Online Schools: Studying for I/GCSEs and A Levels

Which UK-based schools offer an online education for secondary and sixth form students, and how are I/GCSEs and A Levels being taught remotely worldwide?
Online Schools: Studying for I/GCSEs and A Levels
By Carli Allan
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Which online schools offer a secondary and sixth form education?

King's InterHigh is one of many UK-based online schools offering a secondary education

There’s a growing number of UK-based online schools offering a secondary and sixth form curriculum to students living within the UK and overseas, and we’ve highlighted below some of the most established, most innovative and most popular.

Founded in October 2020 by Minerva Tutors, one of the UK’s leading providers of online tutoring and mentoring services, Minerva’s Virtual Academy currently offers Years 9, 10 and 11 (offering IGCSE qualifications); it will add A Levels in September 2022. Subjects offered include maths, English literature, English language, biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as geography, history, computer science, business studies, art, French, and Spanish.

Students learn at their own pace, through a mixture of live group lessons and online modules, with the support and care of a personal mentor; there are also extra-curricular activities currently including art or film production, a weekly wellbeing session and a whole school assembly. Teachers and mentors have been handpicked from Minerva Tutors' top tier educators.

Also launched in 2020, Sophia High School is another new kid on the online learning block. Founded by former headteacher Melissa McBride, Sophia High offers a daily schedule of timetabled, live and interactive online lessons for children as young as Year 1 (5+) through to Year 9 (14+).

The UK's famous and very prestigious Harrow School launched an online sixth form offering A Levels in September 2020. International students aged 16 and above can access an education from one of the UK’s top private schools from anywhere in the world. Harrow Online School offers one-on-one academic tutorials, live online lessons, and regular coaching sessions for support for an annual fee of £15,000 (USD 18,800). The virtual co-educational sixth-form focuses on STEM subjects (biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, further mathematics) and economics.

Pearson Online Academy UK Global offers International GCSEs in English language, English literature, maths, physics, chemistry, biology, business and computer science; and International A Levels in a range of subjects including maths, the sciences and economics.

One of the most well-established online schools, King’s InterHigh has a secondary curriculum for Years 7-13 and teaches International GCSEs and A Levels. Its timetable of lessons is taught using polls, quizzes, chat function, break out rooms, messaging to class or direct to teacher; they are recorded so that students can revisit the lesson at any time. As well as weekly tutorials and a weekly Common Room session with projects, activities and guest speakers, parents can pay extra for lessons such as drama and music; King’s InterHigh has recently introduced opportunities to attend ‘on site’ science practicals for A Levels.

My Online Schooling offers an all-through education from Year 3 through to Year 13 and, with a choice of timetables based on UK or Australian Western Standard Time, it has global appeal. Founded in 2017, this online school has a reputation for its strong SEN support and delivering on its promise to offer “an outstanding education that is accessible to all”.

The International British Online School (iBOS) is an all-through online school, offering a full secondary curriculum for Years 7-13. The school is quite unique as its teachers deliver lessons via the internet directly from classrooms at its London-based campus. (At most online schools, teachers are working from their own home.) Also, students have a full daily timetable of live lessons, compared to a more blended approach at other schools where live lessons are broken up with tutorials and private study time.

Based in Cambridge, Cambridge Home School Online takes what it describes as the "best aspects" of the National Curriculum for England and the Cambridge schools’ curriculum. It delivers a challenging and rigorous education for students aged eight to 18 years. The school is unashamedly selective and says that it is looking for outstanding students "with goals and dreams". Students have the option to submit a personal statement as part of the admissions process (at an extra cost of £299), and there is often a long waiting list for places.

Next: How much does an online secondary school cost?

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