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 More Home education Exams tutor groups, Hampshire More + More
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

One home education group in Hampshire has neverthless managed to set up their own exam centre

Online A Levels and Science Practicals

http://online.pembrokeshire.ac.uk/home-ed.html Online A Levels + Science Practicals with Pembrokeshire College. The home educators' exams wiki is a fantastic resource for all private candidates http://www.home-education-exams.org.uk (updated address August 19th 2014)

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

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

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

JCQ Rules for Becoming an Exam Centre   Survey of Local Authorities Help Finding Exam Centre   Home Educators Experience of Finding Exam Centre INCLUDING TAKING A LEVELS AT HOME    AQA web page for private candidates   List of exam centres used by AQA private candidates in the past   Edexcel Private Candidates FAQ   Edexcel Private Candidate Centres   QCDA guidance to exam centres about private candidates   AQA Supplementary Guidance for Private Candidates   Past Papers and Mark Schemes AQA   Past Papers and Mark Schemes Edexcel  June 2013 Edexcel Past Papers and Mark Scheme  Xtremepapers past papers + revision forum   Home Education English Literature/Language Distance Learning   Home Education Science Distance Learning   Home education tutor, Home Counties   Covers ID, Subject code, cash-in code, unit code, component code, specification, syllabus number, tier, candidate number, centre number, statement of entry, Unique Candidate Identifier (UCI), Unique Learner Number (ULN)   Eddis Tutorial Guide for Private Candidates   Eddis Tutorial FAQ Exams Private Candidates   Eddis Tutorial Private Candidate Exam Centres UK   Exams Jargon Explained   http://homeedpartners.co.uk/   http://www.studentforums.biz/   http://online.pembrokeshire.ac.uk/faq.html   https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/skills-funding-statement-2012-2015   http://www.edexcel.com/Aboutus/press-room/press-releases/Pages/ViewItem.aspx?filter=2633 Edexcel qualifications now to be known as Pearson Edexcel: announcement April 2013   http://education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/qualifications/examsadmin/news Exams Officers News from DfE   http://www.examofficers.org.uk/jargon-buster   Northstar CIE IGCSE Exam Centre   Anki revision technique using active recall testing and spaced repetition  Student Room Discussion A Levels as Private Candidate   http://www.aqa.org.uk/news-and-policy/policy/changes-to-gcses/modular-to-linear   DfE exams timetable search by code or subject, print results and export as data file for spreadsheet.
EDSU to be phased out DfE announcement December 2013
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/learning-records-service-personal-learning-record Personal Learning Record


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 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+

Nicky Morgan 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. Please see the letter from the new Secretary of State Nicky Morgan which can also be seen as a larger jpg here or downloaded as a pdf here

The letter says "...some exam boards offer both regulated and unregulated versions of IGCSE qualifications. The regulated versions of the qualifications, which are known as level 1/level 2 certificates, are currently recognised in performance tables. Students with an A*-C pass in English and mathematics are, therefore, not required to continue their studies in these subjects post-16. I understand x's concerns about the impact on home-educated pupils if their A*-C passes in unregulated English and mathematics IGCSEs are not similarly taken as evidence of achievement for the purpose of post-16 study. We have received a number of representations from parents of home-educated children on this issue, and my department has conducted a review on this matter.

We have decided, following this review, and in the lead-up to the introduction of the new GCSEs, that the GCSE and unregulated IGCSE qualifications will be treated as being equivalent to each other for the purposes of prior attainment to meet the funding condition. This means that young people who apply to further education colleges, schools with sixth forms and sixth form colleges with unregulated IGCSEs in English and mathematics at A*-C are exempt from having to study GCSE English and mathematics from 1 August 2014. This will apply for the 2014/15 and the 2015/16 academic years. We will review this position for students starting post-16 courses following the first awarding of the new GCSEs in line with a general review of the funding condition."

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.

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

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.

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. http://ofqual.gov.uk/news/changes-to-gcse-english-and-english-language/

Changes to A Level Resits

No January resits from 2014 onwards More via this page

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 to Rise
Alex Dowty: OU as route to Oxford

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.

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  2. Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/Education/EdC130213CORRECTEDTRANSCRIPT.doc
  3. More http://edyourself.org/faregos.pdf
  4. Special Needs Access Arrangements 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. their own exam centre http://edyourself.org/faregos.pdf
  10. http://www.home-education-exams.org.uk http://online.pembrokeshire.ac.uk/home-ed.html
  11. links to http://edyourself.org/articles/hesfestalks2014.php#14-19
  12. Home educators' Exams Yahoo Group http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/HE-Exams-GCSE-A_AS_Levels-OU-Others/info
  13. Home Educators Exams Wiki http://www.home-education-exams.org.uk
  14. Exams Report 2014 http://edyourself.org/councilexamsupport.pdf
  15. CIE Response http://ofqual.gov.uk/news/advice-ministers-performance-tables-2017/
  16. Ofqual new assessment arrangements GCSE, A level and AS http://ofqual.gov.uk/news/gcse-a-level-as-qualification-updates-ofqual/
  17. graded 9 to 1 http://policyblog.aqa.org.uk/2014/04/08/grading-reformed-gcses/
  18. Reference http://ofqual.gov.uk/documents/update-reforms-made-gcses/
  19. Reference http://ofqual.gov.uk/documents/update-reforms-made-qualifications-levels/
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  21. JCQ Rules for Becoming an Exam Centre http://www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office/general-regulations
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  25. Edexcel Private Candidate Centres http://www.edexcel.com/i-am-a/student/find-a-centre/Pages/Where-can-I-take-edexcel-exams.aspx
  26. AQA Supplementary Guidance for Private Candidates http://store.aqa.org.uk/admin/library/AQA-PRIVCAND-GUIDE.PDF
  27. Past Papers and Mark Schemes AQA http://www.aqa.org.uk/exams-administration/exams-guidance/find-past-papers-and-mark-schemes
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  30. Home Education Science Distance Learning http://www.sammartell.co.uk/
  31. Home education tutor, Home Counties http://dorothymurphy.webnode.com/about-me/
  32. Eddis Tutorial Guide for Private Candidates http://www.eddistutorial.com/private-candidates.html
  33. Eddis Tutorial FAQ Exams Private Candidates http://www.eddistutorial.com/frequently-asked-questions-faq.html
  34. Eddis Tutorial Private Candidate Exam Centres UK http://www.eddistutorial.com/private-candidate-centres-in-the-uk.html
  35. Exams Jargon Explained http://www.examofficers.org.uk/component/content/article/41-jargon-buster/21-jargon-buster
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  46. this Guardian article, October 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_General_Certificate_of_Secondary_Education
  47. the issue of controlled assessments http://edyourself.org/articles/exams.php#controlledassessment
  48. here http://edyourself.org/controlass.pdf
  49. colleges can admit 14-16s directly http://edyourself.org/articles/WolfReport.php#14-16scollege
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  54. http://ofqual.gov.uk/news/open-letter-to-schools-on-changes-to-qualifications/ http://ofqual.gov.uk/news/open-letter-to-schools-on-changes-to-qualifications/
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  65. OU Fees to Rise http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/qualification/ways-to-pay/index.htm
  66. Alex Dowty: OU as route to Oxford http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/Migration/article187261.ece
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  68. Help with Access to Exams http://edyourself.org/articles/examsreport.php
  69. Special Arrangements for Exams http://ehe-sen.org.uk/exams.php
  70. Westminster Meetings Discussing Exams Access http://edyourself.org/articles/allpartygrouphomeeducation.php
  71. Education Committee Recommendations re Exam Support http://edyourself.org/articles/edcomsupporthomeed.php
  72. FAQ Exams for Private Candidates http://edyourself.org/articles/examsfaq.php
  73. Home Education and Exams http://edyourself.org/articles/exams.php
  74. Case Studies Home Education and Exams http://edyourself.org/articles/examshomeedexp.php
  75. Survey Local Authority Help with Exam Access http://edyourself.org/articles/examcentresurvey.php
  76. Removing Private Candidates from Schools Results Tables http://edyourself.org/articles/privatecandidates.php