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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
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
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 which can be found in Appendix B here http://www.jcq.org.uk/Download/exams-office/general-regulations/general-regulations-for-approved-centres-2013-2014
One home education group in Hampshire has neverthless managed to set up their own exam centre
On July 24th 2014 the Department for Education announced that GCSE alternative qualifications - including IGCSEs - will not count towards school performance tables in 2017. More Ofqual Advice to Ministers CIE Response
Ofqual new assessment arrangements GCSE, A level and AS published April 9th 2014
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. Geography will be untiered, and will be assessed by exam only with some questions assessing the knowledge and skills students learn from fieldwork. History will be untiered and assessed entirely by exam. Science GCSEs will be tiered with compulsory practical work, for which students will receive a "pass" or "fail" separate from the grade for the written exams.
November sittings will be limited to English language and maths. Ofqual is keeping the impact of the policy on disabled students under review. New GCSE qualifications will be taught: From 2015 – English language, English literature and maths; From 2016 – geography, history, biology, chemistry, physics and double award science, modern foreign languages and ancient languages, religious studies, design and technology, art and design, drama, dance, music, physical education, computer science, citizenship studies; From 2017 – remaining subjects for which new GCSEs are developed Reference
Students will be able to take new A levels without also taking an AS in the subject. AS qualifications and A levels will be assessed at the end of the course. Except for art and design, all AS subjects listed for first teaching in 2015 will be exam only. Students will carry out practical work for science A Levels. They will get a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ grade for this practical work, which will be separate from their grade for the written exam.
There will not be any non-exam assessment for AS qualificationsin English (English language, English literature, and English language and literature). Changes will apply as follows: from 2015 – English language, English literature, English language and literature, biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, art and design, business studies, computing, economics, history, sociology. From 2016 – Mathematics, further mathematics, modern foreign languages (MFL), ancient languages and geography, religious studies; design and technology; drama; dance; music and physical education.From 2017 – all other subjects. Reference
EDSU to be phased out DfE announcement December 2013
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/learning-records-service-personal-learning-record Personal Learning Record
IGCSEsA 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 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.
Private candidates need to find a registered centre that will:
- accept them for all elements of Controlled Assessment Task Taking and Task Marking, including preparation and analysis prior to the Task Taking
- undertake authentication of Controlled Assessment Tasks
- keep their work securely between sessions
- undertake the assessment of any Controlled Assessment Tasks.
Read more here
College Fees Can Be Funded When Home Educated Children are Under 16From 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.
Additional needs/access arrangements
For more detailed information about special arrangements in exam centres, click here http://ehe-sen.org.uk/exams.php and here http://www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office/access-arrangements-and-special-consideration
Big Changes to GCSEs and A Levels
In June 2014 Ofqual proposed "toughening up" some GCSE, AS-level and A-level subjects while scrapping 24 others entirely by 2018 More Read the list here To respond to Ofqual's consultation, click here (deadline July 30th 2014)
Ofqual consultation on new-style GCSEs asking for views on criterion referencing, norm referencing versus continuation current approach. Respond by June 2014.
June 2014: Summary comparison draft specs from different exam boards for the new-style English GCSEs (1st exam sitting 2017) More
GCSE overhaul in England made final by Ofqual November 1st 2013. See also http://ofqual.gov.uk/news/design-details-of-new-gcses-in-england/ (November 2013) The changes will be in stages, starting with the GCSE exams sitting in 2017. English and maths will be the first subjects affected. 20 other GCSE subjects will be revamped in the same way with the first exams for those taken in 2018. Exams will be graded from one to nine, with nine being the highest and fail being a U" for an "unclassified" result. Exams will be taken at the end of the course, rather than in modules throughout the course. Click here for Michael Gove announcement November 1st 2013.
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 http://www.edexcel.com/Subjects/English/Pages/ViewNotice.aspx?notice=3212
http://ofqual.gov.uk/qualifications-and-assessments/qualification-reform/?dm_i=BTP,1GFI8,290CWA,4XY73,1 Ofqual timeline for exam changes http://www.aqa.org.uk/news-and-policy/policy/changes-to-gcses/modular-to-linear
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21156370 (January 23rd 2013)
Speaking and Listening ComponentSpeaking and listening assessments will not towards final grades in GCSE English and English language for awards made from Summer 2014. http://ofqual.gov.uk/news/changes-to-gcse-english-and-english-language/
Open University for Under-18sSome 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 to Rise
Alex Dowty: OU as route to Oxford