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Studying ALevels at home

(8 Posts)
MakeupLover1 Mon 23-Jan-17 09:23:15

Hi, has anyone got experience of having their child study for ALevels at home and if so, how did you go about it? My son is soon to take his GCSEs at school at the grammar school that he attends. For four years he has suffered with an ongoing health problem which has worsened over the past couple of years. Because of this his attendance rate is extremely low and it is a constant worry and pressure keeping him up with his studies. I'm starting to look into the possibility of him studying his ALevels at home if his health continues as it is. This way he can study at his own pace. Any info would be really apreciated, many thanks, a very stressed and worried mum.

user1471537877 Mon 23-Jan-17 09:49:33

Hi makeup

Although not at that point yet, DD is at interhigh where students study GCSEs and A levels from home

Health wise it's been fantastic for her, educationally she's been fine as she's motivated and achieving

I honestly feel that as long as the young person in question wants to study in that way and has enough self motivation to work they will be fine

Results at our school would appear to back this up, many having successfully gone on to University

indeed the uni's are often very interested in students that have had this type of education we've been told

Saracen Mon 23-Jan-17 11:38:46

There are certainly people who do A levels from home, though many HE kids go to college for them. I have the idea from chatting with others that A levels are much harder (academically) to prepare independently than IGCSEs, so you will probably want support from a tutor or online programme rather than going it alone as many kids do with IGCSEs.

The national Facebook group "HE Group Learning and Tutor Recommendations" should be able to help.

MakeupLover1 Mon 23-Jan-17 12:09:21

Saracen and User 1471 thanks for your replies. It's hard to know where to start so any info from users such as yourselves is much appreciated. Would love to hear from anyone who has a child studying ALevels completely from home, i.e. not attending college to achieve this.

Malermalergoni Mon 23-Jan-17 12:20:14

Hi. You can register to take a level exams, then study for them yourself. It of course depends on which A level it is, as some are linear and some have modules. For sciences for example, most papers have a practical element, and finding somewhere to host for this is a) tricky, and b) expensive. A good starting point would be AQA or OCR or edexcel websites, then search under 'external candidates' .
The studentroom site often has lots of info about this. Hth a little.

Saracen Mon 23-Jan-17 15:26:06

Also see for a beginner's guide.

Bluemoon49 Wed 25-Jan-17 12:53:49

What Malermalergoni said. You need to find a school which will accept external candidates (maybe ask at his current school first) and you will need to pay fees to sit the exams there.

First steps would be too establish which exam boards he would be using - if he is going to be an external candidate you could choose for yourself, although it may depend on which exam boards your local schools offer. Bear in mind that different exam boards can cover slightly different content and have different methods of assessment and marking, so if you have any sort of choice it may be worth considering which one is best for your DS. You can usually find lists on exam board websites of which schools take external candidates for their specifications. From there you can contact the schools and discuss fees.

If he is doing subjects which include coursework it may be more complicated because many schools will accept external candidates for exams only. If they do accept you for coursework you will often have to provide your own tutor who will take responsibility for marking the coursework and sending it to the school. The school will probably prefer them to have qualifications such as a degree in the relevant subject and possibly a teaching qualification and experience of marking.

There will be a deadline for entries (depending on school and exam board) so best to start looking into it during the summer as he will need to be ready to start studying in September at the latest and you might need to submit the entry fees to the school by the January before the exams.

In terms of studying independently at home, I would say he needs to start working through the textbooks as soon as possible, make a plan for covering everything and obviously leave enough time for revision (starting around March at the latest.) DEFINITELY make use of the specification outlines, past papers, mark schemes and examiner reports (all of which can be found on exam board websites) as these will show what he will be assessed on and how it will be marked, which is very important when it comes to A levels.

Search the internet to see whether there are any blogs/websites/youtube channels that offer help for his subjects. thestudentroom can be good for exam tips and subject specific revision notes as well as the chance to talk to other people doing the same courses (a bit like mumsnet but for students).

Tutors may be a good idea if you can afford it. Although I would be careful here - in my experience tutors can be very expensive and actually offer very little help. Make sure they have recent experience of teaching the subjects your son is doing and ideally of the exam board he is sitting with. Try not to end up with someone who hasn't actually been in a classroom for ten years. That's not meant to undermine the value of retired teachers (or even younger teachers who have been home tutoring for a while) but the main thing a student needs once they reach A level is to be guided through the specification and how to pass the exam. When it comes to exams, education changes so rapidly that you really need someone who is totally up to date for them to offer you anything that is worth the money they charge. Bear in mind you can find a lot of help and information on the internet for yourself, as long as you are willing to look.

That's everything I can think of from experience with DD smile

MakeupLover1 Wed 25-Jan-17 13:03:39

Thanks everyone for taking the time to send your replies. There is certainty a lot to consider and your info has given me some useful pointers. I am still hoping that we can find a treatment that improves his health and allow him to continue studying at his grammar school but, if not, at least I am exploring the alternatives now. Again, thank you so much xx

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