Learning without limits: How flexible schooling sets mobile students up for success

Travelling the world offers great benefits for young people and their futures. Ironically, one of the most common downsides of moving your family around has long been the challenge of securing a good education. That’s why we are seeing so many globetrotting families turn to modern, flexible schooling online. It’s setting students up for success in more ways than one, says Catriona Olsen, executive head of King’s InterHigh.

Image of students remote learning

This article is taken from the Spring 2024 issue of

Think Global People magazine

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View your copy of the Spring 2024 issue of Think Global People magazine.
Finding a quality school is rarely easy for globally mobile families, even when moving to an area with multiple international schools to choose from. The reality is that each move often requires an educational sacrifice, whether that’s losing valuable learning time because of waiting lists, having to change curriculums midway through a course, or compromising on your standards for schooling. The challenge becomes even greater when you’re moving mid-year, with little notice or to a remote or rural area. Offering the flexibility to learn from anywhere in the world, online schools are finally changing this reality.Global accessibility is one of the most obvious benefits of flexible learning for families who move around. No matter where you are or where you’re moving to next, going online means your child gets to keep the same standard of education, the same curriculum and the same teachers all the way through their school years. Virtual schools also have the flexibility to enrol students as soon as they move and get them into lessons within days.For so many King’s InterHigh students, learning online is a rare opportunity to get a world-class British or IB education that’s consistent wherever they go. When Laura returned from Japan to her small town in Brazil, her parents couldn’t find anywhere she could continue studying for her IB Diploma. Thankfully, a counsellor from her previous school recommended King’s InterHigh, where Laura is now nearing the end of her IB studies and preparing for university abroad.

Diverse, inclusive and a sense of belonging

The benefits of flexible learning go far beyond global accessibility. Geographical diversity, for example, creates a more enriched learning experience. With timetables available across three worldwide time zones and students in over 130 countries, King’s InterHigh is a truly international school experience where every student has their own insights. These diverse perspectives bring an incredible richness to the learning experience. Why just read about mountains in geography, for example, when a student could showcase photos of their home in the Alps instead? As students collaborate with their peers, their minds are opened to a new world of understanding that’s crucial for success in an increasingly globalised workforce.This level of connection is just as important outside the classroom. School is about more than just the academic experience. Friendships are another common struggle for students who frequently move around. Not only does flexible online learning reduce that sense of isolation and rootlessness by allowing students to keep the same supportive community of friends with every move, but also that flexibility often affords even greater social opportunity. Take King’s InterHigh student Alexander, for example. He spends his downtime between classes as part of a youth football team in his current home of Dubai. Without rigid schedules that keep students at their desks all day, there’s more time to hang out with fellow expats, absorb language and culture from local children, or even meet up with nearby families who are also studying online.Combined with the numerous online clubs and events we run at King’s InterHigh each term, there’s no shortage of ways to make friends and build networks for life. One of our earliest students, Dr Kieran Bjergstrom, still keeps in touch with his King’s InterHigh friends a decade after graduating.

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Flexibility and choice for every student

The word ‘flexible’ doesn’t just apply to location or timetables. It also applies to the way school works. At an online school, students can communicate in other ways than just talking in safe online text chats, for example, or the virtual reality ‘playgrounds’ learners enjoy at King’s InterHigh. Students who are shy, anxious, or have additional needs can also use these methods to participate in the classroom.
No child is left behind, including in their academic progress. For some, the highlight of flexible learning is the ability to revisit material, for example. Students can watch recordings of any of their lessons at any time. This means they can study challenging topics until they stick, while maintaining all the benefits of their live, collaborative and interactive online classes. Everyone has their strengths and learns best at a different pace; when school is flexible enough to meet each young person’s needs, every student gets the guidance and structure they need to personally succeed.Online school students continue to prove that a flexible education like this can have an incredible impact on achievement and future success. Alumnus Thomas loved King’s InterHigh in part because he was able to keep up with his love of mountain running between classes. Armed with that school-life balance, he achieved four A*s at A level, going on to the University of Cambridge. Achievement doesn’t have to be synonymous with the high-pressure, high-stress environment that often comes to mind. More time for leisure or self-care and more support to learn at your pace all help to equip students with the motivation and confidence to study hard and excel.Of course, with the flexibility to accommodate any need or goal, students can also use that extra time in their day to take up even more pursuits. From training to internships, the activities students need to take up to get a head start on their dreams often clash with school hours. Whether a learner wants to take part in sports competitions or shadow a doctor as a medicine degree aspirant, flexible learning empowers young people to take any opportunity that comes their way, without their education suffering. And, in a world where competition for coveted aspirations is only growing stronger, that ability to advance and get ahead is of significant benefit.Ultimately, a flexible education is an education without limitations. The ability to study top qualifications from anywhere, master your learning, maintain your wellbeing and pursue your passions is a recipe for any student’s success and an opportunity we’re delighted to be able to offer King’s InterHigh’s families around the world.

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