Story/Interview February 17, 2019
Tayler Jefferson | Actress & Model
Actress and model Tayler Jefferson is dyslexic. Being able to study electronically helps Tayler with her learning. King's InterHigh also provides the flexibility she needs to pursue her career in acting and performing arts.
For the first time in my life, I can now finally express my thoughts and I’m also working a year higher than my age group! The fact that I have total flexibility to operate in the entertainment industry, without it affecting my studies adversely, is a total bonus.
Actress & Model
Can you tell us about your educational experiences before King's InterHigh?
I have always enjoyed learning no matter what the environment. I was initially at a normal primary school for three years from reception and then changed to a private prep school from Year 3 onwards.
Both schools had traditional learning styles. The first school had large classes and as things progressed I found myself lost in classes, almost anonymous and tended to use forms of distraction to avoid doing work that I was struggling with. In Year 2, my work went backwards. I then moved to a smaller school where the class sizes were much smaller. Part of the way through, I received a diagnosis for Irlen’s and then for dyslexia. Despite now having a diagnosis, I still struggled with getting my thoughts down on paper and this affected the majority of classes. Spelling was a major issue. My written work did not reflect my level of intelligence. Each school report reflected this for most lessons across the board. Organising my studies and structuring my work was equally problematic. I managed to get special prescription glasses which helped with my reading.
Why did you decide to join King's InterHigh?
I joined King’s InterHigh because of my dyslexia. Previously, I hadn’t been able to express myself properly in written form, which affected most of my studies, despite constantly getting grade ones for effort across the board. I had previously trialled a couple of private schools that had specialist dyslexia units, however the travelling logistics didn’t work out. Internet schooling from home meant that these travel headaches didn’t occur.
Has studying at King's InterHigh improved things?
King’s InterHigh gives me the opportunity to produce and submit work electronically thus enabling me to use the various technology available that helps people with dyslexia. For the first time in my life, I can now finally express my thoughts and I’m also working a year higher than my age group! The fact that I have total flexibility to operate in the entertainment industry, without it affecting my studies adversely, is a total bonus. Not being able to express myself properly was hugely frustrating, but I never gave up trying and regularly had grade ones for effort across the board despite the difficulties faced. Since starting with King’s InterHigh, I have been receiving good grades consistently despite having jumped a year ahead. For the first time, my creativity is coming out. I can now express myself fully. Most assignments are completed in word or PowerPoint etc. I have spell checkers and dictation software. Words that I am not familiar with can be read out. I am able to use a keyboard far better than a pen – despite being able to write neatly. My spelling is improving too.
What is a typical day at King's InterHigh like for you?
You don’t have to travel to school. You tend to have more break time, which enables you to undertake different tasks and resting certain parts of the brain in the process. So, for example on a Monday, I have an exercise class at 9am followed by an hour of English at 9.30am. I’m on break from 10.30am until 1.45pm, where I have an hour of Science. Finally, I have a Computer Studies lesson from 4.30pm until 5.00pm. In these periods, I can do homework, which is well structured, or take private acting or singing lessons. I have a ballet lesson at 5.15pm so the final lesson of the day is undertaken in part whilst travelling. Sometimes I will be literally moving disruption free between my school desk and the car, in mid-lesson, thanks to a mobile WIFI dongle. This is a regular occurrence for me due to my involvement in all aspects of the performing arts.
You can study at King's InterHigh wherever there’s an internet connection, what are the most unusual places you’ve had a live lesson?
In cafés and coffee shops, public libraries, whilst travelling in a car (on the way to classes, auditions etc), studios, theatres (during pantomime rehearsals and performances), hotels, and car parks. There’s literally no limit!!
What King's InterHigh features do you find the most useful?
The support link is most helpful when there is a rare technical issue. If you are logged out for any reason, there is the 24/7 archive to fall back on. The to-do list is critical for me and assists greatly with the organisation of my studies. Communication is superb through the internal email system. There is a credit system which encourages you to do well in the lessons. There’s dyslexic and pastoral support too.
Apart from the subjects you study, what else has King's InterHigh taught you?
The independent style of learning most definitely helps develop a work ethic. I also have great flexibility to undertake acting and performing work during normal school time – the flexibility is absolutely perfect for me. I love the fact that my peers come from all corners of the world. I now have friends in Malaysia, Thailand, Dubai, Philippines, Poland, Italy, Spain, and Hungary, so I’m constantly learning about people and cultures too.
Why should people who may be going through similar experiences to you, consider King's InterHigh?
I think the entire format suits my personality which is the most important thing. I get to work differently than in a normal school. If you are pursuing extracurricular activities that mean you need flexible schooling, then the fact that the lessons are recorded means that you can easily catch up if you miss a lesson. All the slides and lesson materials are always present, allowing you to go back on anything that you want to go over again.
Is King's InterHigh a good option for actors and would you recommend it to your peers?
The flexibility King’s InterHigh provides is a massive plus. Also, when applying to the local authority for licences to perform, you don’t have to obtain the headmaster’s consent because you are technically doing home elective education. This means that you are not restricted by the views and policies of the individual school. Also, one procedure is removed, meaning that the process which is normally time critical, is streamlined. In conventional schooling, you may find that your ability to perform and work is significantly curtailed.
Any tips for potential and existing King's InterHigh students of how to get the most out of their time at King's InterHigh?
Interact as much as possible!!! Ask if you don’t understand something – the teachers are all most helpful.