FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions:


​~ What are the technical requirements for taking your courses?

In order to connect to our course site, you will need to have access to a computer and the internet. We recommend the purchase of a headset with mic, which should cost no more than £10. 

~ Which online service do you use? 
Dreaming Spires uses CourseSites (CS) by Blackboard to host the on-line classes. This service allows synchronous (live and interactive) webinars, as well as asynchronous ("not at the same time") learning experiences such as accessing the online course materials, taking part in various forums, and asking questions at any other time that suits you. Both types of learning are key to getting the most from the course.

~ What if I can’t get online easily? What if my computer is older? What if my internet connection isn’t very good?

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that he/she has access to a high-speed, reliable, and consistent internet access.  Usually, if you can use Skype, you can use CS. Sometimes problems do crop up, but the CS support page is excellent and can be accessed any time during the week to sort out anything, and includes a Web Chat option.
At the very first meeting, the instructor will conduct an orientation session to highlight the important parts of the CS environment and to explain the course structure.

~ What is your Attendance Policy?

Enrolling in any class requires a commitment. Regular, weekly attendance is expected for all courses. However, we know that absences do occur for reasons beyond the student's control. We are able to make class recordings on an as-needed basis. In addition, all documents and presentations referred to in class will be stored on our course page for asynchronous access outside of our weekly meeting.  
As a courtesy to the instructor and fellow students, please inform your instructor of any absences, planned or otherwise, as soon as possible.

~ What is your Grading Policy?


The details of how we calculate student's grade is explained in the very first webinar of the year in each course, and reiterated each week, because it varies between the subjects. In the main, students will be assigned homework every week throughout the year, and at the end of the year, their grade is calculated on the percentage of submissions. 100%-90% is an A, 89%-80% a B, etc. Anything below 65% is considered an "audit" as long as students regularly attended the webinars and contributed to class discussion.

Sometimes we are asked about the quality of submissions and whether or not that's assessed. The short answer is that we believe the regular and consistent submission of homework will see a student progress, and that we're wanting to see this maturation more than taking an average of grades based on where a student began and ended up. If a student's homework is poor, weak, or lacking, we will encourage the student through comments in the webinars and messages via email or as comments on the work, plus we hold up models of good practice each week by awarding medals to students who are producing the standard we're aiming for.

Students who are consistently underperforming will be contacted, and if there's no change, parents will be notified.

However, parents are encouraged throughout the year to keep tabs on their child's progress by viewing the homework that's being submitted. This is always available on the course website as long as the student is registered with us for that year.

The policy differs for writing extensions in English and Ancient History, where projects are more closely monitored and graded as they stack up against a mark scheme.

~ What is your Safeguarding Policy?

My own children are students on these courses, so I do my utmost to protect their privacy, and I'll do the same for your children. There are three main policies toward this end. First, we only ever register a student by first name/last initial so their identity remains obscured, and we limit peer-to-peer interaction to the private discussion forums on the course's secure environment. In other words, no emails are shared. Second, we encourage parents to observe the live webinars with their students, not only from a safety point of view, but from the desire to see parents connect with their teens' studies. Third, our tutors are personally known to us, are credentialed, and have DBS checks as part of their full-time employment elsewhere. If you have a concern about your child's welfare on this course, we would hope that you will contact us about it as soon as possible.

~ What happens if a class is unexpectedly cancelled without notice?

If, for any reason, an online class meeting needs to be cancelled, your instructor will make every attempt to contact students enrolled in the course as soon as possible. In the event of website issues, such as a power outage or CS glitch, then the instructor will continue to try to get online until 15 minutes after the main course was due to begin. If there is still no success, then the webinar will be deemed to be cancelled for the day, and the syllabus will be altered accordingly. (We usually call these "snow days", and simply extend lessons past the scheduled end of term; fortunately, they are rare).

~ Can I share the Instructor-Created Course Documents with other people?
As these are class notes which have been written by the instructor, it would be against copyright law to share the documents without the author’s permission. Please do not share Dreaming Spires or instructor-created course documents with persons outside of the Dreaming Spires class environment.

~ What is your Payment Policy?

Dreaming Spires Home Learning requires a £30 non-refundable reservation fee per course upon receipt of your invoice. This fee reserves your child's seat in any enrolled courses and covers admin costs.  After the enrolment deadline, there is an additional £20 late fee applied. The remainder of the tuition fees are billed approximately one month prior to classes starting. Direct bank transfer is the preferred method of payment, but we can accept personal cheques. Paypal payments will incur a small transaction fee. All balances must be paid before the beginning of term.
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~ Do you provide a Sibling Discount?

Our pricing structure is family friendly in that we offer a 10% discount for any family who signs up for five courses or more. Please contact via the Contact Form in the sidebar to the right if you have questions. Note: our sibling discount policy applies to main course only, and not the add-on extensions.

~Do you have any other Discount Programs?

Yes! We offer referral discounts. For each paying, enrolled referral, we offer a gift certificate equivalent to a part refund on the reservation fee. There is no limit on these referral discounts down to a balance of 0.

We also offer multiple course enrolment discounts. In other words, if your teen enrols in at least three Dreaming Spires course in a year (for example, English, Spanish, and Biology), your child will receive a 5% reduction on the cost of each course. This discount applies to main course only and does not apply to add-on extensions.

Finally, we also offer one free main course for those who want to serve as a "teacher's assistant" (TA) for a course. 

~ What is your Course Withdrawal Policy?

Any withdrawals before 1st October are refunded 100% of the course fees, less the registration fee. January enrolments have until 1st February.
~ I have a conflict with the course meeting time. Will you offer additional sessions?

Typical class size for each course is limited to a maximum of 20 students. The typical minimum required is 10 students. If there is enough interest, and the instructor for the course is available, we will consider opening up a second session for the course, at a different time.

~How do I enrol?

Just use our handy registration form, or send an email to dreamingspireshomelearning <at> gmail<dot>com and Dr Patrick will be happy to assist you in the process.

~ How do I stay up to date with your course offerings?

We're on Facebook!  You can find us here. "Like" our FB page or find us on Twitter: @dreaminspiresHL for our updates, prizes, contests, and discounts.

~ About your data:


Where Dreaming Spires Home Learning (DSHL) receives any personal data (as defined by the General Data Protection Act 2018) (“GDPR”)) from a client, potential client, or minors therefrom, it shall ensure that it fully complies with the provisions of GDPR and will only deal with the data to fulfil its obligations. This will normally be limited to communication between DSHL (or any of its tutors as relevant to fulfilling the contract for services) and the client/the student, and the conducting financial transactions as necessary to effect or terminate said contract. All personal data acquired by DSHL from the client shall only be used for the purposes of this Agreement and shall not be further processed or disclosed without the client's consent. DSHL shall take all reasonable precautions to preserve the integrity and prevent any corruption or loss, damage or destruction of the data and information, and if after six years the client directs DSHL to erase all information and data that he/she has provided to the company, then DSHL will do so.

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