InterHigh School is a UK-based on-line school teaching the UK National Curriculum to children from Year 3 to 13 located within the UK and internationally. It has added a Middle East programme to cater to Gulf time-zones.
InterHigh School is an established on-line school teaching the UK National Curriculum to families located within the UK and internationally. In 2020, the Covid 19 pandemic provided an opportunity for InterHigh to tailor its delivery of its programmes to meet the needs of families in the Gulf - with timings to suit UAE students - providing a recognised UK curriculum at a fraction of the fees required for children to continue their education via Distance Learning in their UAE-based physical schools.
InterHigh was recently purchased by Inspired Education Group. Inspired - described as a leading global group of premium schools - educates over 50,000 students in 70 schools across five continents, including the British School of Bahrain and Knowledge Gate International School in Muscat, Oman.
InterHigh is registered with the UK Department of Education and a member of the Department's Online Education Accreditation Scheme. The school has adopted the standards set by the Scheme, which are based on the legal expectations of independent schools in the UK.
The InterHigh School calendar follows traditional UK independent school terms. Each year is a 35 week academic year. Students must be aged 7+ (Year 3 onwards) to join the InterHigh programme - the school does not take students in Foundation Stage or Years 1 and 2. This accords with UAE regulations where students do not legally have to attend school until the year in which they turn six years (usually Year 1), but may postpone entry until the age of 8.
InterHigh says that it “delivers a fully interactive British education to the comfort of your home or wherever you may be. Our unique online school offers the best in Primary, Secondary, IGCSE and A Level courses, delivered by expert teachers. We are able to offer you everything you expect from a school, plus a whole lot more!”
The addition of the Gulf timetable has taken place since a significant percentage of InterHigh students are from the Middle East region and the school explains that "To benefit these students, we offer a Middle East timetable operating at the local GST timezone. This means students attend InterHigh during normal school hours without starting late in the morning or running late in to the evening". The school operates a Sunday to Thursday week and also applies public holidays within the Gulf region.
Established in 2005, Interhigh is a complete interactive Primary School, Secondary School and Sixth Form College. The online school has taught some 5,000 students since its foundation and currently has around 1,500 students registered with it, aged between 8 and 19 with an equal mix of boys and girls. About 30% of students are located outside the UK.
The Ethos of InterHigh as explained as follows:
“At InterHigh, we engage students to reach for a success level they have never imagined. We deliver high quality virtual educational experiences to all our students, fostering a sense of belonging and respect for one another as well as providing the skills to solve real world problems through a love of lifelong learning”.
According to InterHigh, the curriculum is taught by expert, experienced staff whose passion for their subject "is matched by their motivation and energy to see every student succeed". The flexibility that the on-line programme offers means that students can enjoy a range of clubs, societies, seminars or catch up with friends in the common room or on the school’s own social platforms.
In general, students are arranged into class tutor groups with a maximum of 20 children. All lessons are taught live by experienced teachers. The learning platform offers all learners the opportunity to participate in continuous learning activities, as well as access to live lesson recordings 24 hours a day. Once lessons are over, students can participate in a range of clubs, courses, seminars or catch up with friends on InterHigh’s own school social media platform.
Pastoral staff are always available to support learners in whatever way best suits the individual and the school leadership team is available for guidance and advice. The school says that it addresses the academic, pastoral and social needs of each student individually.
Interhigh offers a full UK curriculum from Key Stage 2 (Year 3) to post-16. With the EYFS curriculum for Foundation Stage children being largely play-based and, and through its extension, Key Stage 1 students (Year 1 and 2), InterHigh does not offer these early years of education. As students move through the school they can study a full range of IGCSE, AS and A Level courses.
The Key Stage 2, 3, 4 and 5 curricula are taught by qualified, trained and experienced staff. The learning platform enables students to watch missed lessons back in full, enabling students to solidify their learning or the flexibility to plan their own timetable, so that they are not tied to a rigid school timetable and are able to pursue their own interests, hobbies, pastimes and goals in school hours if this suits them and their families better.
InterHigh Juniors, for students from Years 3 to 6, is designed with younger students in mind. Based on the English National Curriculum, InterHigh says that it offers the same quality, flexibility and accessibility as the secondary school, but tailored to suit the needs of younger students. Teachers are subject specialists with expert knowledge and training to deliver engaging content online. Students can expect quizzes and games, interactive exercises balanced with lessons developed around 21st Century skills (empathy, digital literacy, resilience) designed to provide children with a love of learning and a solid foundation for their future education.
InterHigh Juniors students study a core package of seven subjects, which include English, Maths and Science, Humanities, STEM and Creative Media with a choice of Arabic or French specifically for Gulf students. InterHigh Junior students also have weekly Tutorials and their own weekly Common Room with projects, activities and guest speakers. The school goes beyond the purely academic with students forming part of house groups for competitions,and team building and have opportunities for personalised sessions with tutors to ensure appropriate support, guidance and well-being.
Parents are given their own access to the school portal which provides constant information about their son or daughter’s progress, feedback and assignments. This is supplemented by regular written feedback from teachers.
In the Secondary school, lessons are taught via ‘Lead’ and ‘Follow’ lessons. Lead lessons resemble masterclasses (or university style lectures) where much larger groups have the same new subject content delivered to them at the same time, by lead teachers in the subject. The ‘follow lessons’ are the more traditional exercise lessons (similar to tutorials and seminars) in much smaller groups where the understanding of the new subject content is explored.
The syllabus in Secondary school for Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9) includes subjects aimed at engaging students, giving them the chance to discover which subjects they have a passion for before making their IGCSE choices at the end of Year 9. For flexibility, students at Key Stage 3 can enrol for as many, or as few, of the subjects from the core list as they wish. Students can also trial the school on a half term basis before deciding if they want to join for a longer period.
Key Stage 3’s nine core subjects include Maths, English, Geography, History, Science, STEM, French or Spanish, Art and Music. Additional subjects (at an additional fee) include Communication, Creative Media, German, Computer Science (from Year 9) and Film Studies (Years 8/9). Students can select extra languages for an additional fee, per Language, per year.
At Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11), all core IGCSE subjects follow the Edexcel exam board. There are exam centres throughout the Middle East, with the majority of InterHigh families entering their children as private candidates with the British Council, but there are also a number of international schools where students can register to take their exams.
It should be noted that – in common with physical schools located in the UAE – joining Interhigh for Year 11 (the second year of the IGCSE programme) is not currently possible.
InterHigh offers a core of seven IGCSE examination courses online, including the Core subjects of English Language, English Literature and Maths, a choice of one science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics; others can be added as options), Geography or History. Students can choose two additional options from four Options groups, which include Business, Religious Studies, Psychology, Computer Science, German, Music, Art, Drama, Film Studies, Further Maths, and Arabic. Additional subjects can be added for additional fees.
In addition to the IGCSE subjects, InterHigh offers a range of non-examined Assured subjects. Assured subjects include Photography Perspectives, Computer Game Development, International Relations: Perspectives, Art and Design in Action, Health and Wellbeing Management, Drama and Performance in Practice, Art and Design in Action, and Music in Culture and Society.
As a further option, for students who do not wish to complete the core IGCSE subjects, InterHigh offers a ‘Learning on Demand’ package which allows students to study just one, two or three subjects. They can also decide on the duration of their enrolment – a week, a half term, a full term or a complete academic year. This is a potential option for students who may wish to resit IGCSE's.
Finally at Key Stage 5 (Sixth Form/Years 12 and 13), InterHigh offers easy access to live and recorded Sixth Form lessons from anywhere in the world, so students can study when and how they want.
There are entry requirements for student to Year 12 with all applicants having achieved five GCSEs (GCSE, IGCSE or an international equivalent) Grade 5 (C) or above including both GCSE English and Maths. In addition, students need to have attained a minimum Grade 6 at GCSE in the subjects chosen.
The Sixth Form curriculum is delivered through a combination of Learn “Master Class” Sessions followed by smaller tutorials and seminars, and is designed with Sixth Form students in mind. The class sizes ensure the subject matter experts deliver engaging and relevant content as well as provide flexibility for personalised learning. Typically, students studying three online A Levels are only committed to 10 hours of live timetabled classes each week.
For students studying in the UAE, AS and A Level options are currently somewhat limited compared with the options available in the UK and other international countries.
Gulf-based students may choose up to five options at AS Level, with a choice from Physics or Psychology, Biology or Economics, Maths, Chemistry, and Computer Science or English Literature.
By contrast UK/other international options much broader - Biology (Intl), Business, Chemistry, Chemistry (Intl), Classical Civilisation, Economics, English Language, French, Further Maths, German, Geography, History, Law, Media, Physics (Intl), Politics, Sociology and Spanish.
No doubt the success of the take up of Years 12 and 13 by Gulf students will determine whether additional subjects will be made available in the future.
According to InterHigh, in 2019, of the school’s graduates who applied to university, 47% went to Russell Group Universities, with 10% studying Medicine or Aerospace Engineering.
Unfortunately the school does not provide details as to the percentage of their graduates who applied for university (nor indeed the actual number who graduated in that year) to enable an assessment of how successful these statistics really indicate graduates have been.
However, there is no question that InterHigh is serious about supporting their students’ university ambitions. The school says that its dedicated team supports students in their applications for university places. Staff help students write their personal statements and support them to submit a strong university (UCAS, Oxbridge, etc) application.
InterHigh has found that universities ‘like’ their students because they can provide evidence of ‘self-directed study’. The school also regularly hosts career talks where students have the opportunity to learn from experts in different fields. Speakers share what inspires them, how they found their passion, and the realities of their profession. Students are encouraged to discuss with speakers and find out further details about a variety of careers.
As an entirely on-line based school, where parents will not have the opportunity to physically meet their children's teachers, and given the concerns about children's access to technology and the internet, InterHigh recognises “its legal and moral duty to promote the well-being of children, protect them from harm and respond to safeguarding concerns”.
Through their day-to-day contact with students and correspondence with families, InterHigh says that its staff at the school have a role to play in noticing safeguarding concerns and working with parents and appropriate agencies.
InterHigh says it is committed to the care, welfare and safety of the students receiving their service. They are committed to carrying out this duty of care through teaching and learning, extra-curricular activities, pastoral care and extended school activities.
In order to achieve this all members of staff, in whatever capacity, “will at all times act proactively in child welfare matters. Where there is a possibility that a child may be at risk of harm we will act immediately”.
The limited feedback that we have received from parents whose children have been educated by InterHigh over the past year or so of the Covid 19 pandemic has largely been very positive. They have appreciated the Gulf timetable and delivery of lessons.
We would very much like to know more about the experience of families in the UAE who have chosen to go this on-line route. Please share your experience with other parents and students by completing our Survey.
InterHigh is an online school that is long-established, and based on anecdotal feedback from parents in the UAE, delivers a high quality programme at least in the Primary section - we have not heard from parents of Secondary school students. Clearly, their programmes offer a flexible and highly affordable package for parents who are seeking a more affordable option during the difficulties of the pandemic, or may feel that this option is better suited to their children for the longer term.
One word of warning. As the school is not UAE-based, though it does have a UK base, we are not aware if the regulators in the UAE would require or accept a transfer certificate to enable children to return to a physical school in the UAE. This is something that we at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com plan to investigate further, and we would advise parents also to check with their local regulator if they do choose this on-line option as a short-term measure with the intention of re-registering their children in a mainstream school in the UAE subsequently.
For students registering for Key Stage 2 (Years 3 to 6), there is a non-returnable Registration Fee of £100 per child, payable upon submission of the Registration Form. Fees for the seven core subjects are £3,150 plus an additional fee of £250 per additional subject.
For students registering for Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9) fees are £4,300 per year for the nine core subjects, plus £250 per additional subject. For Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11), Year 10 fees are £5,150 for the seven core subjects plus £550 per additional subject. (Note direct entry to year 11 is not currently possible).
For Key Stage 5 (Years 12 and 13), fees are £2,450 for one A Level subject, £4,350 for two A Level subjects - £5,400 for three A Level subjects and £6,300 for four A Level subjects. (Note direct entry to Year 13 is not currently possible).
When a place is accepted and if parents choose to pay monthly, a deposit of £1,000 is payable to InterHigh. For children in Key Stages 2 and 3, the deposit will be returned at the end of the school year when any outstanding fees and other charges have been paid. For Key Stage 4 and 5, the deposit will be returned once any outstanding fees and other charges have been paid, and the student has fed back their exam results to the Head of Key Stage 4/5.
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