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Qualifications and exams


If your child decides they want to take GCSEs then you should make your preparations as early as possible.

It is sensible to start planning when your child is 14+ (year 9). CSW Group (formerly known as Careers South West) will give you advice about the qualifications he/she needs for any chosen career. Contact details for CSW Group.

You will need to find out where your child can sit the examinations. This must be an accredited centre. Contact your local school or further education college to see if it will accept external candidates. The Elective Home Education Service is also able to provide a list of Devon schools and centres that have indicated that they will accept external candidates.

You may have to use the same syllabus or exam board as the school or college and for this reason, it is important that you contact school(s) very early in year 10 (or even year 9) to find out what subjects or syllabus are being followed. Entries should be made by January in year 11 at the latest, but earlier discussion is advised.

Parents should be aware that schools are unable to support home-educated students with coursework requirements. If a particular syllabus requires coursework elements to be marked or moderated or both this remains the responsibility of the student’s parent(s) or carer(s), through the use of a qualified assessor (possibly a suitably qualified home tutor.) The school will not take any responsibility for ensuring that coursework requirements are met before the examination is taken.

Entering, administering and invigilating external examinations are costly processes. Costs must be met by home educators and it will be important to agree with the school what these costs are, and that they will be paid prior to entry being made. Schools will provide details of when fees must be paid.

Examination boards

All examination boards offer examinations for external candidates. When you contact them you need to tell them this is the information you need. You also need to tell them when (in which year) your child is going to sit their GCSEs. Parents or carers should contact the individual examination boards about the most appropriate syllabus to follow.

The contact details for the exam boards in England are:

Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA), Stage Hill House, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XJ

Pearson, One90, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7BH

OCR, 1 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB1 2EU,

Please note that local examination centres have sole discretion over whether or not they are prepared to accept entries. The responsibility for liaising with the centre is entirely that of the parent.