The virtual school
When twelve year-old Lilian Hardy attended open auditions for the ensemble of Matilda, she never expected to be offered the lead role. Yet before she knew it she was walking out in front of hundreds of people in a West End theatre.
Despite her success, however, Lilian doesn’t intend to pursue a career in theatre. “I love acting but I don’t think I want to do it full-time as I’m also interested in photography, hairdressing and English literature,” she says. But fitting in studies around a hectic schedule of rehearsals and auditions is no mean feat, as Lilian soon discovered. Like thousands of other students she decided to try online education and joined InterHigh (www.interhigh.co.uk), a virtual school for pupils between the ages of 8 and 19.
“I joined InterHigh after Matilda because I was interested in trying out online lessons,” she explains. “Home educated people often like flexible learning styles and being able to pick and choose subjects. I don’t think learning has to be formal; it happens just as well by living life and paying attention to what’s around you.”
Lilian’s experience resonates with a wide range of students for whom online study has made education more enjoyable and achievable. The traditional classroom environment can be overwhelming for pupils for a variety of reasons, from illness to behavioural difficulties. Others simply want to get ahead, or their parents are looking for a more affordable alternative to traditional schooling. Whatever the motive, more and more students are turning to online teaching and resources.
InterHigh is at the forefront of this digital education revolution. From humble beginnings in 2005 the online school now has roughly 1,300 pupils based in the UK and abroad. The school provides an accredited UK curriculum delivered with flexibility, so students can manage their own timetables and have direct access to teachers at all times. After lessons InterHigh offers a range of clubs and societies, and pupils can interact in the common room or on the school’s own social media platforms. It combines all the benefits of a traditional brick and mortar school with the flexibility of home schooling. Wey Education, the group behind InterHigh, is also developing an online school offering a selective education. Infinity Education (www.infinityeducation.org.uk) provides excellent teaching in a flexible environment, with smaller classes and more support for individual students.The school is ideally suited to students aiming to achieve top grades at GCSE and A Level before studying at leading universities in the UK and abroad. It is exceptional independent teaching for fees well below those of traditional independent schools.
Tailored teaching for everyone
Online education doesn’t end with virtual schools. Wey Education is also using its technology to help other education providers deliver high quality teaching. Thanks to the flexibility and convenience of online teaching, education can now tend beyond classroom walls. When Harrison Honey was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in Year 7, everyday tasks became almost impossible. The condition, which causes severe fatigue and affects concentration and memory, left Harri struggling to speak, think and even walk. The effect on his entire life was devastating, and naturally his education suffered. After missing almost three years of schooling, Harri’s condition was beginning to improve. His mother, Alison, knew mainstream school would be too overwhelming, and felt home tutoring would put too much pressure on Harri. A friend recommended Academy21 (www.academy21.co.uk), and after a trial period he enrolled on the programme.
With the flexibility and support of his online tuition, Harri was able to learn without compromising his treatment and recovery. “When I approached Academy21, I was convinced this was the way to go,” says Alison. “For the first time in ages I had hope: I knew my son would be having an education.” Harri went from strength to strength. Initially he began to re-integrate by taking his online lessons in the school library. Now he is back in school for 12 hours and coping well. In addition to catering to individual
teaching needs, Academy21 helps schools, local authorities and other public bodies such as children’s homes to provide education for pupils with complex behavioural, medical and mental health issues. With online classes, lesson libraries and an innovative Learning Management System, Academy21 supplies alternative, high quality teaching to numerous organisations and pupils.
Wey Education’s offshoot Wey Ecademy (www.weyecademy.com) is also pioneering the B2B approach to education. The ecademy works with schools and organisations to provide a broad range of resources, from individual subject teaching to specialist vocational courses. It provides accredited British teaching in 24 subject areas across KS3, KS4 and KS5 for students in the UK and overseas, and also offers short-term support to students who are trying to reengage with education, regardless of their circumstances.
Immersion in language
Online teaching can also offer a more focused approach to learning. Away from the distractions of the classroom, pupils can concentrate on their studies and reap the rewards of tailored tuition. This is the ethos behind Quoralexis (www. quoralexis.com), Wey Education’s developing service for learners of
English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and English as an Additional Language (EAL). Quoralexis uses interactive classes to immerse students in the English language, and pupils can communicate through voice or text, and even turn their device screen into an interactive whiteboard. With constant monitoring
and instant feedback, students can develop their language skills more quickly than ever.
The number of children being educated outside school is on the rise, and with tailored, flexible and cost effective services online, it’s easy to see why. Wey Education is the AIM listed holding company of an
education group that offers five unique services, using state of the art technology to deliver tuition and resources to educators and pupils. For more information visit www.weyeducation.com