A level home learning using online courses

(11 Posts)
Runningtokeepstill Tue 03-May-16 15:48:48

Hi, Has anyone got experience of distance learning for A level subjects using online courses? Ds, 16, is currently in FE college but this year has been a washout due to health related absences and lack of support and he's been withdrawn from exams. I have just started an EHCP application on his behalf and ideally we are looking at him starting new courses next year with the same local FE college if they can commit to supporting him.

BUT...we are also waiting to hear what the "bottom line" is for attendance on his college courses as there is no point in him starting a course if they are just going to chuck him off it after a few weeks. So distance learning might be the only option. If so I'm hoping for the LA to fund through the EHCP as I'm already funding healthcare due to lack of local NHS provision. But I need to know what is worthwhile as there are lots of providers out there.

Ds is hoping to do A levels in ICT and Media Studies plus one other (Sociology? Economics? History?). I noticed InterHigh does Media at A level but haven't seen any other providers for this subject. But then InterHigh doesn't do ICT. Briteschool say they do A levels but it's all a bit vague. I think he needs a course where he can interact with a tutor in some way if at all possible. If there's not much tutor contact then online content rather than stuff arriving through the post would be better.

Becca19962014 Tue 03-May-16 22:09:51

In terms of tutor support I didn't have any problem, there plenty of options in terms of email, Skype, telephone etc.

But there is something you need to consider. I tried to do an a level via distance learning, however, what I wasn't aware of was the difficulty in finding somewhere to sit the exams - in the end I was forced to withdraw for this reason. Although there were exam centres close by none were willing to allow me to sit my exam (I was willing to pay for invigilation and to be entered as a private candidate). I was turned down due to risk I represented to their stats as I wasn't recieving teaching there and they couldn't trust my grades wouldn't impact on them. I approached schools and even businesses who were registered exam centres but none would take me.

As background I've studied at higher education and hold a professional degree - so not a study risk. I even got letters from previous course tutors. But they still refused.

There are some providers who have their own exam centres (like [[ www.nec.ac.uk NEC]] who I was going to study with but their exam centres were too far from me). You really need to look into where he can sit exams.

Becca19962014 Tue 03-May-16 22:13:54

Sorry for link screw up.

I also wanted to say be careful not all providers are genuine. I did a GCSE with a very dodgy provider years ago (I stupidly fell for the hype on their site) and failed that exam because I wasn't taught the syllabus I needed for the exam (and then the syllabus wasn't available online like it is now). It cost hundreds of pounds and was a disaster. Look carefully places that offer courses, and how long they have been doing them for. My experience of NEC was much more positive than the other one, which has now gone out of business (not a shock!)

Runningtokeepstill Wed 04-May-16 09:04:39

Hi Becca, I knew it could sometimes be tricky to find local exam centres but didn't know that they felt "outsiders'" results could affect their statistics. Ds has had a lot of difficulties accessing state education so probably won't come across as a good candidate to exam centres even though he is capable and motivated to do well.

Becca19962014 Wed 04-May-16 10:18:01

I didn't know either until I tried to book. I'd already been studying for sometime but the centres refused to accept me. In the end the only choice I had was either go to their centre (which is very far from me) or drop out. That wasn't the providers fault who were really great.

Of course it might just in my area, and I'm also nowhere near your DS age (though why that would make me such a risk I've no idea) if I was you then check where he could sit the exams now and which syllabus the providers you are looking at teach to and starting asking about exams now, at least then you would know.

Runningtokeepstill Wed 04-May-16 13:56:08

Thanks, Becca

Has anyone here had dc who've used online schools for A levels?

PurpleDino123 Thu 05-May-16 14:57:35

Hi OP,

My sister is doing her A-Levels from home - she got a folder sent to her door, but gets tutor support via email (there's tutor marked questions, etc. too). She has exams booked at her old college (they are letting her sit them there, as she was accepted, but just couldn't attend).

It takes a long time to get used to studying from home, she has only really learnt the material in the last month! However, it proves how quickly you can learn it.

Runningtokeepstill Sat 07-May-16 15:48:42

Thanks. I think you are right about taking some time to get used to studying at home. It's not my ds's preferred way to study. He's also had experience of trying to learn a course syllabus in a short period of time as that is what happened regarding some of his GCSE's . It was due to joining a school when courses were already well underway.

He is hoping to get something sorted out at college but like your sister may not be able to attend and at least distance learning does offer the scope to continue with education.

I wish your sister well with her A level exams. It sounds like she is very determined

makati Fri 17-Jun-16 18:11:06

My daughter is currently studying A levels in Biology, Geography and Environmental Studies with the National Extension College and so far, so good. She gets on well with her tutors, they mark her work promptly and she has become very organised and motivated and lives doing things on her terms, in her own time. She did start at Sixth form college but was ill with glandular fever and encephalitis and needed to take it easy, and still does sometimes, so this suits her really well. Good luck.

fixstupid Thu 07-Jul-16 21:20:55

Interhigh now have their own exam centre which is fab! They offer 18 subjects now. Briteschool offer a far smaller selection. Pembrokeshire College online also offer the science A levels - including practicals which has traditionally been really tricky to organise for these subjects. There is also a Facebook group for single subject tutors who are HE savvy and teach online. www.facebook.com/groups/HEOnlineTutorsGroups/

he-exams.wikia.com/wiki/HE_Exams_Wiki is the place to look for exam centres. Generally the advice is to find your exam centre in the subject you want to do and then look for providers that cater for that syllabus.

catslife Sat 23-Jul-16 16:15:11

Ds is hoping to do A levels in ICT and Media Studies plus one other (Sociology? Economics? History?). I noticed InterHigh does Media at A level but haven't seen any other providers for this subject. But then InterHigh doesn't do ICT.
Unfortunately ICT (or IT) A level isn't available anymore - it's been replaced by A level Computer Science or level 3 equivalents in IT e.g. BTEC or Cambridge Technicals. This is part of government reforms to address the shortage of computer programmers. So you won't find this course offered by any provider (either on-line or in a sixth form or college).

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