Story/Interview August 20, 2019
Bev Chessun | Katie's mum
Bev Chessun’s daughter Katie could not set foot in mainstream secondary school due to extreme anxiety. King's InterHigh has proved to be the perfect fit for her. Read her King's InterHigh story below.
“I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s suited us down to the ground. I think it’s the future. When you don’t need an alternative, you think that mainstream’s is the only way . . . when she tried King's InterHigh and it seemed to be working it was like the biggest relief that you can imagine really, that we’d found this thing that might work.”
Can you tell us about your child’s educational experiences before joining King's InterHigh?
Katie went to mainstream school in Year 7 and 8. The beginning of Year 9 she began to have some anxiety about going into school for various reasons and it just got worse and worse and worse. The school really worked with her over a few months to find the best possible solutions, but nothing really worked.
It had been an horrendous time for Katie and her anxiety and all the things she was going through was affecting the whole family. We were living alongside this really stressed person who had multiple panic attacks a day and she just couldn’t set foot in school really in the end.
Did you know about online schooling previously and how did you find out about King's InterHigh?
I didn’t know online schooling existed really. It was an awful, awful time and I didn’t know where to start looking to be honest. But once you do start looking then you do start opening up your options and the way you think because you do think mainstream is the only way. When you don’t need an alternative, you think that mainstream is the only way, so I started to just Google solutions. We looked into home schooling and then a friend of a friend said they had a done a trial at King’s InterHigh and it looked really good. We took Katie out of school to give her a break for a few weeks and then started on a trial the next half term and signed her up for good from the start of Year 10.
Has studying at King's InterHigh improved things and if so, can you describe how this has made you feel?
When she tried King’s InterHigh and it seemed to be working it was like the biggest relief that you can imagine that we’d found this thing that might work.
The thing with Katie is that she was always really motivated. She wanted to learn she just couldn’t do it in the normal environment. She also likes structure, so compared to the other options where you could go to home ed groups or we could have tried to do a couple of subjects at home, it just, I don’t think it would have worked for her, because she’s so focused and stuff.
Is it easy to track your child’s progress as a parent?
King’s InterHigh is great, you can monitor your child’s progress as much as you like. You can get so much more information at King’s InterHigh about your child than you can ever get at mainstream school. At mainstream you can go terms without hearing anything. Sometimes you get to a June parents’ evening and you might be told your child isn’t doing well in certain subjects and you’re like, “well, why haven’t you told me?” Whereas at King’s InterHigh, it’s constant.
The marking is amazing. It’s done really quickly, and you get detailed feedback. The teachers go to such lengths to explain how you could have answered better or whatever and all the comments are accessible as soon as they’ve been made, to me as a parent.
One of the concerns or misconceptions about online schooling is that children miss out on sport, social interaction and social development. Is this something you were concerned about? And what has your experience been in relation to King's InterHigh?
When we decided to join King’s InterHigh we decided that we needed to be aware of Katie’s sport activity, so we made sure she was signed up to dance classes etc. You have to put a bit of effort in, in order to get that balance. To tackle the social aspect Katie started doing work experience at a local nursery to help out as her timetable allows. You’d never get that in a mainstream school. She’s joined a gym. You have to be creative and look to see what you can do with the time you have.
Katie’s made some really good friends at King’s InterHigh and then got to meet them at the school’s residential activity break and summer party. We’ve even driven to Oxford and Northampton to meet some of her friends.
Would you recommend King's InterHigh to other parents? And what advice would you give to parents considering King's InterHigh as an option for their child?
I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s suited us down to the ground. I think it’s the future. Mainstream education is all about grades. If you do King’s InterHigh, as long as you take responsibility to give your child the opportunities to do other things outside of King’s InterHigh, it opens up so much.