shared a dorm with ten other Year 9 students. He got to meet students from America and someone from Spain, so they all got together for activities. We also went to the School’s Summer Ball. So even though they don’t necessarily see each other face to face all the time, the banter that they have in the class chats is just hilarious. They really seem to get on and know each other even though they are not physically there – I think it’s very natural in today’s society for children.

Any advice to parents who may be thinking about InterHigh?

I think definitely give it a go! We did an introductory half term just to try it out, and it was obvious quite quickly that it was really so well run and set up. I work all day long on Webex’s and Skype calls and it’s just like that. They’ve got the teacher there in one corner of the screen, there’s a chat box where they’re all putting in their jokes and funnies and they do learn, so give it a go and see if it works for you.

Can you put into words the emotions you used to feel before InterHigh and the difference of how you feel now?

I think the stress that I used to go through, getting my son out of the house in the morning, knowing that he was in an environment that was really uncomfortable for him. I’d be at work and I’d be fielding calls from him not happy at school. In that school environment you’re not allowed to go in there and help in any way, so, that stress has been completely lifted by doing online school. It’s just so much easier and has taken a lot of pressure off family life.

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