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Any experience with UK-specific online schools (myonlineschooling, Cambridge Home School etc)


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For a variety of reasons, I've decided that DS12 should do online school next year. Initially I wanted to him to follow the US curriculum, but since we live in the UK, and would like live classes, it makes more sense to do a UK school. Does anyone have experience with Interhigh, CHS, Briteschool, Netschool or Myonlineschooling that they could share? He did a three-day trial at CHS, which went well, but they want the full year's tuition with no possibility to leave midyear, not even with a term's notice. It's expensive, and that policy is out of line with every other private school in the UK that I'm aware of. So I'm putting him in Myonlineschooling for the rest of the summer term (because he needs to do something) but would really like to hear from anyone with experience of these other schools.

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The HE exams wiki is a good place to start. There is a list of course providers here: https://he-exams.wikia.org/wiki/CorrespondenceCourses

I would also join the HE exams and alternatives Facebook group for UK-specific advice. There are various cheap subscriptions offers available to home edders that negate the need for expensive tutored courses, which folk there will be able to tell you about. They can also give recommendations for various course providers for the subjects you are looking at. Things are a bit frantic on the group at the moment as we are all in the middle of exams, but if you lurk for a while and then post, you should get all the info you need.

Fwiw, there have been mixed reviews about most of the online 'schools'. They are generally expensive, inflexible and limit what you can do and where you can go during the day (one of the best things about home education is having the freedom to make your own schedule and leave the house when you want, lol). . Lots of people left Interhigh because they changed their format and, as I understand it, class sizes increased hugely. I presume CHS is Cambridge homeschool? There are plenty of course providers who are - or were - home edders, and these are often far better value and better tailored to the needs of home ed students. For example both my children have used Learntec for IGCSE computer science.

We have found Netschool to be very good value for money and they provide a very good service. The good thing about Netschool is that you can do just one - or more - subjects. You don't have to sign up for a whole bunch of different subjects. (My dd did 3 years of German with them and we have friends whose son did IGCSE history with them and was equally impressed). They have a very good reputation among home edders in the UK. They aren't the cheapest provider, but they do seem to be reliable.

Tbh, most of us just use IGCSE textbooks and a DIY approach, and only outsource at IGCSE level for subjects we personally struggle with. We miss out Key stage 3 for most subjects and just go straight into exam study, while adding in online resources and extras to make life interesting.  For example, both my boys started taking GCSEs/IGCSEs at age 14 and spread them out over 3 years. It's much less stressful than doing them all at the 'standard age' of 16.

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Thanks for the info. We've been home-edding for quite a few years now, with a break between DCs. For a variety of reasons, it's going to have to be full online school and do "after school" activities with schooled children I think. We have not, in all our years of home-edding, found a compatible group that DS can spend time with so we're reverting to more of a school model. I did have a chat with CHS and discovered that they want a commitment to pay a full year's fees, which is way out of line with normal independent schools' requirements (one term's notice). When I pointed this out, the guy I spoke with said it's because CHS produces such good results. Except they don't have GCSE/A-level figures because students take these as independent candidates. So we're steering well clear of them. 

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I would definitely take a look at Netschool, then. They have been around a good long while and I've never heard anything bad about them among home edders in the UK. Their classes book up quickly, particularly core subjects, like English and Maths, so you might need to be booking soon for September start. Their live classes are recorded, so if you miss a class or two, you can catch up. I'm not sure what their cancellation policies are, but we pay per term. I believe there are discounts available if you book for multiple subjects.

I think myonlineschooling are the company that advertised a course for an IGCSE exam syllabus that can no longer be taken in the UK. They didn't warn UK students and therefore some students paid for and studied for an exam they could not take. Not good!

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  • 11 months later...

Hi I am just about to start online schooling with me children in secondary school. I am looking for a well organised school that would fit very able students. Would you be able to give me feedback on Myonline school? we  have already had a conference call with them. I am very interested in CHS as they mention on their website that students who are gifted can move on in the curriculum and complete GCSE's earlier if they feel like. I would like to know if you had any feedback on this school.

It is so hard to know if a school is good or not just by looking at a website and speaking to one of their representatives as this is very easily manufactured.

 

Thanks

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  • 1 month later...

We tried MOS for a year, but I got fed up with the lack of homework, lack of constructive feedback, teachers not showing up, etc. We're at another online school, which is better. I spoke with CHS as well but didn't think it would be a good fit.

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I am also querying the best online school to go with. Interhigh doesn't seem to have amazing reviews, MOL seems held in high regard but has fewer subjects, Wolsey Hall has no creative arts section and CHS seems expensive and again their subjects can be flaky. 

 

Any up to date advice very welcome! 

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  • 7 months later...

We did Oxford Hall Last year - we liked it in general, but think it’s not good option for younger children due to lack of life lessons- not attractive at all. They have sent to us a very good work books. But the rest were relying only for the parents. 

We are doing MY Online Schooling this year Year 3 and we love this a lot! Maybe it depends of the Teacher but in our Class we have an extremely experienced Teacher- she has a very good balance between discipline and rewards! The kinds and the Teacher are knowing each other - sense of friendship!  What do we like:

1. Clear Curriculum Structure

2. One attached Teacher to the Class (maybe 3-4 absences for now but always substituted)

3. Good size of Classes (around 6-10 children)

4. We have homework but not overloaded

We have started with 3 subjects: Math/English/Science but later on MOS has offered an additional subjects : Year 3 Geography/History/Spanish and Art - we have added them as well! They also offer a lot of Clubs with no charge! 
Year 3 is the only Grade then you have to buy all three core subjects. 

We also have tried and had  a Conference with the  Cambridge Online School - which is from our point of view is an extremely overpriced and dew to this no sense for online schooling for this price! We also did not find a true reviews for this School but instead more questions. We also did not like the point they were pushing us to pay 250£ registration fee one year ahead to fix the spot!!! 

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  • 1 month later...

As always horses for courses! Cambridge Home School (CHS) is in our view the only choice for discerning families with high ability children. We tried Interhigh (disaster - classes of over 300 say no more!) and Myonlineschooling (mediocre at best - no homework, low standards, poorly qualified staff) - it seems to us that you really do get what you pay for I'm afraid. Simply put we can't depend on these 'schools' to provide our children with the same opportunities that their previous private schools could provide; highly qualified teachers from top Universities, small classes, similarly motivated pupils coming from similarly motivated goal-driven families, networking for the future, access to top unis etc. Cambridge Home School does provide these opportunities and at a fraction of the fees, we used to pay. So for us, it's extremely good value for money and the only choice. For those on a budget and children who are less academic, the other two might be an option of course and far cheaper than private tuition. Ah and the Wolsey hall, Oxford home learning thing, steer clear! They say they are a school but they're not - glorified textbooks, no lessons and a helpline! My kids are super motivated but they at least need lessons and a teacher!

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  • 2 months later...

Readers should consider the possibility that "schoolmatters" who posted above is not a parent, but actually the proprietor of the Cambridge Home School (CHS) masquerading as a parent. As a parent who has had a child at the school I can tell you it reads as being very much his pompous style and phrases like "highly qualified teachers from top Universities" are straight from his brochure.

The obvious question is then:  Would you want your child to be taught by an institution whose owner/manager stoops to masquerading as a satisfied parent in online forums to convey a false impression, denigrate the competition and drum up business?

Look on mumsnet for several reviews by genuine parents which paint a less rosy picture.  

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I don’t know who all these one post members are, but this is a very interesting thread. I did communicate with Wolsley Hall once, and it was all self paced with textbooks and some sort of tutor available. I don’t understand UK schools, and/so that didn’t seem hugely appealing. Plus there’s almost nowhere in the US to take those exams.

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  • 3 months later...

Online home education is a fantastic option but only if you choose the right provider.

I would stay far from My Online Schooling as both children, parents and teachers are dissatisfied with MOS. A fair number of families leave MOS for other online schools including Net-School which is very much better. The turnover of teachers is concerning, for instance, my child had 3 maths teachers within the space of 3 months, 2 English teachers, 2 science teachers, 2 RS teachers (including one whose lessons were covered and I don't recall ever taught my child). As stated, there are other reviews on TrustPilot on this point and the parent run Facebook group (not to be confused with the group run & censored by the school) has multiple threads & messages about the turnover of staff issues. My own experiences are that this school should be avoided, my daughter has been damaged by the racism she has experienced from both students and teachers and the casual attitude to racism from the founder Tom Crombie, the Principal Euan MacLean and the Head, Emily Booth.  

 

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