Can you tell us about your educational experiences before InterHigh?
Before InterHigh, I went to a local bricks and mortar primary school. As a Beacon school, the school itself was academically good and I did reasonably well in my studies. However, socially I struggled due to bullying, so I wasn’t very happy there. After I left primary school, my parents applied for some local high schools for me. However, we were outside the catchment area and all of them were over-subscribed, so we were turned down - even after we appealed. I was offered a place at the closest high school to our house, but unfortunately a lot of children who had bullied me in primary school were going there so I was very reluctant to attend.
What made you decide to choose home-schooling?
My parents decided to home-school me themselves through year 7. I quite enjoyed it! My grandfather is French, so I had online lessons via Skype with him, but then my grandmother suggested we try an online school with more structure – especially as I work better with a specific timetable and planned lessons.
What do you enjoy most about InterHigh?
I joined InterHigh at the beginning of year 8 and I find that it is a good balance between home-schooling and a bricks and mortar school. The lessons aren’t too formal, but it is still like being at a regular school. Having proper teachers for each subject is also really useful because it’s more specialised.
How has InterHigh affected how you feel about school?
I feel happy to be at a school with other children who may themselves understand what it’s like to be bullied, as a lot of other children are there for the same reason. It’s nice to have that support.
What features do you find most useful whilst learning with InterHigh?
The learning style is really interactive – we have access to the whiteboard, we each take turns at reading aloud on the microphone or answering questions, and sometimes we get put into breakout rooms to work in groups, so everyone gets involved.
That’s something I was missing during year 7 when I was just at home with my parents - the interaction with other students and teachers.
From your experience, can you talk us through a typical day at InterHigh?
I wake up about 8.30am each morning. Most days my lessons start at 9.30am, except for Wednesdays and Fridays which are later. There are gaps in my timetable throughout the day for things like sports, baking, art and so on. I enjoy art very much, so I do a lot of that during the breaks. Although, sometimes I get my homework completed during those times too.
Is the format of teaching different at InterHigh?
Each subject has two types of lessons a week. The first is a lead lesson, which is mostly informative where we do more listening and taking notes. The second is a follow-up lesson that is more activity-based and recaps things we learned in the lead lesson. We answer questions, write on the whiteboard, get put into groups and get more involved. It is usually during the follow-up lesson we get set our homework for the week. Homework is done in our own time and we upload it to the online portal. Sometimes we’re even asked to do some scientific experiments at home, take photographs of the results and write up what happened.
How does InterHigh differ from your previous educational experience?
InterHigh is really a bridge between free-style home schooling and a bricks and mortar school. It’s the best of both worlds. The structure is there, the lessons are taught just as well as in a regular school (better in fact, because the class sizes are smaller), and the teachers are qualified. You receive all the help you need if you are struggling with anything, but at the same time, it gives you much more flexibility to pursue other things as there is more free time. There are less distractions too when you’re behind a screen than if you were in a regular classroom, as no one is fidgeting and dropping pens or anything like that. It can also be quite intimidating in a bricks and mortar school if you’re not socially confident, so InterHigh is really good for enabling less confident children to have a turn at answering questions in class.
What are some of the benefits to studying with InterHigh?
If you’re feeling poorly, being at InterHigh is great because as you’re at home anyway so you probably won’t have to miss lessons. You can just sit at your computer in your pyjamas with your medicine and a blanket, whereas at a normal school you’d have to miss out on your lessons.
How has InterHigh made a difference to your life?
As a lot of the learning is independent, I feel as though InterHigh is preparing me for higher education even though it seems quite far into the future. I have to be quite organised with my workload, so I think this is good practice for when I get older.
How has learning with InterHigh affected how you feel about school?
I’m much happier and more confident at InterHigh than I ever was at a bricks and mortar school. I feel as though the other pupils accept me and that makes a huge difference, because you learn more when you’re happy.
For people who may be going through similar experiences to you, why should they consider InterHigh?
I would really recommend InterHigh to any children who don’t feel socially confident at a normal school, or who have been bullied. There is a real feeling of understanding between the pupils, as many have experienced something similar. My tutor is really approachable too and he is very open to pupils emailing him with any problems or concerns. I know other children use InterHigh for other reasons too, such as actors or singers who like the flexibility. Whatever the reason, the quality of teaching is good and everyone is really friendly, so you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
Any tips for potential and existing InterHigh students of how to get the most out of their time at InterHigh?
To get the most out of your time at InterHigh, I think it’s good to get involved in chatting with other pupils outside of class times using the school social portal, ensuring your homework is completed, being on time for lessons and perhaps going on the trips.
On reflection, what’s your favourite thing about InterHigh?
I just really like how accepting it is of everyone regardless of what your background is, what you look like, where you come from or what your interests are. Everyone is so diverse, but treated equally, and nobody is mean to anybody else. I also get to do things like computer programming which is great! One of my brothers attends a bricks and mortar high school and he says he doesn’t do computer programming, so it’s nice to have the chance to do things that I might not get to do in a regular school.