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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 and take one year courses rather than two. 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
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
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