Story/Interview August 29, 2019
Suffering with a long-term illness that made mainstream school a struggle, Sam has found that with King's InterHigh, he is much more relaxed and organised.
I have learned so much more than I did at school because I haven’t missed anything and I’m more relaxed in class.
Can you tell us about your educational experiences before King's InterHigh?
I went to mainstream school, but I was only attending around 60% of the year because I suffer with Nephrotic Syndrome, a long-term illness that affects my kidneys, and I have been on medication for it since I was two years old.
It was a normal bricks and mortar school; my brother is still there and my sister went there before him.
What were some of the difficulties you faced at mainstream school?
I struggled to keep up with the work, my mum tried to find ways of getting the missed work home but never got anything from the teachers. The campus was large and I struggled to get around with all my books each day without getting very tired. They were very strict when I was ill and didn’t understand any of the things I needed.
When I moved up to year 7 at secondary school, I found it too much and I was off school a lot – my attendance was about 42%. I had missed lots of work and again, nothing came from the school or teachers to help me out.
King’s InterHigh allows me the freedom to catch up with work via the recorded lessons, even when I’m off sick or in hospital. I have been ill but still attended lessons in bed and I don’t get too tired while at school anymore, so I don’t get ill as much.
Why did you decide to join King's InterHigh?
I wasn’t happy at a normal school – I didn’t have many friends because it was hard to get to know people when I was off a lot and then when I was in school, they didn’t understand why I was always off. Some people weren’t very nice to me about it and weren’t very understanding about some of the things I had to do because of my medicines. Even the teachers didn’t seem to care.
Mainstream school just wasn’t working for me at all and I spent a lot of time off through illness, hospital appointments or exhaustion.
My mum and I chose King’s InterHigh because I liked the idea of not having to walk to school with a heavy bag or get around school throughout the day.
How has the style of learning with King's InterHigh helped to improve things?
At King’s InterHigh, I can get more sleep and I learn in my room using my laptop which is much easier because I don’t get tired. I also don’t miss lessons. When I’ve been ill, I can still watch the lessons from bed and when I’ve had to be in hospital and missed actual lesson times, I’ve been able to catch up using the 24/7 lesson archive.
I never get stressed about being ill and missing things anymore.
From your experience, can you talk us through a typical day at King's InterHigh?
Some days are long because I have lessons at 9am and my last one finishes at 5.10pm – but I do have breaks in between lessons so it doesn’t feel too hard, plus it’s easy to get into the routine. Other days I only have morning or afternoon lessons, it’s much less tiring than normal school.
How do the lessons with King's InterHigh differ to those at a mainstream school?
Lessons are split into two sessions; a lead lesson is where you learn the topic for the week and then the follow-up lesson is where you can talk about and practice the topic in more detail. I like it this way because it sticks in your brain better.
Some lessons you can talk on the mic to the class and all lessons have a chat box where you can ask questions or answer things.
All lessons are recorded and saved to your own platform, so if you ever miss a lesson, you can always look back on the recording.
How has King's InterHigh made a difference to your life?
I have a good routine now and have my timetable up on the fridge and my bedroom wall. Plus, the timetable for each day is on my online dashboard, so whenever I log in, I can easily see what lessons I have on that day, when the lessons are and when my homework is due. I am much more organised.
Why should people who may be going through similar experiences to you consider King's InterHigh?
I think if you struggle with attendance at a normal school, then this way of learning is brilliant. I feel so good about not having missed any lessons for twenty weeks in a row – I’ve never done that before, ever. I have learned so much more than I did at school because I haven’t missed anything and I’m more relaxed in class.
Any tips for potential and existing King's InterHigh students of how to get the most out of their time at King's InterHigh?
Just to keep focused on lessons and what the teachers are saying. It is quite an independent way of working so you have to concentrate, but then you can always go back to check things you don’t understand. I also like that you can email the teacher directly and ask about things you might not understand.
On reflection what’s your favourite thing about King's InterHigh?
The freedom to work even on days that I would have been off normal school and the fact I’m not as stressed about being different, because everyone here understands that. I am more relaxed about not missing things too and therefore, I don’t worry so much.