What sort of student attends Briteschool ?
seven main reasons why students particularly value online education
and supported Home Education as a serious alternative to attending
physical schools and colleges:
- Worldwide residents / expatriates wanting a British-style
education, but not satisfied with local provision, or living too
remote for the desired schooling (and not wanting to have their
children attend a Boarding School, for example)
Disability or health issues - either of the student, or a close
- Confidence issues, perhaps associated with:
- Bullying in a mainstream school
achievers and independent learners, perhaps with less common
- School "refusers"
(for other reasons than above)
- Philosophical, social or religious principles
several of these, in combination.
Because the school community is
geographically-dispersed, sensitised children, for example, usually
find that their confidence increases over time because relationships
develop in a more measured fashion, and at the student's own pace.
Also, as the teacher usually controls the microphone, contact
between students is frequently by texting in the major part - which
means a record can be kept, and possible cases of inappropriate or
misconstrued behaviour noted and dealt with quickly and sensitively.
Just about any internet-ready computer with a
microphone and speakers (or, better, a headset) should work.
The software has been
using standard browsers (MS Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla,
Firefox), and standard operating systems (Windows 98, 2000, WinXP,
Dial-up works fine, from 28.8 kbps, but Broadband
or ISDN / ADSL access is preferable, as dial-up access may cause a
reduction in response speed for some of the applications, and a
lesser quality. Furthermore, dial-up connections are frequently
dropped. However, experience has shown that your ISP (Internet
Service Provider) is at least as likely to slow things down, and
geographical location on the planet may slow things a little, too.
Students (and their siblings and the rest of their family) need to
be told of the importance of NO DISTRACTIONS while in class.
communication software is turned off (for example, MSN, Yahoo
Communicator, emails, other web browsers);
student's mobile phone is turned off;
distractions such as background music are kept to a minimum (certainly we would
recommend having NO TV and NO music on in the same room while lessons are
going on - when speaking on the mic, the teacher and other students frequently
cannot hear what is being said).
What are the advantages of attending Briteschool ?
student has more time with the family, more time for non-school
activities, and can attend school even whilst on vacation.
This form of
schooling is efficient - lessons are spent learning, not with the
teacher dealing with distractions - disciplinary issues, dolling out text books
and homework sheets, collecting them in, and the like.
Briteschool, behaviour can be closely monitored, and records of written communications between
students may be kept (by the student her-/himself if desired).
in class may be revised immediately afterwards, in the student's
free time - and experiments in Science, for example, may
be repeated by the student as often as is wished. Furthermore, the student
gets to do ALL the experiments themself, rather than having one of a
group dominate proceedings.
The scope for copying
peers is reduced.
often cheaper than attending a local expatriate British school, or a
remote Boarding one.
another choice for parents / guardians, or could be used in combination
with other educational provision. And if you don't like what
we're doing, you can leave very easily.
It is a
new and exciting development in education, which the British
Government will no doubt move towards utilising to some degree in
the future, as the overheads are much lower (no school buildings to
source and maintain, virtually no support staff costs).
student is less likely to suffer from exposure to Bird 'Flu or other
airborne or physical nasties.
not spent on getting to and from school, nor on maintaining an
uniform - £1,300 per pupil per year is spent on "everyday school
expenses" according to
recent BBC article.
student gets the sort of food for lunch that the parent wants.
very competent, professional and dedicated teachers.
It is very
easy to withdraw if the student finds online education is not for him/her - or to
take selected subjects instead of the full suite of subjects
offered. We have found that about 5-10% of students find they
don't like this method of education; another 5-10% decide to use the
part-time option instead.
student has perhaps too much time with the family, and gets bored as
there may be few non-school activities available nearby.
teacher cannot see the child, so an individual's attention in a
larger online class may drift. The student may have
distracting music or software on while supposedly interacting in
the lesson. Thus, we will keep class sizes to twelve,
maximum, for Primary-aged children; and to no more than fifteen for
Secondary students. (Ideally, class sizes will be ten and
twelve for each, respectively). With distractions, there is an
element of trust: parents / guardians should monitor for any
distractions, as Briteschool teachers cannot.
Socialisation opportunities may be reduced - fewer peers, and less
face-to-face contact with others. Certain norms of behaviour and
dress may not be observed and learnt from.
to illness may be reduced over the longer term, as the student is
less often exposed to viruses, microbes and the like.
recommend regular out-of-Briteschool social activities for your
child to help offset the above two arguable "lackings".
However, several of our parents have commented that their child has
shown improvements in being much more relaxed, and have a new-found
confidence in their day-to-day interactions with adults and peers.
Their child is now eager to learn. The reasons parents give: a
result of "de-schooling" and no longer suffering at the hands of
such as text books and exercise books, have to be bought by the
student, adding to the cost of provision. But they are kept in
good, graffiti-free condition, and may be later used by a sibling,
or sold on to other students.
book maintenance and checking is problematic - work tends to be
performed electronically; but most of the exams the students will
sit remain paper-based, potentially putting e-learners at a
At Briteschool, students are encouraged to work on paper as often as
possible, and to scan or
take a digital photograph of their work for submission. This
is one area of vital importance, and in which the support of the parent / guardian is
is closely monitored, and records of written communications between
students may be kept - some may feel this is encroaching on privacy.
However, records of communications, when taken, are not kept
Most times, only the immediately-previous-lesson's text record is kept, and
Some subjects do not lend themselves to online teaching - we do not
offer Art, Handicraft-based subjects, or Music, for example.
Of those we do offer, Science is perhaps the most challenging -
experiments in Science are often simplified versions
of what would be performed in most schools - there is simply not the
equipment and chemicals necessary in most homes. However,
usually online files exist, which are often more visually
stimulating. These files and the home experiments may be repeated as many times as the student
requires or finds stimulating, and the student gets the benefit of
hands-on experience on their own, rather than as part of a group.
It is more
expensive than attending a Government / LEA-funded school (which is
free). But not so much more expensive when you subtract the
costs of getting to school, school dinners, school uniform, and some
additional supplementary costs that schools add on. See also
recent BBC article which states that £1,300 per pupil per year is
spent on "everyday school expenses". Factor in the consequent
reduced "need" for a second car for many families, and Briteschool
makes good economic and environmental sense !
It is a
new development in education, and is therefore comparatively
unregulated (more so than is the case with fee-collecting schools in the UK or
abroad). Briteschool is registering with bodies that will
oversee our educational provision.
At present, class times are least
convenient for students living in the US. We have scheduled
some classes to be at a more
convenient time for students based on the East Coast of the US.
However, we have not been able to accommodate all enquiries.
How do I use "Skype" ?
Click on one of the links to "Skype",
then follow the on-screen instructions. You need speakers to hear
the other person; a microphone and earphones (a headset is
perhaps more convenient) to talk to them - it
is a secure, on-line, free VoIP telephony service, with useful additional
"Skype" allows multiple users to call-conference,
and allows free calls to any other "Skype" user anywhere in the
world. It also allows you to own a number in another country
that locals can call - many expatriate Brits have a UK "Skype"
(Manchester !) number that friends and relatives may easily and
cheaply call from their UK telephones.
What is an ECRB check ?
An ECRB check is an Enhanced Criminals Record Bureau disclosure
check, meeting higher levels of scrutiny than an ordinary CRB check.
See the page on CRB-checks for schools on the Government's
Do you use only Qualified Teachers ?
We believe the best way to educate your child is to use
Qualified and Experienced Teachers. If we want to use a teacher who is
qualified but has no experience, we will tell you in advance. If we use an
unqualified teacher, we will ask you if that's okay, well in advance.
Are you Mac compatible ?
Yes. We have tested extensively using MacOS-X
Is your software secure ?
Our software is the most secure software we know of amongst the
live online schools in the World at the moment. Whilst no
software is perfectly secure, students using our software CANNOT be
contacted by other persons via the classroom software whilst in class.
The FBI and the US Air Force use the same software for their
meetings, we believe.
Why do you use a microphone to teach ?
To keep the students engaged, as simply texting and / or using
presentation software is simply not stimulating enough. Previous experience
has shown that it is difficult to keep students on-task and
responsive without continuous microphone contact and interaction.
Do you have any private tuition groups available for my child to join ?
Possibly - the situation changes from week-to-week
email or call for the latest information.
What if my child does not want to use a microphone ?
That's fine - they don't have to. It's nice to have two-way
verbal communication, but texting the answers is usually good enough
! Several of our students are silent :)
Do you do an online education for adults
Yes. What do you have in mind ?
From January, we plan to offer the ECDL
(European Computer Driving Licence). We could offer classes in
French or any of the subjects we offer to IGCSE - Maths, Double
Award Science, or the individual subjects (Chemistry, Physics,
Biology), History, Geography, English Language and possibly also
Spanish. Oh, and German, too. All we'd need is four students and a
regular slot in the timetable in the evenings.
Beginners' language courses would be shorter and
more frequent - every term, 20 hours (2 hours x 10 weeks).
We also could offer online tuition in other subject
areas, and to more advanced levels - for example, Chartered
Institute of Marketing (CIM) professional modules, and Chartered
Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) professional courses.
Contact us to state what
course you would like us to offer, and we'll see if we can organise
I click on a link and get a 404 error
in this site ?
The site pages get updated all the time. For
important changes, the page is renamed to indicate a change.
This is because old pages may persist and give out-of-date
information. Go back to the Home page,
and click the Refresh button at the top of your browser window.
If this doesn't work, and for external links that
don't work, please tell us via the suggestions
page - thanks !
Are you flexible in your prices ?
We are negotiable on payment schedules - if it would be easier
for you to pay over twelve months, rather than nine, or all at once, please discuss.
Also, we could be contacted if you run into financial difficulties -
continuous education of your child is more important in the longer term !
For one-to-one tuition, or tuition in
small groups, prices are negotiated directly with the subject
teacher, not with Briteschool. So, if you pay for ten
weeks' tuition at two hours per week in advance, discounts may be