Legal references on this page apply to England.

We recommend that the Government place a duty on every local authority to ensure access to local centres for home-educated young people to sit accredited public examinations. (Paragraph 43) Education Committee Report Support Home Education

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted: When we inspect local authorities we will be asking are local authorities supporting children at home and funding access to qualifications and examinations

Exam centre run by home educators for home educators, Hampshire + Home education Exams tutor groups, Hampshire and Hampshire/Berkshire border More + home education exam classes running from Sept 2015 on the Hampshire/Berkshire border, close to Basingstoke, Reading and Newbury. J6 M3/ J10/11 M4 Monday June 29th 2015: meet the tutors and find out more, contact jakimparsons@gmail.com. GCSE Drama, IGCSE Environmental Management, GCSE Maths [2 year course], IGCSE Chemistry, IGCSE English Literature, GCSE Classical Civilisation, IGCSE English Language

statistics graph APPG discusses Exams   Special Needs Access Arrangements (special accommodation in exams eg extra time, reader, scribe, rest breaks, modified paper) Assessment for £100
Suggested Exams FAQ For Local Authorities   Exams Report   exam hall

Home educated young people take exams as private candidates which involves selecting an exam board with suitable courses and finding an exam centre. State schools don't generally let young people who aren't registered pupils go in to sit exams. Home educators must either find a centre which will deal with controlled assessment for GCSEs (virtually impossible) or find a centre to sit IGCSEs.

DfE explains how external candidates results don't affect schools November 29th 2013

science lab Pembrokeshire College

Some home educating families find that it is not necessary to take as many exams as children do in school and there may be flexibility or non-standard entry where colleges understand more about the applicant's background. Home educators also tend to begin exams earlier. In some cases it's been possible for home educated young people to sit exams as external candidates in private schools. Home educating families tend progress through the course material by self-study working through recommended textbooks. Families can also set up their own tutor groups.

The reason why home educators tend to use centres which are already up and running rather than setting up their own registered exam centre are to do with the rules for becoming an exam centre

Online A Levels and Science Practicals

http://online.pembrokeshire.ac.uk/home-ed.html Online A Levels + Science Practicals with Pembrokeshire College.

Alternative Qualifications and Courses

links to Access to Music Crest Awards (Science); John Muir Awards (Environment, conservation); Smallpeice Trust (Engineering, short residential courses); University of Kent Space School (Astronomy, short residential course); University of Leicester Space School; ASDAN awards

Exams Wiki

Home educators' Exams Yahoo Group
Home Educators Exams Wiki updated address August 19th 2014

See also Exams Report 2014 for links to LA web pages for home educators on topics such as careers advice, exams, raising the participation age, 14-16 college access and work experience

New Style GCSEs and A Levels

In July 2014 the Department for Education announced that GCSE alternative qualifications - including IGCSEs - will not count towards school performance tables in 2017. More CIE Response

A Level Reform by Laura McInerney, November 2014

In June 2014 Ofqual proposed "toughening up" some GCSE, AS-level and A-level subjects while scrapping 24 others entirely by 2018 More

New GCSEs will be assessed mainly by exams and will only be tiered where one set of assessments won't work across the full ability range. New GCSEs will also be graded 9 to 1.

Bigger Maths May 2014 DfE Statement on English Syllabus May 29th 2014

Ofqual new assessment arrangements GCSE, A level and AS published April 9th 2014


A growing number of home educating families opt to take IGCSEs because of the difficulties of arranging approved supervision for controlled assessments in GCSEs. International GCSEs or IGCSEs are predominantly exam-based ie the candidate is not required to submit coursework as part of the overall mark scheme. The main exam boards or awarding bodies for IGCSEs are CIEand Pearson Edexcel. More exam centres are registered with Edexcel though this does not necessarily mean that the centre will accept private candidates for IGCSEs. Some private schools and maintained schools also prefer IGCSEs as can be seen in this Guardian article, October 2012.

Compulsory English and Maths 16+

Nick Boles Letter IGCSEs

The new 16+ funding arrangements mean that "from August 2014, the 16-19 study programme requirement that students should continue to study mathematics and English if they did not achieve a GCSE grade C in these subjects by the age of 16 will become a condition of funding". This is explained in the Government's Funding Formula Overview and in this EFA letter March 2014

This could potentially have caused a problem for home educated students who are generally not able to take GCSE English because of the issue of controlled assessments

We are pleased to report that the Department for Education has now recognised that IGCSEs will count as equivalent "for the foreseeable future." Please see the letter from the Minister for Skills and Equalities which can also be seen as a larger jpg here or downloaded as a pdf here

The letter says "Thank you for your letter ... about the treatment of students holding unregulated IGCSEs in English and mathematics, and the implementation of the Education and Funding Agency Condition of Funding. I am pleased to confirm that for the foreseeable future, English and mathematics IGCSEs will count as equivalent to GCSEs for the purposes of recognising prior attainment in the 16 to 19 English and mathematics Condition of Funding. This means that students who hold IGCSEs in English and mathematics at grades A* -C will not have to continue their study of these subjects when they enter Further Education at the age of 16. Department for Education officials will update their published guidance to reflect this position. Nick Boles, Minister for Skills and Equalities, November 2014

The DfE web page was updated in February 2015 to include "unregulated IGCSEs" Link The DfE web page now also says that CIE O Levels will also be sufficient for prior attainment in English and maths.

GCSE Condition of Funding Exemption

There is a small number of students who are not able to take a GCSE or a stepping stone qualification, particularly those with multiple and complex needs. These students can be exempt from studying qualifications but appropriate literacy and numeracy should still be included in their study programme. An institution may decide that a student with learning difficulties cannot study maths or English at GCSE or stepping stone level. In this case, in addition to the student’s statement of Special Educational Need, a Learning Difficulty Assessment or an Education Health and Care Plan, the institution must hold an evidenced assessment that the student is not able to study these subjects. This assessment needs to be authorised by an appropriate professional in the institution, such as the head of SEN or Student Support. The assessment should be structured and documented.

Controlled Assessment

Private candidates need to find a registered centre that will:

  1. accept them for all elements of Controlled Assessment Task Taking and Task Marking, including preparation and analysis prior to the Task Taking
  2. undertake authentication of Controlled Assessment Tasks
  3. keep their work securely between sessions
  4. undertake the assessment of any Controlled Assessment Tasks.

Read more here

College Fees Can Be Funded When Home Educated Children are Under 16

From September 2013, colleges can admit 14-16s directly Where individual home educated learners below the age of 16 begin a college course in September 2013 the college will be able to claim the course fees directly from the Government, irrespective of whether the college signs up to the whole new 14-16s direct admission scheme this year.

No More GCSE Re-takes + End of November Exams (except for Maths and English)

From 2014 the only GCSEs open for resits in November will be English and Maths

timetable for introduction new GCSEs updated May 14th 2015

End Modular A Levels

timetable for changes AS and A Level updated June 2015


Speaking and Listening Component

Speaking and listening assessments will not count towards final grades in GCSE English and English language for awards made from Summer 2014. More

Changes to A Level Resits

No January resits from 2014 onwards End January retakes for A Levels

Open University for Under-18s

Some home educated young people under the age of 18 take courses with the Open University and obtain sufficient credits either to continue with a full OU degree or to apply to a bricks and mortar university. Funding has changed in England. More information here
Tamsyn Fortune Wood: OU as route to Birmingham City University
Home Education Exams Wiki: experiences of Open University
Open University Policy Under 18s
OU Fees
Alex Dowty: OU as route to Oxford

Ofsted Guidance

Click here for Ofsted guidance on home education to inspectors, April 2015.

Link Reference

This article is http://edyourself.org/articles/exams.php. The following links to other websites are contained in the article, displayed as citations to aid you in printing the document.

  1. Education Committee Report Support Home Education http://edyourself.org/articles/edcomsupporthomeed.php
  2. Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/Education/EdC130213CORRECTEDTRANSCRIPT.doc
  3. More http://edyourself.org/faregos.pdf
  4. Assessment for £100 http://edyourself.org/articles/allpartygrouphomeeducation.php
  5. Suggested Exams FAQ For Local Authorities http://edyourself.org/articles/examsfaq.php
  6. Exams Report http://edyourself.org/articles/examsreport.php
  7. DfE explains how external candidates results don't affect schools http://edyourself.org/articles/privatecandidates.php
  8. the rules for becoming an exam centre http://www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office/general-regulations
  9. http://online.pembrokeshire.ac.uk/home-ed.html http://online.pembrokeshire.ac.uk/home-educated/
  10. links to http://edyourself.org/articles/hesfestalks2014.php#14-19
  11. Home Educators Exams Wiki http://www.home-education-exams.org.uk
  12. Exams Report 2014 http://edyourself.org/councilexamsupport.pdf
  13. CIE Response http://www.cie.org.uk/news/news-details/view/cambridge-responds-to-dfe-decision-on-cambridge-igcse-r
  14. A Level Reform http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/nov/18/half-baked-a-level-reform-rushed-election?CMP=twt_g
  15. More http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10873368/Ofqual-dozens-of-soft-GCSEs-and-A-levels
  16. graded 9 to 1 http://policyblog.aqa.org.uk/2014/04/08/grading-reformed-gcses/
  17. Ofqual new assessment arrangements GCSE, A level and AS http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20141031163546/http://ofqual.gov.uk/news/gcse-a-level-as-q
  18. JCQ Rules for Becoming an Exam Centre http://www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office/general-regulations
  19. AQA web page for private candidates http://www.aqa.org.uk/student-support/private-candidates
  20. List of exam centres used by AQA private candidates in the past http://www.aqa.org.uk/student-support/private-candidates/finding-a-school-or-college
  21. Edexcel Private Candidates FAQ http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/support/support-topics/understanding-our-qualifications/where-c
  22. Edexcel Private Candidate Centres http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/support/support-topics/understanding-our-qualifications/where-c
  23. Past Papers and Mark Schemes AQA http://www.aqa.org.uk/exams-administration/exams-guidance/find-past-papers-and-mark-schemes
  24. Xtreme Papers http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/support/support-topics/exams/past-papers.html/student
  25. Home Education English Literature/Language Distance Learning http://www.catherinemooneytutoring.co.uk/
  26. Home Education Science Distance Learning http://www.sammartell.co.uk/
  27. Eddis Tutorial Guide for Private Candidates http://www.eddistutorial.com/private-candidates.html
  28. Eddis Tutorial FAQ Exams Private Candidates http://www.eddistutorial.com/frequently-asked-questions-faq.html
  29. Eddis Tutorial Private Candidate Exam Centres UK http://www.eddistutorial.com/private-candidate-centres-in-the-uk.html
  30. Home Ed Friendly Centre, Wales http://homeedpartners.co.uk/
  31. Forum for Private Candidates http://studentforums.biz/
  32. Home Ed Friendly Centre, Wales 2 http://online.pembrokeshire.ac.uk/faq.html
  33. Edexcel now Pearson Edexcel http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/about-us/news-and-media.news.html?facets=all&pageTypes=press-re
  34. Exams jargon explained http://www.examofficers.org.uk/jargon-buster
  35. Northstar CIE IGCSE Exam Centre http://examswithnsw.org/fees/
  36. Student Room Discussion A Levels as Private Candidate http://ankisrs.net/
  37. this Guardian article, October 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_General_Certificate_of_Secondary_Education
  38. the issue of controlled assessments http://edyourself.org/articles/exams.php#controlledassessment
  39. here http://edyourself.org/controlass.pdf
  40. colleges can admit 14-16s directly http://edyourself.org/articles/WolfReport.php#14-16scollege
  41. More http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20141031163546/http://ofqual.gov.uk/news/changes-to-gcse-e
  42. End January retakes for A Levels http://www.studential.com/further-education/A-levels/A-level-retakes
  43. Tamsyn Fortune Wood: OU as route to Birmingham City University http://www.home-education.org.uk/articles/article-open-university.pdf
  44. Home Education Exams Wiki: experiences of Open University http://www.nwilts-he.org.uk/he_exams_wiki/index.php?title=Personal_experiences_of_home_educators
  45. Open University Policy Under 18s http://www.open.ac.uk/students/charter/essential-documents
  46. OU Fees http://www.open.ac.uk/courses/fees-and-funding
  47. Alex Dowty: OU as route to Oxford http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/Migration/article187261.ece
  48. FAQ for Exam Officers External Candidates http://edyourself.org/articles/examofficers.php
  49. Help with Access to Exams http://edyourself.org/articles/examsreport.php
  50. Special Arrangements for Exams http://ehe-sen.org.uk/exams.php
  51. Westminster Meetings Discussing Exams Access http://edyourself.org/articles/allpartygrouphomeeducation.php
  52. Education Committee Recommendations re Exam Support http://edyourself.org/articles/edcomsupporthomeed.php
  53. FAQ Exams for Private Candidates http://edyourself.org/articles/examsfaq.php
  54. Home Education and Exams http://edyourself.org/articles/exams.php
  55. Case Studies Home Education and Exams http://edyourself.org/articles/examshomeedexp.php
  56. Survey Local Authority Help with Exam Access http://edyourself.org/articles/examcentresurvey.php
  57. Removing Private Candidates from Schools Results Tables http://edyourself.org/articles/privatecandidates.php