Home Educated children, can in most circumstances, access exam provision.

Whilst exams are not the be all and end all of life, and they’re not even compulsory, many people still feel that they are important in order to access university or specific careers.

  • iGCSEs tend to be the popular option amongst home educators, as there is no coursework or practical element involved, though GCSEs changed in 2017 to no coursework in a standard GCSE. Subjects such as the sciences, computer science and English language have practical elements, which make them impossible to sit as a GCSE, the iGCSE has an exam paper instead.
  • iGCSE and GCSE carry the same weight within education and work.
  • If you decide to take this route you could contact local home educators or your local authority’s EHE advisor and ask if they know any nearby centres, or offer any support with exams. If this is not fruitful then you could contact the exam board directly as they may know of a centre that accepts external candidates. Home Educators can also phone local secondary schools and colleges themselves to ask if they will take an external candidate.
  • You can book one or more exams at a time, usually the cut off point is February to apply for the summer exams, but do check.
  • You will be liable for the full cost of the exam and any administration fee.
  • You will  need to make sure your child studies the appropriate syllabus for that exam board. Each exam board will have the syllabus outline available to download for each subject. You can cover the syllabus content via books, websites or a tutor.
  • There is no minimum age requirement and Home Educated young people often find doing one or two exams,  then doing a couple more the year later is preferential over studying for two years to sit 10 or more exams in one go. Check the entry requirements for college etc, 5 GCSEs are usually adequate.
  • In Scotland try approaching local community high schools or private schools to see if they will be happy to be your SQA presenting centre to allow you to sit exams. They may also let you access courses and resources. You can consider taking iGCSEs as an option or look at vocational courses.
  • Alternatives to taking GCSEs as external candidates include 14-16 college access (see more info here) remember this is usually an entry level course and may or may not include maths and English at the lowest level.  Some apprenticeships will allow you to do a resit maths and English GCSE, but usually requires you to have done most of the work already. Remember to always speak with the venues to confirm.

Exam Access, Scotland

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