Home Education Blog
Home Education is not as frightening as it first seems. If your child has a school place or is attending a school your first step is to write a deregistration letter addressed to the Head Teacher informing them that you have chosen to Home Educate your child from a certain date and asking them to ensure the child’s name is withdrawn from the school role.
The school can not refuse, they have to remove your child from the school role and can not insist you attend a meeting or delay the process in anyway. Always get a receipt if you hand deliver the letter or post by registered mail so you can prove they received your letter. Keep copies of all correspondence including any text messages.
The school will lose funding
Beware of a school asking you to wait until after a certain date as that maybe a way of ensuring they still receive the funding for your child’s place. You do not have to agree to this, you can remove your child at any time.
Special Educational Needs (SEN) & EHCP
The deregistration process is more complicated if your child has Special Educational needs and has an EHCP (Education and Health Care Plan). There are Facebook groups to help and support you under these circumstances.
Home Education Further Assistance
Click HERE for a Home Education deregistration letter template (opens in a new window). Go to File | Download to download the file in your favourite format.
EXAMS 2023 – Exam entry deadline dates for the October/November 2023 exam series
Just a quick reminder from T&E about the deadline dates for booking your child’s exams.
This link has all the dates you need.
Maths Exam Past Papers
If your child is ready to use exam past papers for exam practice or revision the website below is really useful. It has all the exam past papers and the mark scheme which are the answers.
I found using exam past papers with my children a really good way to refine what they needed to work on for exams. Just work through the papers and any questions they struggle with or get wrong then you know to work on those topics. I suggest doing as many past papers as possible!
It is also useful to look at grade boundaries for each exam series to see what the pass marks/grades are. Remember not everyone needs an A*’s. Some college courses only need lower grades for entry, so you can take the pressure off your child.
Happy Home Edding
AI use in Assessments and Exams
“Artificial Intelligence (AI) is when computers can do things that normally require human-like intelligence, like talking or seeing. It’s like a super-smart helper that we program to do specific tasks. AI can be used to make things faster, more accurate, and more fun.”
The paragraph in italics/bold above was written by Chat-GPT in answer to the question “Explain Artificial Intelligence to a 10 year-old”. It can also write essays, poetry, give summaries of books, the possibilities are endless. Give it a go: https://chat.openai.com/
The Joint Council for Qualifications have given guidance for AI use in assessments and exams. Basically, this is seen as cheating if it is not declared and referenced – so don’t do it!
Below is the summary of the guidance, if you would like to see the whole document a link is provided at the bottom of the page.
Happy Home Edding
AI use in Assessments and Exams
While the potential for student artificial intelligence (AI) misuse is new, most of the ways to prevent its misuse and mitigate the associated risks are not; centres will already have established measures in place to ensure that students are aware of the importance of submitting their own independent work for assessment and for identifying potential malpractice. This guidance reminds teachers and assessors of best practice in this area, applying it in the context of AI use.
The guidance emphasises the following requirements:
- As has always been the case, and in accordance with section 5.3(j) of the JCQ General Regulations for Approved Centres (https://www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office/general-regulations/), all work submitted for qualification assessments must be the students’ own;
- Students who misuse AI such that the work they submit for assessment is not their own will have committed malpractice, in accordance with JCQ regulations, and may attract severe sanctions;
- Students and centre staff must be aware of the risks of using AI and must be clear on what constitutes malpractice;
- Students must make sure that work submitted for assessment is demonstrably their own. If any sections of their work are reproduced directly from AI generated responses, those elements must be identified by the student and they must understand that this will not allow them to demonstrate that they have independently met the marking criteria and therefore will not be rewarded (please see the Acknowledging AI Use section);
- Teachers and assessors must only accept work for assessment which they consider to be the students’ own (in accordance with section 5.3(j) of the JCQ General Regulations for Approved Centres); and
- Where teachers have doubts about the authenticity of student work submitted for assessment (for example, they suspect that parts of it have been generated by AI but this has not been acknowledged), they must investigate and take appropriate action.
The JCQ awarding organisations’ staff, examiners and moderators have established procedures for identifying, reporting and investigating student malpractice, including the misuse of AI.
The JCQ awarding organisations are continuing to monitor developments in this area and will update this guidance when appropriate.
Download the full report as a pdf from JCQ here:
Private Candidate Exams at Tutors and Exams Centres
Summer 2023 EXAMS
If your child is sitting exams at a T&E branch this Summer exam season please remember to check the portal for important updates and information.
Plan your exam days carefully and check where to park or drop off as some T&E branches do not have parking. See this link for more details:
Good luck with revision and exams !
Happy Home Edding
Exam Special Access Arrangement Deadlines 2023
Exam Special Access Arrangement Deadlines for GCSE IGCSE Exams Autumn 2023Please note the deadline dates for T&E exam bookings. If you need any type of special arrangements, it is best to contact your exam centre as early as possible. I suggest you start making enquiries a year in advance so you can find out exactly what the requirements are. To ensure you don’t miss out; the deadlines for applying for Access Arrangements are:
- 15th June 2023 for October/November 2023 Exams ( CAIE only – Including evidence and requests for modified papers)
- 22nd August 2023 for October/November 2023 Exams (indicative as awaiting confirmation – all Awarding Organisations except CAIE – see above – Including evidence and requests for modified papers.
Source: Tutors and Exams Access Arrangements Open link: https://www.tutorsandexams.uk/access-arrangements/
Exam centres accepting private candidates for GCSE/IGCSE/A-Level exam series
Below is a link to a list of exam centres accepting private candidates for GCSE, IGCSE, A Level 2023 exam series.
Simply enter your postcode, select the type of qualification and the exam board you wish to enter with, and click Submit. You can then filter your results by specific subject or by type of qualification using the drop-down and clicking Submit again. Results will be listed by proximity to the postcode you enter. You can then click on a centre for further information, the deadline for applications and contact details.
Please be aware that centres may still accept private candidates even if they are not listed on the JCQ website. Appearing on the list is not a prerequisite for supporting private candidates.
What to do if you think there is a mistake in your GCSE/IGCSE exam grade results
Reviews of marking and enquiries about results
If you think there has been a mistake in your GCSE/IGCSE exam grade results or assessments, you should talk to your school or college. Your school or college can ask the awarding organisation to check if there were any errors in how your exam or assessment was marked. If your school or college decides not to take forward your request for an awarding organisation to review the marking of your work, you can ask your school or college to review that decision.
For some qualifications, including GCSEs, AS and A levels, and Technical Qualifications (part of a T Level), your school or college can also ask to see your marked assessment or exam paper. They can do this before deciding whether to ask for a review of marking, to see whether they think there was a mistake when your work was marked. The awarding organisation may charge for this.
If you are a private candidate, you can contact the awarding organisation directly to ask for your marked paper or a review of marking.
If your school or college asks for a review of marking and the awarding organisation does not find any mistakes, your mark will not change, so your grade will not change. If the awarding organisation finds a mistake, your mark could go up or down. If your mark changes, this could mean that your grade stays the same, goes up or goes down.
An awarding organisation cannot give you extra marks just because your mark was close to a grade boundary or because you did not get the grade your school or college predicted. In most years, at A Level, only around half of students achieve the grades their school predicted them. If you don’t get the grade your school predicted, it does not automatically mean something has gone wrong with the marking or grading of your exam.
For GCSE, AS, A level, T Level and some vocational or technical qualifications, your school or college can also apply for a review of moderation of non-exam assessment that was marked by your teacher, if marks were changed by the awarding organisation following moderation. This review would apply to all students taking the qualification at your school or college, not just to you.
If the awarding organisation finds a mistake with the moderation, your grade could stay the same or go up, but it cannot go down. This is because the review affects many students, and schools and colleges may not be able to get permission from everyone to request the review. This review would apply to all students taking the qualification at your school or college, not just to you.
The awarding organisation may charge fees for reviews of marking or moderation if your grade does not change. There will be no fees if your grade changes following a review. Your school or college will be able to tell you about any fees that you may need to pay.
If you are not sure whether this would apply to the qualification you are taking, you should speak to your school or college.
Awarding organisations publish details of the deadlines for seeking reviews of marking or moderation, and appeals, on their websites.
Your school or college can request a priority review of marking if you need the outcome of the review to get your higher or further education place. Awarding organisations will aim to complete priority reviews by 7 September, which is UCAS’s advisory deadline for higher education providers to hold places open for students.
If you are a private candidate, you should make your request for a priority review directly to your awarding organisation.
For all qualifications, if you and your school or college still have concerns after asking the awarding organisation to review your mark, your school or college can challenge the review decision through an appeal. The possible outcomes of an appeal are the same as for reviews of marking or moderation, explained above. Your school or college will be able to tell you about any fees you may need to pay.
Your school or college can also challenge awarding organisations’ decisions about reasonable adjustments, special consideration and malpractice. If you have concerns about any of these decisions, speak to your school or college.
EXAMS 2023 Result Dates, GCSE, IGCSE, A Level
Summer exams 2023 result dates for your reference.
The date you receive your results will depend on the qualification you are studying, the way it has been assessed, and the awarding organisation.
You will receive A level and AS results on:
Thursday 17 August 2023
If you are studying a level 3 vocational or technical qualification and are planning to use your results to go on to further or higher education, you will receive your results on or before 17 August.
You will receive GCSE results on:
Thursday 24 August 2023
If you are studying a level 2 vocational or technical qualification and are planning to use your results to go on to further or higher education, you will receive your results on or before 24 August.
Some vocational and technical qualification results will be available at different times throughout the year. You can find the date you will receive your qualification results on that qualifications’ awarding organisation website.
Sample Deregistration Letter
(England and Wales Template)
Please see below a link to a basic outline of a letter to deregister your child from a school in England.
You do not need to give advance notice to the school, you decide when you want your child to be deregistered. When you have sent the letter or email, make sure they confirm receipt.
That’s it! You are then a Home Educator.
Congratulations, you can now personalise your child’s experience with learning.
You may also find my blog Where to start with Home Education? useful.
Happy Home Edding!
p.s. The letter is on my GoogleDrive. Everyday I receive a ‘Request Edit Access’ from someone trying to download the template which is not how to do it. Please see the video below which shows how to download the sample school Deregistration Letter (England Template)
EXAMS 2023 Exam Dates for GCSE and IGCSE
Summer 2023 exam dates for your reference
These are the final published dates. To avoid last minute disasters my advice is to double check and then check again!
EXAM BOARDS for Home Educators
The top four exam boards below are all members of JCQ (Joint Council For Qualifications) so adhere to the same rules, guidelines and dates. They are the ones most commonly used by Home Educators. You can choose different exam boards for different subjects depending on which exam boards are available locally and your child’s preference.
Parent information for Private Candidates plus past papers are on the links below for each exam board
EXAM BOARDS for Home Educators
Eduqas (WJEC Welsh)
Past Papers for exam practice and revision:
Pearson (Edexcel) (for Igcse too)
Past Papers for exam practice and revision:
Past Papers for exam practice and revision:
OCR (Oxford Cambridge)
Past papers for exam practice and revision:
CAIE (Cambridge Assessment International Education)
CAIE is not a member of JCQ and has different arrangements. You can read about the differences on this document. Home Educators can use CAIE.
CAIE (Cambridge Assessment International Education)
(Previously CIE/Cambridge International) (for Igcse too)
Past Papers for exam practice and revision:
IGCSE Exams can be done with Pearson (EDEXCEL or CAIE)
How to book exams with SEN or EHCP Access Arrangements
Here is a simple guide from JCQ about the rules and requirements to book exams if your child needs any kind of special access arrangements.
Access Arrangements allow (Private) candidates/learners with special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries to access the exam without changing the demands of the exam. For example, readers, scribes and Braille question papers. In this way Awarding Bodies will comply with the duty of the Equality Act 2010 to make ‘reasonable adjustments’.
Many children are Home Educated due to anxiety and it is possible to make arrangements with your exam centre to allow them to sit the exams in a small or quiet room away from other people. Some children may need to use a computer instead of writing on paper. Your exam centre will have a limited number small rooms or computers so the earlier you make contact with your exam centre and get these things organised and agreed to, the better. Most exam centres will run out months in advance.
Bear in mind that there may be extra costs involved if the exam centre needs to hire additional invigilators for example. You may have to pay to get certain documents from professionals, for example Educational Psychologists, Dyslexia assessments or teacher reports to name just a few.
Further information on how to book exams with SEN or EHCP Access Arrangements is available from JCQ here:
Happy Home Edding
2023 EXAMS Booking Deadlines for SEN Access Arrangements
Here are the 2023 EXAMS Booking Deadlines for students requiring special access arrangements. Please have a look at the link with the dates if you are booking with T&E and require any kind of special arrangements. In my opinion it is best to get this arranged as soon as possible as it can be a lengthy process in some cases. Happy Home Edding Debbie
2023 EXAMS Booking Deadlines for Access ArrangementsTo ensure you don’t miss out; the deadlines for applying for Access Arrangements are:
- 22nd June 2022 for November 2022 Exams (Modified Paper-CIE)
- 29th June 2022 for November 2022 Exams (CIE)
- 31st August 2022 for October 2022 Exams (Pearson/Edexcel International A Levels)
- 31st August 2022 for November 2022 Exams (GCSE English Language and Mathematics ‘Re-sits’)
- 28th September 2022 for January 2023 Exams (Pearson/Edexcel International A Levels / International GCSEs)
- 13th January 2023 for Summer 2023 Exams (Modified Paper – all Awarding Organisations)
- 1st February 2023 for Summer 2023 Exams (all Awarding Organisations)
Please note, the deadline date is for when all evidence for access arrangements needs to be received by.
What are Access Arrangements?
Access Arrangements allow candidates/learners with special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries to participate in an assessment without changing the demands of said assessment. Notification allows us, as the examining centre, to organise readers, scribes and other required arrangements where needed/requested. This ensures Awarding Organisations can comply with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 to make ‘reasonable adjustments’.
The Equality Act 2010 requires an Awarding Organisation to make reasonable adjustments where a disabled person would be at a substantial disadvantage in undertaking an assessment.
A reasonable adjustment for a particular person may be unique to that individual and may not be included in the list of available Access Arrangements.
How reasonable the adjustment is, will depend on a number of factors including the needs of the disabled candidate/learner. An adjustment may not be considered reasonable if it involves unreasonable costs, timeframes or affects the security or integrity of the assessment.
To see more
visit the T&E website HERE
GCSE Exam 2023 arrangements
Ofqual have confirmed that after the changes that were made to exams and teaching due to Covid that the 2023 exam series will be back to normal. There will be some slight adjustments but most subjects will be taught in full and have normal grading. Home Educators should always check with their exam center just to make sure if there is anything they need to know that could be different for private candidates, just to be on the safe side!
Exams dates are not yet available.
Further information on GCSE Exam 2023 is available from Gov.uk by clicking here:
Private Candidate Exams Newsletter
I have extracted the information pertinant to Home Educators/Private Candidate Exams from the T&E (Tutors and Exams) latest newsletter, and summarised it below for you.
Don’t forget, if you are able to get to a T&E (Tutors & Exams) private exam centre you will get a discount on the fees as AWE Club is an APPROVED LEARNING PARTNER of T&E. When AWE Club students book with them via their online access you can put in a discount code which you need to ask me for (use this contact form) This code must not be shared as it is only for AWE Club students.
Happy Home Edding
Tutors and Exams Newsletter Sep 2022
It’s September already and the start of a new Academic Year!
It’s been an eventful 2021/22 to say the least. A rollercoaster of a year with plenty of ups, which we will touch on, and a few lows. However, all in all a huge leap forward for Tutors & Exams in terms of expanding our provision for all learners outside of mainstream education. Our primary goal has always been to make the journey for our candidates as easy as possible. We have seen 3 new centres open in the UK. Taunton, High Wycombe and Belfast. These centres have opened the doors to hundreds of candidates this year to give them access to assessments much closer to home. We will be continuing with our programme of growth over the 2022/23 year! Keep following @tutorsandexams or #TutorsAndExams social media for up-to-date information.
2022 saw huge growth in online education and subsequently a surge in partnerships with many well respected and highly regarded online providers. The pandemic (should we still be talking about it?) has seen the way that we engage with education, and each other, change massively. We have opened our eyes to new ways of learning, and we remain committed to ensuring that everyone in the world of ‘Private Candidate Exams’ is recognised by the Department for Education, OfQual and the Awarding Organisations. However, we have also noticed the impact that the pandemic has had on our young learners as well as the more mature. We have seen massive growth in the requests for Access Arrangements which has been recognised Nationally. We will be working hard to offer our candidates even more support than ever over the coming months. We would also like to acknowledge the impact of the pandemic on our staff, they too have suffered during this time and need to be treated with respect. They have turned up every day to support our candidates without question and frequently with their own issues to deal with, so a big thank you to them!
Tutors & Exams remains committed to our learner experience. We are currently investing in our staff and systems. Over the next two years you will see huge improvements in the way in which we engage with you. We are working hard on our training programmes for staff. We have introduced new techniques and a knowledge bank for them to work with. We should all start seeing the benefits over the coming months!
Our centres continue to offer candidates the widest range of qualifications. We have the largest network of centres in the UK. We remain a family run business with with no external shareholders.
To see more
visit the T&E website HERE
EXAM Centre move for Tutors and Exams
T&E (Tutors and Exams) are moving their Coventry exam centre to a new address.
T&E are moving to a bigger and better exam centre in Coventry with excellent transport links and parking!
Please note if you have exams booked you will receive updated location instructions.
To see more
visit the T&E website HERE
How to find a local Exam Centre for Home Educators
Just type in your postcode and you will see a list of exam centres who accepted Private Candidates in Summer 2022 on the JCQ website.
There is no guarantee they will do so again and each will have their own fees, forms and date deadlines.
Contact their EXAMS OFFICER (not the receptionist) in plenty of time to ensure you know what they will require you to do to book your child in for exams. Explain you would like to entre a PRIVATE CANDIDATE who is currently ELECTIVELY HOME EDUCATED.
SEN or Access Arrangements can be complicated to arrange so contact exam centres very early to allow extra time for getting documentation that may be needed. I always advise parents to make initial enquiries a full year before the required exam season.
Bear in mind you will need your child’s proof of identity for the booking process. Birth Certificates and passports are best but if those are difficult to provide ask your exam centre what ID they will accept as an alternative.
The link below will take you to the JCQ Postcode search. If you are unable to find a local exam centre you can ask on your local Facebook page for Home Educators.
Click here www.jcq.org.uk/private-candidates/
Happy Home Edding!
How to find your Local Authority for Home Education, search by Postcode
Find your Local Authority/Council Home Education information, type in your postcode and it will link you to your Local Authority website.
Some LA’s have lots of useful information and some even arrange events for local families who are Home Educating.
Some LA’s will have guides and resources you can download for free as well as links to local Home Education clubs and groups.
Go to here:
Happy Home Edding!
EXAM 2022 A level entry deadline dates update
(2nd August 2022)
If you are booking A Level exams with T&E they have published their entry deadline dates for the October/November 2022 exams series. Please have a look on the link below and make sure you don’t miss the deadline if you want to avoid late entry fees. Its always best to book as early as you can as they often fill all their spaces a long time before the actual deadlines.
For a full, up to date, list of all the deadlines
visit the T&E website HERE
EXAMS 2022 – 2023 exam entry deadline dates for SEN access arrangements
Apply in plenty of time to ensure all the documentation you may need can be submitted before the deadlines.
I suggest making contact to establish what you will need to provide a year in advance to be on the safe side.
For a full, up to date, list of the deadlines
visit the T&E website HERE
EXAMS 2022 – 2023 GCSE, IGCSE, A level entry deadline dates update
Tutors and Exams exam entry deadline dates have been updated for the exam seasons:
- October/November 2022
- January 2023
- Summer 2023
If you miss the deadlines, late fees will apply.
For a full, up to date, list of the deadlines
visit the T&E website HERE
How to book exams as a Private Candidate
Your Home Educated child will need to be entered for exams as a PRIVATE CANDIDATE and the parent has to do the entry and ensure all deadlines are met, this is entirely the parent/guardians responsibility. Most exams are sat during May and June each year and this is called the Summer exam season. Currently deadlines at some centres can be the September before the next Summer exam season, my advice is to make initial contact a year in advance.
You need to contact your local exam centres or find local schools or local private schools that allow Home Educated students to sit the exams at their exam centre as a PRIVATE CANDIDATE. You can phone around and ask to speak to the EXAMS OFFICER who will tell you if they will accept PRIVATE CANDIDATES and what their process is for registering for the exams in the subjects your child is studying.
You need to ask what the fees will be and what their deadline dates are. Tell them which EXAM BOARD your child is sitting exams with (EDEXCEL/AQA/CIE/CCEA/OCR/WJEC/EDUCAS are some you will see). Ask for the forms you have to complete and ask what forms of ID they will accept. Once you have the information you have to ensure you follow their instructions and meet all their deadlines. If you miss a deadline you will have to pay LATE FEES so double check you know what to send in and when. Make sure you know the costs and ensure you pay the fee before their deadline as if you don’t pay your child will not be entered for the exams.
Some areas of UK have more exam centres than others so it depend on where you live, or where you can travel to, as to how difficult it is to find an exam centre. Be advised that some people will need to book hotel rooms if the centre is a distance away especially for morning exams where you need to arrive at the exam centre by 8:30 am. Remember to take into account traffic problems so always allow enough time to get there.
Special Access Arrangements
If your child has any kind of SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS, SEN ARRANGEMENTS, SPECIAL ACCESS NEEDS or EHCP you will need to do all the above a year in advance to be on the safe side. For SPECIAL ACCESS REQUIREMENTS the exam centre will need you to provide proof of the needs which may entail reports being completed by specialists for example Educational Psychologists or Doctors. These can take a long time to get done so you need to work with your exam centre to ensure you are providing everything they need to be able to accommodate your child’s requirements. For example, if your child has severe anxiety and needs to be in a small room by themselves to sit their exams there will be a physical limit on how many students can be accepted due to how many small rooms your exam centre has available. These are often over-subscribed so again, ask now, don’t delay.
Tutors & Exams Private Exam Centres
If you are able to get to a T&E (Tutors & Exams) private exam centre you will get a discount on the fees as AWE Club is an APPROVED LEARNING PARTNER of T&E. When AWE Club students book with them via their online access you can put in a discount code which you need to ask me for (use this contact form) This code must not be shared as it is only for AWE Club students.
Exam booking is a worrying time for many parents so again it is best to get started finding an exam centre and getting all the information you will need together in plenty of time.
A useful website with lots of information is the Home Educators exams WIKI
Your local Home Ed groups or Facebook groups will be able to tell you what is available in your area. Education Otherwise has lists of Home Ed groups in all regions.
Good luck, stay calm! happy Home Edding!
HE Blog – Recommended Home Education Books
Here are a few book recommendations to get you started.
This is the first book I read when I was researching Home Education when we first started, I found it really useful and interesting.
How Children Learn (50th anniversary edition)
Author John Holt
Teach your Own
Author John Holt
The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life
Author Julie Bogart
How Children Learn at Home
Author Alan Thomas and Harriet Patterson
Learning without School: Home Education
Author Ross Mountney
Free Range Education: How Home Education Works
Author Terri Dowty
Home Education – What? Why? How?: A Guide for Beginners
Author Sue Fairhead
Those Unschooled Minds
Author Julie Webb
A Home Education Notebook: to encourage and inspire
Author Ross Mountney
Learning Without School
Author Ross Mountney
Home Ed and Four Legs: A mess of happiness
Author Hannah Whyman-Naveh
Teach Your Own: The Indispensable Guide to Living and Learning with Children at Home
Author John Holt
Doing it Their Way
Author Jan Fortune-Wood
Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom
Author Kerry Mcdonald
If you have any further Home Education Books recommendations, please let me know via the AWE Discounts contact form.
Edexcel IGCSE update for private candidates
Pearson Edexcel are introducing a regular International GCSE November series, first running in November 2023. You will still be able to sit IGCSE exam in January 2023 but that will be the last January exam season.
Important: There will not be a November 2022 exam season.
For full details please read the announcement from Tutors and Exams on this link:
Summer 2022 Exams Advance Information
Tutors and Exams have collated the information about the changes to the exams for this Summer. They have provided links for each exam board to make it easier to find.
It is very important for you to be aware of these changes if your child is sitting exams this Summer as it will affect their revision!
Summer 2022 Exam Changes
Changes to exams were announced on 7th February by each exam board (for this Summer only).
If your children are sitting exams this summer, you will need to make sure you and any tutors you are using are aware of the changes to the content of the exams. You will need to look up each exam your child is sitting and check what changes have been made to the syllabus.
Further information is available on this page with links for subjects.
Here are links to the main exam boards:
All mums? – by a Home Educating Dad
Despite our initial reservations, our adventure in Home Education turned out to be a fantastic success. That is once we had realised that there isn’t a template to follow, there is no right or wrong way of doing it (however there is a good and a bad way!). You are responsible for your child’s education, and are therefore free to choose the path you take.
We decided our daughter would be Home Educated with our son and did not even register her for school. My wife had researched the legality of what we were doing to make sure that we did not fall foul of the law. In fact we wanted to ensure that we were doing everything correctly, so we decided to inform the Local Education Authority (LEA) of our intention to Home Educate both of our children. Some Home Educators have had a bad experience with their LEA, ours was very positive.
Our LEA had a dedicated Home Education Officer and we arranged a home visit from her. At the time, we were using our conservatory as the children’s “classroom”, the walls were adorned with educational posters and the children’s work. Stacked on the floor were educational toys/games as well as fun games. This is where we were to meet.
We didn’t tell our children of the visit, we had nothing to hide so they could answer any questions in their own words. The LEA Officer met with us all and was impressed with the environment we had created. She spoke to our children and we showed her our project plan for the children’s education. At the end of the meeting, she confirmed that there was no need to have any further contact with her for a year. In fact, for the next and further years we simply sent her the updated project plan and samples of the children’s work and she was happy to leave us alone. Apart from the yearly emails thanking us, we never heard from the LEA again.
I must add a disclaimer here dear reader, deciding your Home Education route is personal to yourselves and I take no responsibility for your contact with your own LEA.
My wife joined many HE groups and took our children to many HE outings and events. This was pre-Covid and there were a lot of great outings where they met other Home Educating families. A fun time was had by all and I joined in on the few days I could get off work. One thing I did notice was that the majority of events were attended with mums and their children, which on the occasions I attended without my wife, I did find a little intimidating. Don’t get me wrong, I was made most welcome but being the only Home Educating dad in a room of mums who regularly meet to chat did make me feel a little out of place and unsure of myself.
Then, someone with great foresight, created a group HE activity run on the weekends and arranged by dads. Brilliant, we created flashing LED spacecraft out of old electric junk and cooked dinner from ingredients we had foraged. The children had a great time, the dads got to talk to each other about Home Education and I came away with the confidence to hold my own in any future mum centric outings.
I started this episode of the Dad Blog saying that there is no fixed template for how to Home Educate, well there is also no Home Educator ‘type’. I have met Home Edders from all walks of life, farmers, psychologists, many unemployed, teachers, ex-teachers, University Lecturers, actors, the list is endless.
What I discovered from all this variety, is that everyone educated their children in different ways and you can customise your own curriculum to how your child learns best. So for my son, whose style is academic, we taught differently to my daughter who is artistic. We made learning fun, we taught the core English, Maths and Science subjects but if they got bored we simply got out their project on Egyptians or the moon landings.
I really enjoyed teaching them and learned a lot myself.
Home Educating Dad
Next Blog – A life changing event
GCSE/AS/A level exam past papers will be available in January
Exam past papers from 2020 will be available soon. Past papers are a great way to check your child’s knowledge for exams, using them is like mock exams that schools do. You can find them on each exam boards website.
JCQ has announced that all the GCSE, AS and A level past papers for Autumn 2020 will be published on the 18th January 2022.
Exam Rules and Procedures
This link will help you with all the latest news about Exam rules. It is from the JCQ (Joint Council for Qualifications) which is a membership organisation comprising the eight largest providers of qualifications in the UK.
If you want to skip straight to the Private Candidate section which is what Home Educators need to know, this is the link.
Exam FAQ for Home Educators
There is lots of useful information in this document published by JCQ (Joint Council for Qualifications).
It covers exam contingency and cancellation plans too.
Links will open in a new window.
Practical science laboratory A level access for Home Educators
As you know, Home Educated students will need access to a lab for part of their qualification. This is always a difficult problem for Home educators but I am pleased to say that Tutors & Exams have arranged A level access for Home Educators to great facilities at a couple of locations.
Have a look at their website for the locations of laboratory access for Home Educators as they seem to be adding to them regularly www.tutorsandexams.uk
Information for GCSE & A-Level Exams
Here is a useful video explaining what ‘Advance Information for GCSE & A-Level Exams in 2022’ is to help Students and Parents prepare for next years exams.
Summer 2022 Edexcel result dates for GCSE and IGCSE
Edexcel result dates for GCSE and IGCSE days will be one week apart as usual:
- Thursday 18 August for AS and A level results
- Thursday 25 August for GCSE and International GCSE results
IGCSE Contingency plans in case exams are cancelled
In the unlikely event of exams being cancelled in 2022, Edexcel will use a portfolio of evidence approach that must include at least one full set of past papers, which they will then moderate and grade.
They have not mentioned use of unseen papers for 2022. More details will be announced next year.
What are the contingency arrangements for international qualifications?
Quote from the page
Exams will take place in 2022 for International GCSE, International AS/A level, iPrimary and iLowerSecondary, but in the unlikely event that exams cannot take place in some jurisdictions again because of the pandemic, we are now able to confirm that in the exceptional circumstance that exams cannot go ahead in your country in summer 2022, students’ grades would instead be determined by using an evidence-based approach which would then be marked and graded by us. Centres would have to submit at least one set of past papers as part of the portfolio.
Detailed information on how grades would be determined in summer 2022 will only be published if exams are cancelled. At that point, we would take account of the timing of the decision, the reason for the decision and any public health restrictions in place in specific international regions at the time, as well as lessons learned from the 2021 arrangements, and would provide further guidance to centres. In the meantime, teachers should teach and assess their students as they would throughout the year, in line with the guidance below, to gather the evidence they would use to determine grades, in case they are needed.
What are the arrangements for private candidates?
Quote from FAQ’s
In normal years, when exams take place, private candidates register with a centre which arranges for the candidate to take their exams alongside the centre’s students. As we expect exams to take place in 2022, centres are encouraged to allow private candidates to register with them in the usual way.
Some private candidates might want centres to assess them throughout the year, alongside the centres’ students, in line with the DfE and Ofqual guidance. Centres may agree to do so, although they would need to make sure the assessments only covered content the private candidate had studied. Alternatively, private candidates could be assessed only if exams are cancelled, in which case they would be assessed in a compressed period.
If exams are cancelled, the Department for Education would again explore ways to encourage centres to work with private candidates and to provide affordable opportunities for private candidates to work with centres.
IGCSE Contingency plans in case exams are cancelled SOURCES (full URL)
Pearson Summer 2022 support https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/campaigns/summer-2022-support.html
Frequently Asked Questions where there is lots of information https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/campaigns/summer-2022-support/frequently-asked-questions.html
FAQ for Private Candidates
The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) have released a FAQ for Private Candidates document which has an extensive section about private candidates which may help you with exam plans for next year.
It answers most of the important questions and has useful links as well.
The Private Candidates FAQ start in section 3 which is on page 3.
FAQ for Private Candidates Source (full URL):
Ofqual announcement for Private Candidates
Ofqual have written and open letter to Private Candidates who wish to enter exams in 2022 describing the options that will be available; please note this does not cover IGCSE’s. You can read the open letter below or on THIS LINK. It all looks very promising for next year.
There is a group of Home Educators who have worked really hard behind the scenes to put across Private Candidates situation to Ofqual and explain the issues we faced. The association’s name is “The Home Educators’ Qualifications Association”, known as HEQA. You can read more about what they have been doing and have been able to achieve on THIS LINK
Correspondence Letter to Private Candidates
Published 11 November 2021
To all Private Candidates
My name is Jo Saxton and I am Ofqual’s Chief Regulator. My job is to make sure that qualifications, examinations and assessments in England are properly run and are as fair as possible to all those taking them. Together these things mean you have the best chance of getting the grades you deserve and passports to the next phases of your education and life.
While the country is still responding to COVID-19, I want to make sure you know what is going to happen next with the qualifications you are working towards and how changes we’re making will affect you.
We want to get back to normal – that means getting back to exams and other formal assessment. Exams are set, marked and graded by examiners, with everyone taking the same assessments at the same time, in the same way. Other formal assessments have carefully designed and well-established marking arrangements.
All this gives you the fairest chance to show what you know, understand and can do.
In addressing this letter to private candidates, I recognise the different circumstances described by this term. Private candidates include those of you who are home educated, those retaking a qualification having left your school or college, and adult learners. As we have taken decisions about the arrangements for 2022, we have thought about private candidates’ varied circumstances. You may be studying completely independently or with a tutor, parent or distance learning provider.
I want the arrangements for regulated qualifications to be as fair as possible for all the students taking them, including private candidates. I recognise too that the changes to assessment arrangements over the past couple of years as a result of the pandemic have been particularly difficult for private candidates.
Arrangements for GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2022
I know that you might be concerned at the thought of taking exams next year after the disruption many of you have experienced. That is why we have put in place changes to exams and assessments to make them as fair as possible during the pandemic. This means that you can concentrate on what really matters – studying and revising as you prepare to get the best results you can.
The changes include advance information, designed to give you some help for revision ahead of summer exams. It will be published no later than 7 February. If you already know the centre that will enter you for your exams, they will let you know when this is available. If you have not yet found a centre, you should check the relevant exam board’s website for more information.
Information for candidates shared with schools, colleges and other exam centres will also be published by exam boards so that private candidates can access it. You can also find more information about these adaptations to GCSEs, AS and A level exams and the changes we have made to non-exam assessment on our website.
When grading exams in 2022, we will aim for a grading standard that reflects a midway point between 2021 and 2019. This means that exam boards will set the grade boundaries so that more students get higher grades in 2022 than before the pandemic. This will provide a safety net and will help anyone who might otherwise just miss out on a higher grade. We have taken this decision to reflect the disruption that you as a cohort have experienced already in your course.
Grading is monitored by the experts every step of the way, and as usual, we will review results for each subject before you get them.
Your interests are key to me – that means fairness and high-quality qualifications that will be recognised and valued: qualifications that employers, colleges and universities trust.
Though we expect exams to go ahead as planned, if the 2022 exams cannot go ahead due to further Covid disruption, grades will instead be determined by teachers, using a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) approach. Evidence will be gathered through assessments, which would then be used to determine a TAG should exams not be able to take place. We have published our decisions about this approach following a public consultation, which included students.
As a private candidate, I understand your circumstances are different to those students in a school or college. As we expect exams to take place in 2022, we are encouraging centres to allow private candidates to register with them in the usual way. You can contact a centre now to talk to them about entering for exams next summer and we have encouraged centres to support you.
If you want to take assessments throughout the year, you can work with an exam centre to do this. But you don’t have to do this: you could be assessed only if exams cannot take place, in a shorter period than those students who have been assessed earlier in the course. You would need to find and work with a centre to do this.
If you are unsure about how to find a centre to enter for your exams, the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) will provide a list of centres which will accept private candidate exam entries for GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2022. The centre list will be available by the end of December and will show which centres will accept private candidate exam entries for 2022, as well as those which will consider working with you to provide a TAG should exams be cancelled. The list will also show which centres will offer remote assessments in the event that exams are cancelled. The list is available to help you find a centre that offers entries for your subject but you can work with any centre that accepts private candidate entries – they do not have to be on the list.
If exams could not take place, the Department for Education would explore ways to encourage centres to work with private candidates and to provide affordable opportunities for private candidates to work with them, as they did in 2021.
Arrangements for Vocational and Technical Qualifications (VTQs) in 2022
We also expect exams and assessments to take place for VTQs in the 2021 to 2022 academic year. Vocational and Technical Qualifications include those such as BTECs, OCR Cambridge Technicals, Functional Skills and ESOL Skills for Life, among many others.
As there is such a wide range of different vocational and technical qualifications, it isn’t possible to have just one approach for them all.
We have confirmed arrangements for the assessment and awarding of VTQs and other general qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate, for 2021 to 2022, which take account of the disruption that you may have experienced.
If you’re not sure what the arrangements are for the particular qualification that you’re studying towards, you should speak to the awarding organisation.
If you have any questions, please do contact your awarding organisation. You, or your parents or carers, might also find it helpful to sign up for updates on our website or by following our Instagram channel @Ofqual.
Good luck with your studies,
Dr Jo Saxton
Ofqual announcement for Private Candidates SOURCES (full URL)
Open letter to Private Candidates from Ofqal https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/open-letters-arrangements-for-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2022/letter-to-private-candidates
Consultation outcome overview https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/contingency-arrangements-gcse-as-a-level-project-and-aea
2022 summer exams
Lots of information about next 2022 summer exams has been released today, please see links below:
(JCQ exams only – NOT International exams)
2022 summer exams press release:
2022 summer exams adaptations:
2022 summer exams contingency arrangements:
Are BTECs to be scrapped?
I’ve see a number of articles saying that the Department for Education plans to scrap ‘most’ BTECS. There are objections from a number of prominent people and schools, colleges, universities so hopefully it will be rethought.
Are BTECs to be scrapped sources:
The Guardian – The former Conservative education secretary Kenneth Baker has described the government’s overhaul of vocational and technical qualifications at schools and colleges in England as “an act of vandalism”.
Home Education Register – Education Committee Third Report
I have been Home educating for 19 years and talk of a Home Education Register has rumbled on for many of those years. Many Home Educators oppose the idea as they fear that having the Local Authority involved in their children’s education will mean monitoring, target setting, proof of education and loss of the parents freedom to decide about everything to do with their child’s education. Some of the opposite opinions are that it could lead to extra support for those who feel they need it and also pick up any cases of neglect, abuse or child labour.
Personally I think it is inevitable that there will be some kind of register eventually but what it will actually mean for Home Educators is a minefield. The how/what/when questions are endless. I know our Local Authority has always been overwhelmed with work so I’m not sure they could cope very well with such a huge increase in their workload.
I hope that it will be done in a way that parents can continue with the freedom they currently have to meet their child’s individual needs without too much interference and form filling.
Home Education Register THIRD REPORT
Home Education Register FURTHER READING
UK Parliament Website https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/203/education-committee/publications/
Exceptional Autumn Series Exam Dates
Tutors & Exams are pleased to announce their examination entry deadline dates for the Exceptional Autumn Series.
Candidates will be eligible to enter for this series if they’ve received a grade this summer or Tutors & Exams reasonably believe they would have entered for the exams in summer 2021, had they taken place.
As in a usual year any student who was aged at least 16 on 31stAugust 2021 can take the GCSE English Language and Mathematics exams.
Home Education Register?
Worrying announcement today from Education Secretary Gavin Williamson. It seems we may be getting closer to having some kind of Home Education Register of all Home Educators.
Quote from the Evening Standard
Thousands more children being home-schooled in wake of pandemic as Education Secretary Gavin Williamson promises register.
A register of home educated children will be introduced “imminently” the education secretary said on Wednesday.
Speaking to MPs on the education committee, Gavin Williamson said he is “absolutely committed” to creating a register of home educated children and its introduction is “imminent”.
At the moment nobody knows exactly how many children are being educated at home. Committee chair Robert Halfon said the most reliable estimate for England is 75,000, but he said the actual rate could be higher because many local authorities are not confident they know all of the children who are being home educated in their areas.
During the pandemic many more children were taken out of school to be home educated. Mr Halfon said around 20,000 children moved to home education during this time.
Speaking about the register, Mr Williamson said: “it is imminent as to when this will be brought forward. It is incredibly important to ensure that there is that accountability and that monitoring.”
Asked by Mr Halfon if it will be before the summer recess, he said: “It is very very imminent…you are trying to spoil grids here Rob….our commitment to bringing this forward is absolutely clear.”
Mr Williamson said there are no immediate plans to bring in standardisation or assessments for home educated children.
He said: “The quality of home education is incredibly high right across the board….there are a lot of parents who put an awful lot of time effort and resource into it,. The first key step is establishing this register that’s what we will be doing very, very shortly.”
Home Education Register Source:
T&E Exam Centres Announcement EXAM Special Access
This is really good news for any students requiring some kind of Exam special access. As you may already be aware AWE Home Ed Club is an approved Learning Partner of T&E which means our teachers are approved to submit assessed grades should they be needed. AWE students also receive a discount on their exam entries plus are guaranteed a seat in their chosen exams so no need to worry about exam centres running out of spaces.
This latest announcement from T&E states, Quote: “If a candidate requires any form of testing or service to qualify for additional support in their exams, it will come at no cost to the candidate.”
Here is the full statement regarding EXAM Special Access.
Free at Point of Delivery Access Arrangements Tutors & Exams is the leading independent private candidate exam centre across the UK. We have unrivalled access to qualifications for all candidates working outside of mainstream education. We have a dedicated team that solely works with candidates with Special Educational Needs as well as a dedicated “NEA’ (Non-Examined Assessment and Coursework) Team and two Exam professionals in each of our five, soon to be six, centres. To celebrate Learning Disability Week and open up our services to more candidates, Tutors & Exams is, with immediate effect, offering Free at Point of Delivery Access Arrangements. This is a huge step in ensuring all candidates outside of mainstream education are able to have the same access to assessments. Tutors & Exams have been working hard towards this since opening in 2014. However, due to costs constraints, this was unachievable until now. In 2020/21 academic year, Tutors & Exams halved its fees for access arrangements which was well received and welcomed by the Private Candidate Community. Free at Point of Delivery Access Arrangements means just that. If a candidate requires any form of testing or service to qualify for additional support in their exams, it will come at no cost to the candidate. The testing is that to fulfil the requirements of the JCQ and Awarding Organisations (typically Form 8 and Form 1 testing) to ensure we have sufficient evidence for them to grant the Access Arrangements. Therefore, if you required testing, mocks to show normal way of working, reader, laptop or any other Access Arrangements provision during your exams, you will pay no more than the prevailing examination entry fee detailed on our website. Terms and conditions do apply and you can find out more by contacting our team and selecting Access Arrangements. Group Managing Director, Jenny Spraggett has said “Since Tutors & Exams was established, we have been committed to ensuring that all Private Candidates receive a service as close to that in a mainstream facility as possible. As a private organisation that receives no funding, this has always been challenging. Being fiscally responsible we are now in a position to offer Free at Point of Delivery Access Arrangements and support more candidates, at no additional cost, with a range of Special Educational Needs. When we halved our fees for Access Arrangements in 2020, the feedback was astounding. We have no doubt that this will now be a ‘game changer’”
Where do we start? – by a Home Educating Dad
The first day we started Home Educating was a strange one.
08:00 am It started with no uniform. That’s right, you do not have to wear a uniform anymore while learning, have your breakfast.
09:00 am Okay what to do next, let’s not rush into anything and take it all a small step at a time.
09:10 am Right let’s look at the Curriculum and get going from there, Maths, I like Maths so it will be a good place to start.
09:30 am This is going well.
10:00 am You want a break, yes good idea, I need a break as well.
10:20 am WHAT HAVE I DONE? I’ve just wasted 20 minutes of his education. He will never pass Maths IGCSE, we have to catch up NOW!
10:40 am I’m sorry, yes you are not ready for quadratic equations at age 6. Let’s go back to what we learned this morning.
11:00 am IS THAT ALL WE’VE DONE?? It’s been 2 hours since we started. We will have to skip lunch to catch up!
This roller coaster continued, perhaps it was time for sensible wife to plan the lessons…… What? You don’t know what to do either?
This roller coaster continued, perhaps it was time for sensible wife to plan the lessons…… What? You don’t know what to do either?
There are some wise words at the beginning of the Science Fiction novel The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy – “DON’T PANIC!”
Starting Home Education is a little like the day you bring a new baby home from the Hospital, you leave the wise nurses and Doctors of the NHS behind and take your fragile human being home along with the enormous responsibility of keeping it safe. Turn around, we are going back.
So the first week was dealt with a little trepidation, fear, anxiety, and concern that we were not capable of providing an adequate education for our son. So my wife and I sat down and had a good long chat about how we wanted to proceed.
What were our goals? We started with why we took our son out of School; we had concerns that his time was being wasted and his ability was not being fully capitalised. Okay, we can deal with that; he’s way past Biff and Chip books so anything we teach him at a higher level is an improvement on the School.
What can we learn from our own experiences of School and use to help us? I recanted a story from my School years. I did O level Chemistry, two years trying to learn chemical formulas and the only practical was putting them into a test tube together and watching a litmus paper turn a different colour. I passed (just) but found it so boring. Then on our last day our Teacher said he would show us some fun things. We saw the metal Lithium dance on water and catch fire, a beaker of clear liquid turn instantly dark, oxygen banged, things smoked and foam expanded enormously – why did he leave it to our last day to show us that Chemistry is fun?!
So we decided anything we teach our son must be fun. Yes Algebra may not be everyone’s idea of fun and has to be learned, but we can break it down into small blocks with learning a new Dinosaur in between. If our son got bored with learning one subject, we simply moved on to another.
Another thing we realised is that passing SATS is not for your child’s education (even with all the effort they put in). SATS are used as a measure of the efficiency of the School. Therefore your child is taught how to pass a SAT exam, the School will concentrate on this to get a good mark – for them! Anything outside the realm of a SAT will not be given priority and once the SAT level is achieved for your child, they will move on to those who have not; leaving your child waiting for others to catch up.
There are no such limitations with Home Education, the sky is not the limit! (as we found out when studying Voyager 1 space probe).
We this is going really well, let’s not even bother registering our younger daughter for school.
To be continued….
A Home Educating Dad
Exams update from T&E (Tutors and Exams) – The exam deadline to apply is now 1st April 2021
T&E (Tutors and Exams) – exam deadline
“Given the unprecedented demand of applications for Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) and the lack of clarity at this late stage from stakeholders (DfE, Ofqual and Awarding Organisations) regarding the process for grading private candidates, we are suspending entry applications from 23:59, Thursday 1st April 2021. This will allow us time to process entries already received and determine, and put into place, the process by which candidates will be awarded TAGs.
In light of this announcement, and to avoid any disappointment, we strongly advise you to make any entries you were planning to submit via Tutors & Exams without delay. Rest assured we will not be imposing any late entry fees (with the exception of CAIE examinations), despite some Awarding Organisations planning to charge late fees for any entries submitted to them after 21st March. However, we do require payment for any entries you have made with Tutors & Exams by no later than 23:59, 8th April 2021. Please note that failure to make full and final payment by this date will likely result in your entry not being made with the Awarding Organisation and consequently no TAG will be issued.
We hope this statement provides some clarity for you and will keep this decision under review as more information is released by stakeholders.”
Pearson update on IGCSE Exams
It appears that exam centres will have choices about how they proceed with IGCSE grading. They will be able to provide unseen test materials that will very similar to exam papers which for students who have been preparing for IGCSE’s expecting a final exam is good news. Whether each exam centre will offer this option is up to them to decide. It will suit those who do not have reams of evidence and don’t have a teacher to submit a grade. I am wondering if students will need to go to their exam centre to sit these tests as they would under normal circumstances. Here is an update from Pearson.
Pearson update on IGCSE Exam Unseen Test
Unseen test materials for International GCSE and International AS/AS Level
One of the forms of evidence that will be made available is the optional use of unseen test materials. We will send unseen test materials to all centres – teachers and students will be familiar with the style of the materials as they will look like question papers used in a normal exam series. The materials will need to be kept securely, until a specified date, and we’ll provide details of what you’ll need to do in due course – it will be very similar to how you typically deal with exam materials.
These test materials can then be used in two ways; firstly, as unseen materials presented to students in a controlled situation, in a specified timeframe, for them to respond to; or secondly, after the specified timeframe, in the knowledge that they may be familiar to students, used as one part of the evidence that supports the teacher grade – we’ll provide more detail on each of these options in the coming weeks.
To support the use of these unseen materials we’ll be offering an optional marking service where our expert examiners will mark your student responses. We’ll mark the test materials and return a mark to you for your consideration when deriving the student grade. We’ll provide you with support to understand how the mark aligns with performance descriptors so that you can be confident in your understanding of the mark. This will be an optional service and, if you’d prefer to mark the materials yourself, we’ll be providing mark schemes and training materials so that you can do so with confidence.
The approach for this series will be underpinned by a quality assurance process that focuses on helping you to make judgements, based on evidence, that are objective and consistent. There will be several different stages, and we’ll provide an update as soon as we can, but we’re committed to ensuring that it’s supportive and not overly burdensome.
The DfE is currently exploring ways to make sure there are affordable opportunities for private candidates to work with centres, and to encourage centres to work with private candidates. Once the DfE has completed its review, we will be working with other awarding organisations to provide a list of centres offering to support private candidates through the assessment process, including details of the subjects they can offer. We expect this list to be available before the end of March.
We can assure private candidates that they will not need to pay higher entry fees if, as a result of this, they need to make their entry after the extended entry deadline.
We will also be providing further information for centres on how best to support private candidates, including guidance on the selection of assessment evidence. This will be available at the end of March.
Approach for International GCSE and International AS/A Level (May/June 2021 series)
To ensure fairness for all students around the world, we want to ensure parity with our UK qualifications and so will align the evidence-based approach for international qualifications with the approach for UK qualifications, as far as it is sensible to do so.
We also recognise that there are a range of circumstances faced by international schools and we’re committed to providing assessment materials, services, support and guidance to ensure that you can proceed with confidence.
Student grades will be derived by teachers and centres, with support throughout from Pearson. With our support, it will be possible to use a variety of evidence to inform the grade that will be submitted to Pearson.
We want to ensure that you have access to assessment materials that will enable objective and fair judgements to be made about student performance; we’ve also heard from you that you want us to support you in translating evidence-based judgements into grades.
Update on exam evidence requirements, from The Exams Office
Here is an article from The Exams Office that describes in more detail how teachers will produce grades. It mentions Private Candidates and says the process will be similar to the school students and will be affordable!
Here is an article from The Exams Office that describes in more detail how teachers will produce grades. It mentions Private Candidates and says the process will be similar to the school students and will be affordable!
Teachers will be required to make a holistic judgement of each student’s performance on a range of evidence relating to the subject content that has been delivered by their teacher (either in the classroom or via remote learning). Additional information/guidance includes:
• Teachers must assess their students’ performance, only on what content has been delivered to them by their teachers, to determine the grade each student should receive.
• Teachers can use evidence of a student’s performance from throughout the course to inform their judgement.
• Teachers should determine the grades as late in the academic year as is practicable, and not confined to a defined window, to enable teaching to continue for as long as possible.
• Schools and colleges will be required to use a broad range of evidence across the taught content to determine the grades before submitting the grades to the exam boards.
• Heads of centres will have to confirm that students have been taught sufficient content to allow progression to the next stage of their education, although we will not set requirements about the minimum amount of content that students must have been taught.
• Students should continue to work on their non-exam assessment (NEA), including for Project qualifications. NEA will be marked by teachers and will contribute to the overall grade, whether or not is has been completed.
• Teachers should mark the NEA according to the normal mark scheme (in whole or in part, depending on whether students have been able to complete their NEA. • Exam boards will not be required to moderate teachers’ marking of NEA this year.
• In GCSE, AS and A level art and design, the student’s grade must be based on the portfolio only, whether or not it has been completed. students will not be penalised if, due to circumstances beyond their control, they were unable to complete their portfolio.
• In GCSE English language, GCSE modern foreign languages and A level sciences (biology, chemistry, physics and geology), centres will be required to determine and submit a separate grade or result for the endorsement. This result or grade will be based on work that has been completed towards the endorsement. No recordings or separate evidence of performance will be required.
• Private candidates should work with a centre to provide evidence in line with the sort of evidence that other students will produce
• Overall, it will be no easier or harder for a student to achieve a particular grade this year compared to previous years.
Private candidates will be assessed in a similar way to other students, by a recognised exam centre using a range of evidence. DfE is exploring ways to make sure there are affordable opportunities for private candidates to work with centres, and to encourage centres to work with private candidates.
Exam Evidence Source:
Government Announcement on 2021 UK Exams
AWE Private Candidates
It’s bugging me the way children are being labelled as ‘losing out’ and having their life chances affected by ‘lost learning’ due to Covid.
Home Educated children did not stop learning or studying because of lockdown! For example AWE Home Ed went online right at the start of the first lockdown with students not even missing one single lesson for their UK Exams. We have not stopped teaching and our students have not stopped learning.
I hope our students exam grades will not be marked down when compared against school children who may have not been so prepared for self study and working at home.
I believe Home Educated children are actually at an advantage as learning at home and taking responsibility for their own learning are skills they will already have.
Our teachers and many parents have been able to accelerate through the syllabus to try to ensure the whole syllabus has been covered earlier in preparation for whatever scheme comes out of the consultation. Many Home Educated children will not have big chunks of the syllabus not covered. Many Home Ed teachers and tutors have been steadily gathering evidence during lessons and with homework so it should be easier than last year for parents to provide portfolio’s of evidence if required by exam centres and for teachers to give predicted grades if qualified to do so.
Just my thoughts!
UK Exams update for Private Candidates
My advice is don’t take too much notice of all the speculation, opinions and thoughts that are being aired everywhere. The good news is that Private Candidates will have a way to be graded, we have not been forgotten. It sounds like there will be flexibility and options available to make it fair.
Exams centres will be extremely busy and will probably not have all the answers you will be looking for yet. I would just be patient and wait for a few days until there is more detail and your exam centre has had the time to make a plan for Private Candidates.
Regarding private Candidates
I will keep updating this blog as news comes out with more details.
It’s probably not a good idea to contact your exam centre yet. They will be very busy! Wait a couple of days until they have time to tell us what they will be able to arrange for our children sitting as Private Candidates.
There will also be a clear and accessible route for private candidates to work with a centre to receive a grade this year, at the same time as other candidates. Exam boards will provide centres with clear guidance on the evidence they can use to assess a private candidate. A list of available centres will be published shortly and, we are working with the sector to ensure there are sufficient centres available and at a similar cost to a normal year.
More detail to follow as it is released.
Cambridge IGCSE and A Levels have been cancelled
From Tutors & Exams email for IGCSE and A Levels (I’m quoting the important bits):
Cambridge Assessment International Education Exams 2021
Today, 19th February 2021, we have received notification that Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) Exams 2021 (May/June Series) have been cancelled in the UK. CAIE have said:
“For schools in the United Kingdom, this means that exams for Cambridge IGCSE, O Level, and International AS & A Level will no longer take place. We will say next week how we will enable private candidates to be assessed.”
Tutors & Exams are working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that ALL PRIVATE CANDIDATES have the opportunity to enter into a robust process that can confidently allow them to receive the outcomes they deserve
IGCSE and A Levels IMPORTANT: You must still enter for exams as usual!
Parents, you have to enter for the exam through an exam centre to be part of whatever process comes out of the consultation. If you have not entered, your child will not be graded. If you have not done so yet, please urgently contact your exam centre to find out if you can still do so, as there are deadlines!
Meanwhile your children need to be continuing with their studies just the same as if they were going to sit a final exam.
You want to do what? – by a Home Educating Dad
When my wife came up with the idea of Home Educating my son, I thought she was mad. I was taught from a young age that to get an education you go to school, then College, if you were fortunate University. This ‘Home Education’ thing didn’t fit within that template and what on earth was Home Education anyway?
My son was in his reception year. He was doing well at English and Maths, so well that he finished his daily work early and was just given some drawing to do while the other children in the class caught up. When we found this out, we went to see his teacher. She was nice and agreed that he was advanced for his year and said she would approach the Head of the School to see what could be done.
Nothing happened for quite a while and as we didn’t want our son wasting his time drawing (I’ve nothing against Art, but being given pieces of paper and crayons is not being taught how to draw) so my wife and I made an appointment with the Head for ourselves. I remember the meeting well, here we were telling the Head of the School how to do her job!
The Head admitted that they had no procedure for this situation other than suggesting an after school chess club. Trouble was they didn’t have anyone to run it and would I be interested? We persevered and it worked, our son was duly put up into the next Year 1 for his Maths and English lessons – excellent!
Then came a strange decision which demonstrates the ridiculous bureaucracy of the school system. Our son was reading science books and learning about the world using a daily news item from the Times. However, in order to be allowed to go up to the next year for English, he had to have read the full years Biff and Chip books in his own time at night. This was so they could “tick a box that he had completed them” – a literal quote.
He did very well in his advanced year lessons and all was well, he was happy, we were happy. Then came the end of reception and he was moved up to Year 1. His form tutor changed so we went to see her to ensure that as he had already completed Year 1 of English and Maths, he would be put into Year 2 for those lessons. Unlike his previous tutor who was open to suggestions, this lady had an ‘old school’ mentality and said in no uncertain terms that the previous agreement was not going to be honored and she would have to reassess his abilities right from the start – months of our negotiations were gone in an instant.
So what to do? Well my wife had investigated Home Education and thought it to be a really good idea. Our son was a keen learner and we felt he was wasting his valuable early years. The most difficult part for her was to convince me that we were capable of taking on the enormous responsibility of educating our son and that we could do it on my single income.
She’s a clever thing my wife and she made me think I was in charge, while all the time having made the decision herself. So how to do that? well she said we could give it a go and when things get difficult at secondary school level we will just send him back to school. Okay then, that’s not such a big step, I agree.
We checked the legality of taking him out of the school system, calculated the reduced income and our outgoings, told all of the family (some really weird looks there, how will he get friends and socialise??) and booked a meeting with the same Head of the school to tell her of our decision.
So this time we sat in front of her, not to tell her how to do her job like last time, but to say she wasn’t doing it well enough and we were off! Well we didn’t say it quite like that, but when we explained why she totally agreed with our decision, as did his reception teacher. Perhaps we were doing the right thing then!
So, that’s it then. We are off, brilliant.
Arrrrggghhhhh….. What now!?
A Home Educating Dad
Cancelled Exams Update 8th February 2021
Here’s an update from Tutors and Exams regarding Private Candidates.
Summer 2021 Exams Updates
What another extraordinary week for Summer 2021 Exams Updates! We have seen the cancellation of Pearson Edexcel International Qualifications across the world in addition to Cambridge Assessment International Education stating that they are looking at alternative arrangements to exams in the UK.
Are there anymore Summer 2021 Exams Updates? Yes there is. Ofqual have announce (via Twitter) that the outcomes of the joint DfE/Ofqual Consultation will be released week commencing 22nd February 2021. What does this mean for us? It means that we have to wait up to three weeks before we can give you any sort of detail around grading for Private Candidates. We do appreciate that this can add to already heightened emotions and we have passed on our concerns to the DfE and Ofqual. However, we can report that we have had two incredibly productive meetings with both parties, and other stakeholders, to look at the implications of exam cancellations and the possible solutions on Private Candidates.
You will all no doubt be asking why the consultation outcome is due to be announced post Awarding Body Deadline dates? Well, the response is quite straightforward. The consultation received over 100,000 responses. The DfE and Ofqual want to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and will be looking in depth to the responses. They have asked all the Awarding Bodies to “be flexible” with their entry deadline dates. As such, Pearson Edexcel and OCR have confirmed to us that their deadline for Private Candidate entries has been extended. We are pleased to confirm that we have extended our entry deadline to the 1st March 2021 to give the opportunity to make an informed decision. However, we must make it clear that if you don’t have an entry with an exam centre, you will not be able to get any kind of grade.
Tutors and Exams are actively engaged with the Awarding Bodies, DfE and Ofqual to ensure that a robust and fair process is available to Private Candidates. We will have further Summer 2021 Exams updates very soon.
To ensure you are in the best possible position for the release of the consultation outcomes; do not stop studying. Please continue with your studies as if exams were continuing.
Bad News I’m afraid.
Pearson have cancelled IGCSE’s for Summer 2021
My advice. Don’t withdraw entries or cancel exam bookings, if you do you won’t have any grade at all. Wait for the consultation results to find out what procedures will be available.
From the Pearson Website announcement:
Today, Wednesday 3 February 2021, we are confirming that will use a robust approach based on teacher assessment for International GCSE assessment in May/June 2021 and exams will not go ahead as planned. We will offer an additional exam series for International GCSE later this year.
Our priorities throughout this pandemic have been to keep everyone safe and well and to ensure fairness so that every student receives a grade that reflects their knowledge and understanding.
In making this decision, we have spoken to many schools, teachers and students and have carefully considered a range of options. These included having exams in some countries and teacher assessment in others. Given the ongoing uncertainty, we feel that this could not be done fairly and would risk unintentionally disadvantaging individual students.
You should continue to teach your students, and we will ensure that you are fully supported as we work through the next steps.
Additional exam series for International GCSE
In addition to confirming this approach for the May/June 2021 series, we also intend to make available an additional focused exam series for International GCSE later in the year. This will enable students who prefer to take exams to have the opportunity to do so. We will be consulting with you separately on this and are keen to hear your feedback.
Teacher assessed grades
For May/June 2021, we will use training, support and rigorous quality assurance procedures to ensure that grades are awarded fairly. This approach will be different to last year’s Centre Assessment Grades. As part of this, we are mindful of the needs of private candidates.
Ensuring that students can move on to the next stage of their education with confidence, and with the knowledge and skills to be successful, is of paramount importance. We want to ensure that all students have an opportunity to achieve a grade that reflects their knowledge and understanding and that is based on a rigorous and robust process.
Ensuring that all stakeholders have confidence in the outcomes of students, and that they are fair and consistent, is a key principle and we will be providing further details on this from early March.
Support for teacher assessed grading: our commitment to you
We know that you will be keen to understand more about how the teacher assessed grade will work. We are committed to providing schools with a comprehensive support package to complete teacher assessment.
To do this we will:
- Provide all information regarding teacher assessed grades and associated activities in our bi-weekly newsletter as an update for Heads of Centre, Heads of Department, Teachers and Exams Officers
- Share important news and updates on our website, social media channels and via the weekly Exams Officer Updates
- Publish detailed guidance at the very earliest opportunity on the process of submitting teacher assessed grades
- Produce user guides, videos and step-by-step instructions for any new processes and systems
- Deliver enhanced support and training to support you in making the best decisions
- Provide support to students, parents and carers to understand the processes being undertaken this year
- Share more on the standardisation of teacher assessed grades, arrangements for year 10 or private candidates and appeals, once we can after the outcome of the Ofqual consultation.
Cancelled Exams 2021 Government Consultation
The details of the cancelled exams consultation are now available for you to read and respond to. It will end on Friday 29 January at 23:45. This is the link to the survey for you to respond if you wish HERE >> https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/8BYI4T
The important thing to me is that Private Candidates are certainly being considered and will be catered for somehow. There are 4 suggested options below that are included in the consultation. Which would suit your children best?
I would suggest that if you are planning to respond that you read the whole document as there are lots of points to be taken into account. This is the PDF with the full details which you will need to read first HERE>> https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-how-gcse-as-and-a-level-grades-should-be-awarded-in-summer-2021
This is the important part for Home Educators:
Cancelled Exams Private Candidates
We want to build into the approach opportunities for private candidates (for example students studying independently, and home educated students) to be awarded grades in summer 2021.
We believe there are 4 possible approaches:
(a) for private candidates to complete the papers set by the exam boards for use in schools and colleges. The exam boards would mark the papers (and any completed non-exam assessment) and issue a grade to the private candidate based on their performance.
(b) for private candidates to work with a school or college willing to assess the standard at which they are performing – using the same type of evidence the school and college is considering for its students.
(c) for the exam boards to run normal exams for private candidates to take in the summer of 2021 – appropriate venues would need to be provided.
(d) for the exam boards to run normal exams for private candidates to take in the autumn of 2021 – appropriate venues would need to be provided.
We wish to be confident that there will be a route available for all private candidates to receive a grade. We recognise that, given the pressures on schools and colleges created by the pandemic, and the potential public health considerations, schools and colleges might be reluctant to make entries for and then assess private candidates this year. We also wish to manage the costs to private candidates. We know of some private candidates who were unable to receive a grade in summer 2020 and who did not take the exams in the autumn who are particularly concerned about how the arrangements will work for them. For these students, and others, any further delay could have significant consequences for their progression. We are interested to know which of these options private candidates, in particular, would prefer were put in place. Private candidates will also need to be able to appeal their grade. The route for the appeal would need to align with the way their grade was determined.
53. To what extent do you agree or disagree that private candidates should be able to complete the papers set by exam boards, with them marked by the exam boards?
54. To what extent do you agree or disagree that private candidates should be able to work with a school or college to produce the same type of evidence as the school or college’s other students?
55. To what extent do you agree or disagree that exam boards should run normal exams for private candidates in summer 2021?
56. To what extent do you agree or disagree that exam boards should run normal exams for private candidates in autumn 2021?
57. Do you have any comments on the options for how grades should be made available to private candidates?
58. If the preferred option for private candidates is an exam series, should any other students be permitted to enter to also sit an exam?
National lockdown: Home Educators Exams in 2021, are they cancelled? Should I panic?
Events are rapidly changing and I will endevour to keep this post up to date.
Thursday 7th 7:00pm
The Home Educators’ Qualifications Association (HEQA) has another meeting next Tuesday with ofqual to discuss the EXAMS situation. I will update you on my blog when I see the outcome information. If you have not heard of HEQA here is some information.
HEQA is an amazing group of very experienced Home Educators who have been meeting with ofqual to put the case forward for Home Educators to ensure we are not forgotten in the examination process.
Here is the information from their website https://heqa.uk/
Home educated children in the UK face a number of challenges relating to exams, including:
- Explicit discrimination in policy, such as the 2020 exam replacement system, which excluded a large number of home-educated children
- Difficulties finding suitable centres to sit exams
- Access to exam preparation materials, such as past papers
The Home Educators’ Qualifications Association (HEQA) aims to make things easier.
HEQA provides a channel for home educators to talk to organisations involved in exams — Ofqual, the Department for Education, exam boards, etc. We aim to resolve exam-related difficulties for home-educated children, and avoid a repeat of the Summer 2020 crisis.
We welcome all home educators. If you’re interested in what we’re doing, take a look at the timeline. If you’d like to help us improve the exam situation, please sign up to our mailing list.
Thursday 7th 11:00am
Latest Update from ofqual
They mention Private Candidates (Independent Learners) which is very good news.
We know that this is a difficult time for students, their parents and carers, teachers and trainers. Our message to students is this: please continue to engage as fully as you can in your education. That will be online for the majority of students, or face-to-face for those students still going in to their school, college or training provider. This will put you in the best position, whatever arrangements are made for your qualifications. It’s important that teachers and students can focus on the knowledge and skills needed to equip students to progress to the next stage, whatever form that might take – whether to college, an apprenticeship, university or employment.
The way ahead is not straightforward: exams and standardised assessments are the fairest way of determining what a student knows and can do. We need to consider a wide range of qualifications – from A levels and GCSEs to many different vocational and technical qualifications – and the solution won’t be the same for all. Following the government’s announcement on Monday evening, we also need to consider how alternative arrangements will work for different students, including those who are independent learners. We are discussing alternative arrangements with the Department for Education. We know that many are seeking clarity as soon as possible. We will provide further updates as soon as we can.
The government has announced that schools and colleges can continue with the vocational and technical exams due to take place in January where it is right to do so. This may be particularly important for vocational and technical qualifications which require a ‘licence to practise’, which can only be fulfilled through practical assessment.
Simon Lebus, Interim Chief Regulator, Ofqual
Wednesday 6th January 3:00pm
Education Secretary for England Gavin Williamson answered questions from MP’s in the Commons.
Joy Morrissey the MP for Beaconsfield asked:
Last year the approach to GCSEs and A-levels meant that private candidates such as Home Educated children were unable to obtain a grade. Can my right honourable friend confirm that this year, they will be able to do so.
Gavin Williamson replied:
I know that my honourable friend will be speaking not just many of her constituents in the question she asked, but actually many thousands of youngsters right across the country who will be really worried about this. I have asked Ofqual to take up this issue, to look at it directly, and to make sure that there are measures in place so that those those students are going to be in a position where they’re able to, be in a place where they’re able to get a grade [sic]. I have asked Ofqual to include it as part of their consultation which they will be doing next week and we’ve already discussed as to how this can be done and believe it will be possible to do so.
Written 5th January 2021, 4 hours after the lockdown announcement.
Boris mentioned changes to exams tonight in his speech about another lockdown, I have seen Home educators go into complete panic with in minutes. I just want to say, Don’t Panic! Stay calm and wait to see what happens. More information will be available at some point to help you make the decisions you need to make.
There are lots of Facebook groups for Home Educators to discuss their fears. You can join the AWE Home Education Facebook page HERE where our members are all talking about plans and ideas to cover all eventualities. We have input from exams officers and highly experienced Home Educators. Everyone is helping and supporting each other with advice and sympathetic ears!
My advice is to be aware that there are people who are spreading rumours and speculation as though it is facts, this is not very helpful. Try to seek out advice from people you can trust. Check out sources of information yourself. If you can pluck up courage read the .Gov announcements and check the exam board websites for announcements. Follow TES for updates.
There are many Home Educators in the process of filling in forms, getting ID together and paying for their children’s exams in the next couple of weeks. To those people my advice is to go ahead. Keep records of your children’s exam course work and homework, date everything. Do practice papers under exam conditions and you could even consider video recording it with some kind of proof of the date and the child’s name. That is what I would be doing if my children had exams this year. Some people are considering not booking exams in case they are cancelled, but If you haven’t booked they definitely won’t be sitting their exam this year! Ask your exam centre to confirm that if the exams are cancelled they will give you a refund. I think it reasonable to expect them to deduct admin fees for the work they have to do but you should ask how much they will refund.
I don’t think it will be the same as Summer 2020, surely lessons have been learned and they have time to make arrangements for this Summer. Most importantly, try to keep your students committed to continuing their studies give them positive vibes. I have seen over the years how resourceful and adaptable Home Educators are. They usually find a way to help their children get to where they want to go. That’s the great thing about Home Education we don’t have to all do things the same way!
Keep positive and wait for further news.
Black Friday Education Bargains 2020
There are some great deals out there for Black Friday so I’ll put them on this blog post and add more as I find them.
If you know of any good deals, please let me know via the contact from and I’ll put them up here.
Happy Home Edding
p.s. Rosetta Stone now added!
p.p.s Mrs Wordsmith added!
p.p.p.s Mathseeds and Reading Eggs added!
p.p.p.p.s Code Kingdoms added!
p.p.p.p.p.s Banjo Robinson added!
MEL Science – Up to 3 months free. Buy or give a gift certificate
(use our code code ALLEDU for 25% off the first month if you don’t want to pay upfront)
Banjo Robinson – 50% off – Use discount code code: BLACKFRIDAY
Congratulations to Leigh, the winner of our competition to win a KiwiCo Science Kit.
If you entered but didn’t win, you can still get a great discount on KiwiCo HERE.
If you would like to see the draw taking place (I recorded the screen with no personal information on it), please contact me and I will send you a link to the video.
Hi Home Educators
People have asked me what you actually receive in the MEL Science and MEL Kids boxes, so I have recorded a couple of short films so you can actually see the contents for yourself. If you then want to sign up, follow the links to get the special offer from AWE discounts.
MEL Science kits (age 10+) are very good quality and everything is well thought out and put together to make it easy for children to follow the instructions and get the satisfaction of doing successful experiments. Over the years I have had lots of science kits that have been rubbish with disappointing results that leave the children feeling disinterested. MEL Science kits however will leave your children wanting to do more and will result in them learning more! It’s a win all round.
Have you heard? MEL Science have a new product called MEL Kids, it’s brilliant! I think children will love it. We have an AWE discounts offer too so that’s even better!
MEL Kids is a monthly science kit box that is aimed at age 5 to 10 years. It arrives at your house every month in a fun decorative box that has everything in it for your kids to do a number of experiments. There is an easy to follow instruction book with child friendly characters and easy to read instructions. It’s the sort of thing children will really look forward to receiving and will be really excited to open and get going on the experiments. An easy way to teach them lots of science in a hands on and fun way.
Happy Home Edding!
Online tutors during self-isolation and school closures for the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic
Are you looking for online tutors? If so please read on. We can help with online tutors for Maths, English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, General Science, History and Geography.
Many families are finding themselves in an unexpected position where they are suddenly responsible for their children’s education. This maybe due them self-isolating if they have been exposed to someone with Covid-19 or they may have underlying medical conditions in the family which has forced them to opt to keep their children at home to minimise the risk to loved ones. Others have found their child’s school closing with very little notice leaving them trying to arrange for child care as well as education.
Schools are giving varying levels of support and input to parents. Some have been given work for the children to complete at home, some have been given nothing. It’s all very worrying for parents. One of their concerns may be that their child could fall behind during the weeks or even months that they are not attending school. Another worry is how do you fill your child’s days with worthwhile activities. This is something I am pleased to say, I can actually help with. I have been arranging tutored group lessons for a great many years and work with a group of amazing online tutors who are very experienced and who are able to utilise their skills to support children being temporarily Home Educated. So if you are a family who have found yourself with these concerns please get in touch so I can see how I can help.
We are able to provide families with access to AWE Online classes at KS2, KS3 and GCSE Level in Maths, English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, General Science, History and Geography. I can help with affordable online tutor led group lessons that take place during the daytime and will give your child’s days some structure and stability while helping to ensure they keep up with their education. Tutors are happy to set ‘homework’ to be completed between online lessons should you want it. I hope families will see this as a way for them to get the peace of mind that their child is receiving a suitable education leaving them with time to have fun and enjoy being together. I hope you all stay healthy and the experience of having your children at home is a positive and wonderful experience.
Please don’t feel this is your only option, you don’t have to use tutors. There are many ways for you to deal with your children’s educational requirements from books, projects, Apps or online resources. I home educated my own children throughout their school years and have helped my daughter to Home Educate my grandchildren. It has been an amazing and wonderful experience that changed my life and has resulted in me having about 17 years of experience when at the beginning I had only planned to Home Educate for three months. I use my knowledge and experience on a daily basis advising and supporting people through their Home Educating ups and downs. I know first-hand how you may be feeling at different times. There will be wonderful times but there will also be times you are concerned and uncertain, I hope that will be where I can help you. If you need advice or ideas or want suggestions for how to proceed please get in touch and I will be happy to help if I can. My email is email@example.com
School closures due to Covid 19
Home Education or Home Schooling due to School closures because of Coronavirus Covid 19
I am hearing of many parents who are deciding to remove their children from school due to fears over Coronavirus or being forced into the situation by school closures. This decision had many implications for the families concerned. Many parents are suddenly responsible for their child’s education without any experience or time to research and formulate a plan of how to do so. This can be daunting and worrying for many however I wanted to take the opportunity to say don’t be scared, have fun! See this as an opportunity to enjoy doing things with your child. You may find Home Education suits your family and you could decided never to send them back to school. How wonderful, an amazing adventure awaits………..
My advice is don’t panic. You don’t need to replicate school in your house. You don’t need to sit your child in front of a pile of books all day insisting they work from 9am to 3pm. Home Education is a whole new way of thinking which when you let go of the fear and the panic can be a route to finding your child’s hidden talents and abilities. If you can take the time to follow their lead and watch what they enjoy and the things that spark their interest you can tailor their days to be fun, enjoyable and educational at the same time. Honestly, it is the best thing I have ever done!
Often we find that when children first come out of school they find it difficult to find ways to amuse themselves all day as they are so used to someone else deciding everything for them. At school they are always told where to be, what to do, what to think about and what to learn. There is not much freedom to make their own choices. This new opportunity to Home Educate them may leave some children a bit agitated, like they are asking “ what next” or “where now”. This mind set can take an amount of time to get away from. My advice would be to observe and understand what they are going through. Their lives have been restricted possibly, depending on their ages for many years. The sudden freedom can unsettle them and possibly make them restless while they adjust and find new ways to fill their days. Parents will often describe this period as the “climbing the walls” stage.
For other children the adjustment may be liberating they make wake up the first day and instantly know all the things they want to do and go about it with a passion. This particularly applies to children who have a passion for a particular activity. For example children who love to paint or draw will get out their drawing materials and enjoy the absolute freedom to indulge their passion for as much time as they wish unrestricted by bells and timetables. This may go on for many hours or even days or week. The same applies to children who enjoy playing a musical instrument. You may have the wonderful opportunity to observe their skills as they practice over and over striving to perfect their skills un burdened by time.
One fear that parents often have is that their children will spend endless hours on their screens. Phones, computers and tablets are often seen as a bad use of time. Once you start to Home Educate you will get the opportunity to actually use for educational purposes those same screens. Instead of seeing it as wasted time you may find you can actually use their love of screens to direct their learning. There are a great many educational resources used by Home Educators as a huge part of the education they are able to provide. In the case of young children what they think of as a game or a fun app can actually be teaching them at the same without the moans and groans you may experience should you try to teach them the same things while sitting at a desk with a workbook in front of them.
Times tables are always a big worry and many parents ask what is the best and least painful way to teach them. I have found that the fun apps and computer based games are much more successful than the endless repetitive chanting. You may wish to look at PurpleMash which is an amazing application/programme which is actually used in hundreds of school but is accessible to parents who are Home Educating too. Purple Mash covers all the subjects that children learn at school from age 5 to 11. Its all done in a fun, game based way that children enjoy and look forward to doing, this can be such a help to parents. If you want to benefit for the discounted annual subscription that is available for Home Educators you can buy it with a 50% discount on awediscounts.com/purple-mash It will only cost you £15 with access for a whole year. So even if you only Home Educate during the school closures it is still affordable. You may even find that when your child goes back to school they will opt to use PurpleMash afterschool and at the weekends as a matter of choice as they enjoy it. If however you prefer you could try a non-screen based option which I have found to be really simple and effective for teaching times tables. It’s a card based game that demonstrates how simple it can actually be. Have a look at Tackling Tables as well as Tackling Addition and Subtraction awediscounts.com/tackling-tables-add-subtract I have used their system myself and found it amazingly straightforward and effective.
Another aspect to think about regarding screen time, is that you could use your child’s interest to give them the opportunity to use the skills and interests they have to learn about how all these gadgets actually work. After all by the time your child leaves education even more of our lives will probably be computerised. The world will need experts in all kinds of ways to make all our gadgets work. A great place to start with this would be by giving your child the chance to learn about the coding or programming that actually makes their screen time games and apps work. There are many ways to teach them coding or programming but parents are often worried as they themselves have never learnt it so they feel they are not qualified to teach their child. Luckily there are many ways for your child to learn that will not require your input. On the AWE Discounts website awediscounts.com you will find special discounts for a number of educational products that will facilitate this al all levels. For infant and primary age a great resource is Coding Park, who offer a 35% discount for Home Schoolers or Home Educators See awediscounts.com/coding-park It is so simple, from lesson one they will actually be coding. They gradually work their way through the levels learning new coding skills all the time. It’s a great resource and we are very grateful to Coding Park for supporting Home Educators with the discounted offer.
For older students who are more accomplished with a computing and programming you may like the opportunity to enable them to do an online BTEC course that is a recognised qualification that will look good on their CV and be accepted by college and employers as a worthwhile skill to have. Kanduit courses are completely run online at the students own pace without the need for them to sit an exam at the end. They are assessed as they go along by submitting assignments that are marked and returned to them with useful feedback. There are a number of courses available at different levels leading to various qualifications. Kanduit have been helping numerous Home Educated students through these qualifications and kindly allow us to offer them at a discounted price. This maybe a good option should you decide that your child is benefitting from being Home Educated and that you won’t send them back to school once the Coronavirus situation is resolved. We usually see that students get really engrossed in these courses and work on the assignments and lessons willingly for many hours each week. This is great for allowing them to learn in a more independent way working through the course in their own time as opposed to school based learning on one hour slots. It develops their ability to concentrate too. You can see the courses available on this link awediscounts.com/kanduit-online-ict-courses
You may find you are worried about their maths skills getting behind while they are not having daily lessons at school. I have always found that maths seems to be absorbed better when done regularly each day as opposed to once or twice a week. Its seems children need to practice what they learn and revisit some elements regularly to reinforce them. A tried and tested resource than many Home Educators all over the World rely on as the bulk of their child’s maths curriculum is a great product called ConquerMaths. I have used this for many years with all my children and Grandchildren. The feeling I get from it is that I know that if the child works through the lessons in the programme they will cover everything they need to learn at all levels and ages from age 4 to 18. This has always given me the peace of mind to not worry so much about their maths education especially as it’s not my favourite area of expertise. It’s nice to give that responsibility to ConquerMaths and just watch my child develop their maths skills. ConquerMaths is another resource originally produced for school use that we Home Educators are grateful to have access to especially as they have very kind given us a very large 59% discount on an annual subscription, please note this offer will expire on 5th April so if you want to benefit from the discounted price go to this link awediscounts.com/conquermaths before then. The programme works by showing the child short videos explaining a concept followed by on screen interactive questions that are marked instantly giving them the feedback they need to ensure they know if they are getting it right or need to go over that part again. I much prefer this to the old fashioned way of doing the questions then passing them to a teacher for marking and maybe waiting for a number of hours or days to find out if they have correctly learned the concept. It is hard to be given back a workbook a week after a lesson, see a lot of red crosses and have to then go back and try to work out what you were thinking and where it went wrong. This is a much better alternative.
I hope you do enjoy this opportunity to be responsible for the education of your child. Once you get used to it, it can lead you to a truly wonderful way of life that will benefit the whole family. Good luck and stay healthy.
Home Education and Coronavirus (Covid-19)
If schools close in the Governments Coronavirus action plan, as stated in the ‘Delay phase’, then this is the perfect opportunity for parents/guardians/relatives to engage in short term Home Education. I’m sure that schools will supply teaching materials, but National Curriculum products like ConquerMaths, PurpleMash and ConquerComputing will assist if they are struggling.
Unfortunately, the Prime Minister has said the UK should expect “a substantial period of disruption” so this is not going away soon, as Home Educators we are well prepared to continue to educate our children at home, where the risk of catching Coronavirus is greatly reduced.
Stay safe everyone, and it goes without saying that we all should follow the NHS advice.
Happy Home Edding
What is Home Education?
Put simply, Home Education is when parents or guardians decide to remove their child from, or not start their child in, a school education and take over the responsibility for their child’s education themselves.
“Is it legal?”
Yes. The government states: “As parents, you – not the state – are responsible for ensuring that your child, if he or she is of compulsory school age, is properly educated. Despite the term ‘compulsory school age’, education does not have to be undertaken through attendance at school…”
You, as parent/guardians are then free to decide what your child learns, how they learn, where they learn and who teaches them. Basically there is no fixed curriculum – you decide!
“So can I remove my child from school and do nothing with them?”
No. Although there is no legislation that deals with Home Education as a specific approach, the Government states: “Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states the parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable (a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and (b) to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”
As a special note I want to make sure you know that from the very first day you take on the responsibility to Home Educate, your child must be learning full time. Some people will say you can ‘do nothing’ or de-school for a time but this is not acceptable should a Local Authority inspector ask you what your plan is. However, whatever you are doing with your child actually can be counted in some way as education, it doesn’t mean they have to be sat in front of a pile of books all day. If they help you cook a meal, that has many educational elements as well as life skills. If they help you do the food shopping that counts as an educational opportunity if you give them the chance to calculate the budget for example.
Your child will be learning all the time in one way or another, a suitable education does not mean just ‘book’ learning.
“Will I get funding?”
Unfortunately no, the Government is no longer financially responsible either so all costs must be met by the parents. The parents must commit to ensuring their child receives a full time education that results in the child making progress appropriate for their age and ability taking into account any special educational needs.
The link below takes you to the UK Government’s Department for Education guidance document that explains the law. Please don’t be daunted by the legal wording it is actually a very simple process that can be immensely rewarding and successful for both parent and child.
Government Website on What is Home Education?
Why Home Educate?
Why not! There are numerous different reasons why families choose to Home Educate their children.
Every Home Educator’s decision is different
People Home Educate for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Disillusion with the school system
- Bullying in school
- Religious beliefs
- Political reasons
- Anxiety or stress
- Many, many, more….
There is no ‘one reason’ why parents/guardians decide to Home Educate, you will find people from all walks of life. each with their own reason.
You are in control
For example, you may be a professional who wants your child to follow in your footsteps, or maybe, you think the school system does not devote enough time to Maths, or Chemistry, or Physical Education…
Whatever it is that you and your child want, with Home Education YOU are able to pick and choose what they learn. This could be in the format of tutors, online learning or you teaching them. However be aware, there may be no support from your Local Authority.
If your child is finding school stressful and is not coping
If your child is being bullied or has anxiety or stress at school and you have tried everything to solve the problem, Home Education may be a solution.
Why Home Educate? Why not!
How does Home Education work?
Its entirely up to you and your child to decide how to Home Educate, there is no right or wrong way to do it. I have found that the way we Home Educate as a family is constantly changing, as you try things you can continually adapt to what suits your family.
I found Home Education evolves as you go along. I realised quite quickly that rigid timetables did not work for us, we are very flexible in our days. During primary years we went on numerous outings and trips all over the place. There was lots of learning ‘by doing’ or by attending workshops, exhibitions, talks, museums and similar.
I soon realised that it was completely pointless to force my children to do work books when they were tired so formal learning was a very small part of our day, usually no more than an hour. However if they became engrossed and wanted to continue for interest in which case they may work on a project for a number of days!
What worked for us….
I was aware of the need to ensure I covered the basics like Maths and English so we always had workbooks for those. We also did lots of online learning through numerous different educational websites and apps. By far the most successful one that we used for the longest time was ConquerMaths. It covers all the Maths needed for every age, my son even used it for some A level work. See the following link if you would like to buy an annual subscription for ConquerMaths with fantastic discount for Home Educators of 59% which is a great help, go HERE
I believe the key to successful Home Education for us has been to have lots of fun. To enjoy being together and learning important life skills like how to get along with each other and cooperate, be compassionate and respectful of other people’s needs.
My children have been very much involved in everything that goes on in our house. We always discuss and explain things that are happening. They understand about family finances, why we pay tax, how the UK Government works and why we vote. Basically everything we deal with, they are involved in to some extent. This has given them great general knowledge.