Home schooling enters the 21st century
A Levels are the gold standard in the UK, and are the keys to a university education. Universities make offers to students in terms of their A Level results, e.g. AAA, AAB, BBB, etc. So they are extremely important qualifications and proper preparation is indispensable. For the majority, two years are spent at school preparing for A Levels. For those who cannot attend school, are home-schooled or want extra tuition, distance learning is becoming a more viable option with the advent of educational technologies.
It’s one thing to take a self-paced online course to prepare for an exam. But the key word there is ‘self-paced’. If a student is struggling, their motivation and success levels are likely drop off, even to the extent of abandoning the course. This is why many eLearning-only courses experience high drop-out rates. For students who need guidance and encouragement, online lessons with live teachers can keep them on track and lead to higher success rates.
One British school has taken this several steps further and is offering fully-taught A Level courses leading to the same qualifications a student would get at a conventional school, but designed for study at home. These are live classrooms brought together by educational technology. Students are geographically dispersed but the school itself is physically based in Cambridge and thus able to draw on the town’s academic and educational excellence. Class sizes are small (8 being the norm) and students are able to interact fully with the teacher as they would in a real classroom. They also run an online secondary school, Cambridge Home School, which prepares students for GCSE exams (O Levels) taken before A Levels.
The school offers A Levels in Art, Physics, Maths, Chemistry, Biology, History, Geography, English Literature, English Language, French, Spanish, Psychology, Business Studies, Law, Sociology and more. As well as A Levels, it prepares students for other important qualifications such as BTEC and the school's best-selling educational product, its International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) range of courses.
Cambridge Online Education is the brainchild of Dr Troy Page, founder of the Online College of Art and Design and an advocate of home schooling. He told us: ‘Online education has never been so popular and more and more families are embracing the opportunity for their children to enjoy a friendly, safe and personalised education from their own home. Many of the common problems associated with mainstream schools; bullying, growing class sizes, failure to recruit specialist teachers, class disruption, truancy, poor school communication and reporting, inability to cater for special educational needs and gifted pupils, lack of good school places etc. are things of the past.’
‘Cambridge Online Education is offering parents a clear choice between a mass education project conceived of in the mid-19th century where children today find themselves on production lines designed to produce workers, or 21st-century personalised education designed to develop and nurture each individual pupils' talent and creativity.'