Briteschool V Interhigh?

(28 Posts)
bochead Fri 02-Nov-12 14:38:17

Has anyone attended either or researched both and come down in favour of one or other? If so why?

A bit of background in case it aids your advice.

DS is ASD so prefers the regular structure, routine etc, etc that comes with the set curriculum offered by formal online schooling.

Huge organisational changes in DS's current setting from 2013 mean we may be better off home edding from Year 5 rather than Year 6 onwards as I'd hoped. Change is a big deal for DS, so I'm trying to work out how best to smooth his path over the next few years.

My orginal plan was Interhigh from Year 7. However Briteschool starts at 9 - I'm just not sure whether what they offer is what we need iyswim.

bochead Fri 02-Nov-12 16:59:15

I forgot to add First College to the list [oops]

We looked into all three of those a few years ago when DS was going into Year 10 (he's now 19 so that's, um, 5 years ago now?). We chose Interhigh because, at the time, their setup and website and available information came across as the most well-organised and that was something important to us when going into something as new (to us at least) as an online school. They were also quick and efficient at responding to our (many!) emails trying to pin them down about specifics.

We were very happy with the school, and he did Year 10 and 11 there and came out with a good set of IGCSEs. Of course, since he didn't go to any of the others I can't tell you whether we'd have been equally happy with them if we'd chosen differently...

I think it's hard to pick between things you have no experience of, but like with choosing other schools a mix of the actual facts and a general feeling of whether you have a common approach to education will tend to push you in one direction rather than another.

If your DS likes structure, then you could also look at some of the companies that provide a set curriculum, or consider making your own curriculum from different resources. It may also depend if you think he will respond well to working with you or if he is more responsive to "authority figures" from outside the family - but bear in mind that his behaviour and attitudes are likely to improve outside of school anyway if it is a source of stress , so even if you struggle at the moment with things like getting him to do homework, that doesn't automatically mean that home education with you would be problematic.

Hope that helps!

mumof4darlings Mon 05-Nov-12 21:26:45

highly recommend briteschool for primary. very very good. we use interhigh now for secondary, just because they offer more extra curricular classes and timetables suit us better.

stilllearnin Tue 06-Nov-12 10:32:24

I'm new to this and think I may be hijacking a thread here. I would be interested in actual experiences of interhigh too though. Is it a 'good' education?

We are looking at this for our son (Year 7) - he will be giving up a scholarship at a local small independent school so it's quite a decision.

He's learned a lot at school about coping with people and school life but he's not at all happy and most learning has stopped, to be replaced with huge resentment. I cannot shake a feeling that we are spoiling/ indulging him (or possibly ourselves) by doing this. But I also remember taking him out of primary school for half a year and it was bliss!

Any info welcome

Not a problem stilllearnin you're sticking with the topic so it's fair game! (actually on MN almost anything is fair game...)

I can only talk with a sample size of 1, but we were happy with Interhigh. DS got the sort of results at IGCSE that I would have guessed he'd get in any school. Possibly not what he would have got at an academic independent bricks & mortar school where I think he might have been pushed/pulled over the line to get slightly higher grades, but still very respectable.

If your son is unhappy and not learning, then I don't think he's going to get the potential benefits of his scholarship and that environment anyway, so aiming for something that he'll be happier at and will therefore do better at in reality may be a better aim than what you hoped for out of his current school, which sounds like it just really hasn't worked out for him.

"Coping" isn't a good thing to have to learn - though we all need to pick up a bit of it on the way, if it's the main thing he's learning then there's something going wrong, it ought to be a tiny little add-on to his experience of education and not the main event.

Does school in general not suit him, or do you think it's that one in particular? I'd suggest looking at everything that might be available as an option, with a reasonably open mind, then trying to weigh up the pros and cons of each. And then, finally, picking one just because you think it's right, whatever your logical pros and cons say, because you can usually weigh things up internally better than you can explain and justify them.

stilllearnin Tue 06-Nov-12 22:18:54

Thanks AMumInScotland - that is some really good advice. I like the school he's at and his sister does well there but his issues there are real. He hates the students messing about, he feels misunderstood, and he has some physical problems/ severe discomfort to cope with.

Your comments about 'coping' being an add on to his education hits the nail on the head - it's like a veil is lifted! I want the kids to know they can alter their situations and do not just have to put up with things (within reason). I am also looking at First College now (having just discovered it) but yes we'll take our time and you're right, instinct will have to be the final decider! You see we were told breastfeeding and broken nights would be the hard bits - we had no idea it would be all the emotional stuff - naive or what!

HullaBalloo Tue 06-Nov-12 22:44:26

Will pm you bochead.

HullaBalloo Tue 06-Nov-12 23:13:37

Will pm you too still learnin

CuttedUpPear Tue 06-Nov-12 23:17:37

Interhigh has a christian agenda? Is that correct?
If so, no way for us.

bochead Wed 07-Nov-12 19:29:06

I don't know if this is relevant to you stilllearnin, but I feel strongly that DS currently has to learn 2 curriculi - the social and the academic and that sometimes the stress of both at once is too much.

I'm hoping that by "splitting" them DS will be able to concentrate on doing his best at the academics without being weighed down by having to cope with a double workload caused by the social stuff. Does that resonate with you?

Mainstream is just "too much" for DS (dining hall noise hurts him for a start) but special schools tend to offer VERY limited academic opportunities. Online school sounds as if it could potentially give him the best of both worlds. Thanks for the info on Briteschool Primary - perhaps that would be a good introduction & prep for online secondary while allowing lots of free time to "do our own thing" for a couple of years?

Once you get to sixth form/post 16 education class sizes tend to go down and the disruptive element reduces as everyone is following their own interests. The trick seems to be to get them safely to that stage without them becoming too disaffected by learning from talking to adult Aspies & others who may not "fit" the standard school system, but are bright nonetheless.

CuttedUpPear I certainly didn't notice a christian agenda while DS was there, where did you hear that?

CuttedUpPear Wed 07-Nov-12 21:10:04

On the first page of the website - in fact it showed up on the google search without even going onto the site. Maybe I got the wrong site.

Ah, I see the problem - their website is www.interhigh.co.uk/ but there are very similar web names for a Christian organisation in California! I'm pretty sure there's no connection.

CuttedUpPear Thu 08-Nov-12 00:02:18

Oh that's a relief!

mumof4darlings Thu 08-Nov-12 07:29:13

My daughter is in yr 10 of Interhigh. She did all of year 7 with them and then wanted to try school again. The standard of their teaching is excellent, she was exactly where she needed to be for year 8 of regular school. Online teaching works for some and not for others my daughter loves it my son hated it. What we love the most about it is that it feels so friendly and there is a real sense of belonging. This Christmas they are pitting on a online Christmas play previous years there have been talent shows all students can get involved if they like.
If you would like anymore info ask away.

stilllearnin Fri 09-Nov-12 19:37:33

Hi - sorry, I've been working. It sounds like it may not hurt to try it bochead. Perhaps make the decision without telling him or perhaps anyone else and see how you feel about it for a few days before you make it real. I get into a kind of paralysis with this sort of thing and that tactic sometimes helps.

But the relief when we took my son out of school the first time was MASSIVE! Whatever happened next it was not the the wrong decision. Also you can always change your mind and find a way to help your son deal with more changes if you have to. I know school provides opportunities to experience other things as well as socialise but really sometimes you have to chose something a bit more stripped down.

The main thing now with my son is physical health and the high level of distraction from actual learning (his social side is not nearly as tricky as it was). He isn't easily distracted himself but hates having to miss so much while the others stop.

Mumof4darlings my partner is against interhigh because he says there are a lot of excluded children there (as it gets lots of work from LEAs he says). That's a not a problem in itself because we know kids come out of school for different reasons - but in a small class there one child that can cause quite a lot of disruption and he's worried we'll have the same problems there. Have you noticed anything like this at interhigh (more than your average class room I mean).

DSs class had one disruptive pupil for a while, but the teacher could just "silence" him and take him to another "room" to work, so it didn't cause much of a problem. In fact he left after a while, though I don't know if that was the school's choice or his parents'. I doubt they would allow disruption to continue for long - parents will vote with their feet if they are paying for something and don't feel they are getting it.

stilllearnin Fri 09-Nov-12 20:12:34

Thanks that's reassuring - I suppose its a great benefit of internet learning that the teacher can do that. You would not believe the things that go on at a fee paying school! And I am pretty laid back because children either make me laugh or I think they're still learning how to behave (aren't we all). It does seem a bit final for us because we have been all around the system now. But I am almost certain we are going to go for it - we will make the transition slow tho because my daughter cannot have her brother disappear from school suddenly again.

Ratso Fri 09-Nov-12 21:45:43

Hadn't heard of either school or even considered online schooling for 7yr old dd but after reading this thread I am very interested indeed.

Thanks OP smile

mumof4darlings Sat 10-Nov-12 08:02:55

Hi, there was one class when my daughter was in year seven, a new boy had joined who clearly didn't want to be there, he tried to disrupt the lessons. Interhigh were straight on to it, they took away the private chat facility in the entire class, removed him from classroom straight away if any bad language. As he was unable to settle and continued to disrupt the group, he did not continue to be a pupil. The class groups she has been in since have been wonderful. The students have been polite online and all appear to engage well in the lessons. Yesterday's Christmas performance rehearsal showed what a great bunch of children there are at the school, such excitement and chatting. I would have no concerns on placing a child there. They are more able to control a classroom with technology with as little disruption as possible, by removing a child quickly.

stilllearnin Mon 12-Nov-12 14:48:58

Thank you for all the info and comments. We emailed the school last night just to let them know what we're thinking of doing. So it looks like he'll be out at Christmas or Easter (we have to pay a contribution to his fees and contractually they can hold us to the next term). If he sticks to either Briteschool or Interhigh's term times he will have less school holiday. His sister thinks this is hilarious and says she'll go to a festival while he is in double maths!

mumof4darlings Mon 12-Nov-12 20:56:58

great news. Hope it make him happier. If he likes the idea of extra curricular classes interhigh offers chess club, science club, book club, fun common room sessions every friday afternoon, they are also looking into providing art classes this year. online end of year play/talent show and a yearly meetup in brecon where they get to stay in a big school and do activities :-)anyway, pm me if you would like anymore info. My daughter is very happy there.

Jamillalliamilli Wed 14-Nov-12 21:16:56

Wanted to say to the concern about higher number of excluded children at Interhigh, most of the LEA excluded and placed children are not in the the mainstream classes. They have their own classes. For obvious reasons they don't make a feature of that fact.

Most of those in mainstream classes being paid for by LEA's are children with educational difficulties like SPLD, (often LSA'd) life threatening illness, or who've been very severely bullied, whose parents have found a good solution and fought to get the fees paid, rather than being LEA placed. Definitely no more of a disruption issue than anywhere else, and handled swiftly and sensibly. (I LSA a child at Interhigh, but not employed by them)

Jamillalliamilli Wed 14-Nov-12 21:25:09

Would also add it's quite international, (always interesting to have children in Spain, Egypt, Singapore or Texas doing the same lesson) and there's quite a few young athletes, musicians, and actors too. Lots of different reasons for being there.

stilllearnin Tue 20-Nov-12 15:28:43

Oh thanks for that. It is not the most pressing concern - but it is really helpful to have some first-hand experience so that we can be more informed. My son can definitely be comfortable with different types of people, he quite likes that- its more how that and all issues are managed that matters. It sounds like Interhigh is switched on tho.

It now looks like my son will finish this school at Easter and start one of the internet schools in September. He wants to pursue some 'projects' for the summer term. I am not sure what he means but my instinct is he needs to be trusted! I'll be back!

Expatforever Wed 27-Feb-13 14:16:01

Hi there, urgently in need of advice please. We are trying to make contact with Briteschool via e-mail as well as telephonically. Our e-mails remain unanswered and the phones are not being picked up either. Yesterday the website was not accessible but it is now. Has the school closed down or are they still active? I would appreciate feedback please as we need to enrol our child asap. Thanks!

Annathecamel Tue 19-Mar-13 10:46:05

Expat - I hope someone from Briteschool has got back to you.

I taught there for a time a few years back and as a teacher loved it. It's very well structured and organised and in terms of content probably more intense and focused than a real classroom in a brick school. I could certainly see how some students in particularly flourished and thrived in the alternative educational environment it offered.

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