Discussion in 'FAQ: Quick Questions and Answers' started by Shan and John, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. Shan and John Heads of School


    How does it work? How much does it cost? How old does my child need to be? Which subjects do you teach? What about Exams? What about social skills? What kind of reasons make people choose an online school? How did First College begin? So be honest, what's the down side? Er - why is your website a bit old fashioned?

    -0 How does it work?
    The student attends classes for three one hour sessions through the day 09.30 - 14.00 hours (UK time). They study in a small group (6 -12) with a teacher during each lesson.
    Homework is done by a special system rather like email.
  2. Shan and John Heads of School

    -0 How much does it cost? - £220
    a month (12 months)
    £187 for a second child (15% discount)

    Your fees are GUARANTEED not to go up once you start.

    -0 Do you do reductions?
    No. We keep our fees as low as we possibly can but we do need to pay our hardworking teachers properly. If they have to do too many other jobs to make up their money they won't work so efficiently and caringly for you.
  3. Shan and John Heads of School

    -0 How old does my child need to be?
    Minimum age 10 going up to 17yrs.
    The minimum age is because of one hour lessons which younger children find too demanding.
    The maximum age is because of social issues with changing attitudes for young adults.

    -0 We live in XXX timezone - can we join First College?
    Wherever you are you can join us.
    Our main lessons are held on UK times from 9.30am - 2pm.
    If you live in eastern Europe, India, or the Far East, your child can attend classes later in the day, perhaps in the evening. They would do the previous day's homework earlier in the day.

    If you live too far outside the UK timezone to attend live classes we have a Timezone service for you. We make a record of the lessons each day and send them to you. So you get a living lesson with real students, not just a pack of standard study materials.
    You can also mix n match the services. For example you might find it fits your Timezone for your child to attend the first two lessons, but our third lesson is too late at night. So we'll send you the transcript for that lesson.
    The student can also contact us, or other students on our private messenger service. We're available from 09.30 - 17.00 (9.30am -5pm) Friday midday - 17.00 (5pm)

    To convert times from UK times given go here:

    You can also get free software to place a double clock on the computer for your child.
  4. Shan and John Heads of School

    -0 Which subjects do you teach?
    All the main academic subjects.
    English Language/ English Literature/ Biology/ Chemistry/ Physics/ History/ Geography/ IT&Computers/ French/ Spanish/ Philosophy & Society weekly seminars.
    For a list of what each level of study offers see this page.

    -0 Can we take just one or two subjects?
    No. We are not a tutoring agency. Students take a full educational programme.
    Where there is a serious health or discipline problem we provide a Restricted Programme for homework. Normally English, Maths plus one subject of choice - but this is flexible.
  5. Shan and John Heads of School

    -0 What about Exams?
    We prepare for the IGCSE exams by Edexcel. We help you book to take the exams at a centre near you and the student does the exams in the normal way, only on a computer.
    Exam courses require five terms of study e.g. Sept-Dec + Jan-April + May-July + Sept-Dec + Jan-April.

    We have three different Exam Programmes.
    1. STANDARD. Five subjects including English, Maths, one Science, two Options.
    2. RESTRICTED. Less than 5 subjects, as little as one perhaps. This is for those with health issues or serious life struggles. Exam level subjects can also be studied without taking any exams.
    3. ADVANCED. More than 5 subjects, recommended maximum is 8. It is better to gain high grades in all subjects than a bundle of rubbish grades with only one or two good ones. There are no exam results in the world worth risking health or mental stability.

    A programme can be paced so that a smaller number of subjects are taken at one time.
  6. Shan and John Heads of School

    -0 What about social skills? Isn't this isolating?
    No not at all, In fact it is very lively and highly social. We have to work very hard at training in social skills because that is at the centre of education. Without courtesy and respect proper lessons cannot happen.
    We are extremely proud of how polite and helpful our students are. Newcomers quickly pick up on what is expected. Although we are friendly and patient, we also know when and how to be firm.

    For us it actually seems strange that people think an online school might be 'impersonal' - the reality can be for us, very intensively social as we support all the different personal needs mixing together. Students chat away outside classes as well, often creating their own projects.
  7. Shan and John Heads of School

    -0 What kind of reasons mean people choose an online school?
    The big reason is bullying. It's a national epidemic, but small groups 6 - 12 make the vital difference to ensure safe space.
    Next come health barriers, physical or personal.
    Some families have more than one home, or the family moves about.
    A child might be extra sensitive or a high flyer academically. Then there are families who are very independent minded, a bit different. Some young people have an important dedication like a sport, dance, arts, where shorter hours and flexible location is a big help.
  8. Shan and John Heads of School

    -0 How did First College begin?
    We wanted a proper education for our son. We wanted strict teaching but with plenty of respect and friendliness and fun. We wanted him to be free to be himself but learn mature social skills.
    We were already experienced teachers, as well as home educators. We had been teaching online for about 7 years. So these skills came together for what our son needed, and helped a lot of other young people too.
    That lucky boy is now himself an experienced online teacher in First College, as well as doing his BA Hons. degree part time at London University.
  9. Shan and John Heads of School

    -0 So be honest, what's the down side?

    One effect of studying online is that it doesn't train in good handwriting! By the time you do exams you need to opt to do them on a computer. You'll still be able to do everyday things like writing a card or a list, or fill out a basic form, but any serious work or letter writing will need the keyboard.

    There's a kind of good down side. When our students leave they are more advanced academically than their age group in ordinary school - quite a nice problem to have. For example we find young people from ordinary schools have usually not been taught formal English writing. We also train a lot in independent responsibility.
    Our students also expect to be treated decently both by teachers and other students. So they tend to insist on it!
  10. Shan and John Heads of School

    -0 How do I book?
    1. Use the CONTACT page - top menu bar, or on the side. Have a chat by phone to see if we're the right solution for your child. We do not pressure you with sales talk.
    2. Complete the questionnaire we send you, by email attachment.
    3. Pay £100 admin, plus £220 as your first monthly instalment (Paypal or bank transfer).
    That's it.
  11. Shan Admin

    -0 Er - why is your website a bit old fashioned?
    It's deliberate. This is not a pressured, commercial project. We are not corporate executives driven by profit. This is a small human style project so we want that to come across to you.
    Most families looking at online education are not actually interested in geeky software. They don't want complicated computer systems. They want the right kind of human attention for their child, with solid teaching experience. That's what we're about.

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