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Home ed and university

(11 Posts)
2kidzandi Thu 22-Jan-09 17:46:25


Just had a quite heated conversation with ex about whether or not to remove eldest ds10 from school. He's absolutely against the idea because he works as a career advisor and says that he has never seen a home edder with more than 3 or 4 GCSEs, oftentimes with none. Insists that it is impossible for anyone to get into a good or prestigious uni with less than the(unnecessary IMHO) 9 GCSEs required by the gov and schools. I Don't really have any evidence to contradict this idea, although I know the blanket stereotyping can't fit, and besides, personally, as long as my children are happy, and have the skills to do whatever, I don't care. (I said this and the reaction wasn't good) Still, i'm wondering if anyone knows anything about how the Universities react to Home eds? Would appreciate any info very much, if only so I can be better armed next time!

Thanks xx

Takver Thu 22-Jan-09 18:58:38

Very non-scientific, I know, but I know one home-edded child who is currently at SOAS in London, can't get much more prestigious than that . . .
Also, in the dim & distant past when I was a student in Cambridge, there were certainly a fair sprinkling of ex HE people.

julienoshoes Thu 22-Jan-09 19:29:19

Well I know hundreds of home educated young people-and have three of mine own.

Home educated young people know that you don't have to do 9 GCSEs to get what you want to.
My three have gone totally different paths-one went to FE college and has the A levels he wants to go to Uni.
He's working right now to save money to do just that.

Dd1 chose not to do any GCSEs/A levels and got a job through life experiences. Has a job, house and life she loves now.

Third child did as many home educated young people do and started her first OU university level course at 15-and passed very successfully. She'll do a second 60 point course before the end of her compulsory school age.
Then she'll decide whether to continue with the OU for her whole degree or to use that as evidence of her ability to study at that level to gain admission at a bricks and mortar university.

We know several who have done this-including one young man who is successfully studying law at Oxford, with no GCSES or A levels to his name. Another friend was invited to apply to several universities when attending an open day, armed with her OU science 180 points. She has almost completed her degree in Paediatric nursing at a University not far from us.
Another home ed Mumsnetter might come along and tell you about her son who is the youngest person ever to do a PhD at Manchester University (in Medical research I believe) after being home educated. He did GCSEs and A levels a few at a time over the years, starting at age 14.
Another mumsnetter may come along and tell you about her children who all won a scholarship to a public school aged 13, when they chose to go. All are doing very well academically i believe, with the eldest doing A levels right now.

If your child does choose to do GCSE/A levels there are a number of ways of going about it.

You can use distance learning courses from a number of companies or you can download the curriculum and work through it yourselves and then enter your son as an external candidate (cheapest way and HEAS and EO are in negotiation with independent schools to see if they can offer places to do the exams)

Your son could do as my son did and go to FE college aged 16+ and take qualifications there.
It has been our experience that FE colleges love home educated young people, as they are well motivated and articulate, getting involved in classes etc. Increasingly we are finding the same with Universities.
One of the top northern universities is even saving 60 places on it's science courses for folks coming through the OU route.

There is even a HE support group especially for families interested in getting their children to do exams. I could find the link for you if you get that far.


AMumInScotland Fri 23-Jan-09 08:56:17

I think he's linnking up two things unnecessarily.

Many Home Ed children don't have a lot of paper qualifications.

Universities would have a problem with schooled applicants who don't have a lot of qualifications. (Because if they have spent years being pushed through an exam factory and didn't get many, that's probably because they are not capable of getting many)

But that doesn't mean that universities would have a problem with bright well-motivated HE applicants who happen not to have gone down the paper-qualifications route.

It's maybe less straightforward, because you have to find other ways of showing what you are capable of, but universities are looking for that something-special anyway, and will treat each application on its merits rather than just assigning points for qualifications.

And, from a completely different direction, there's no reason why HE children can't get lots of GCSEs if they want to - my DS will be sitting for 8 iGCSEs in the spring.

ShrinkingViolet Fri 23-Jan-09 09:02:31

don't have a link, but I read last year that the top US universities (Harvard and the like) are actively seeking home educated students.

Runnerbean Fri 23-Jan-09 09:02:33

This may be it.

and also

might be useful.

2kidzandi Fri 23-Jan-09 12:17:26

Thanks a lot for all your responses, feel a little better "armed" now! However, I am more upset by how often impossible it is for other people (espec ex) to think outside of the box just a little. As someone who has just started he I've found that I already seem to do an awful lot of defending. Whhhhhhhhhy? I'm tired already! When I took my youngest ds out, his head remarked that "I feel you could cope teaching him as he's still young, but unless you return him in year 5 or 6, you'll really struggle"angry I think the reason ex is so against idea of eldest ds being removed is because he still believes that Secondary and exams are still necessary to success. He also annoyingly said that they definitely need the socialization of secondary and I can't wrap them in cotton wool!angry He still insists that a student who cant do 9 gcses will not be considered by good uni's just bottom of the-barrel-onesangry So thanks for your replies, I will present those arguments to him also thanx runnerbean for links!


AbbyLubber Sat 24-Jan-09 11:20:02

I personally know an HE kid who just got a place at a VERY selective school in Oxford (private)for A-levels. Our He son got a scholarshio to local v. competitive indy school form 14 - we did this because he needed lab access due to his interest in physics. You can bail quite late, therefore, if your dcs want to do something you can't offer.

Have never had a home ed kid as a candidate - I'm an admissions person at Oxford - but yes, they would need the same qualifications as any other candidate. No reason why they wouldn't get them, however.

piscesmoon Sun 25-Jan-09 12:16:36

I know a boy who went to Cambridge, he didn't have GCSE's but he had A'levels. You don't have to go to school to take exams.

Mehetabel Mon 26-Jan-09 19:31:55

My ds was autonomously home educated, nothing was ever forced upon him. He did his first GCSE at 12 as an independent candidate, having worked through the syllabus at home. He then did a few WEA courses, getting 3 level one certificates, which the local college accepted as equivalent to a GCSE. He went to college at 14 and started an As level course, doing a couple of GCSE's alongside. Over the next couple of years he did 5 As and A levels, and about 3 or 4 GCSEs (I forget) alongside, mainly because he needed biology, chemistry and physics as by this time he had decided he wanted to have a career in science.

He then applied to about 5 universities. 3 were very keen to meet him, 2 turned him down outright based on his age, as he was only 17 at that point. He ended up getting offers from all 3, but decided upon Sheffield, as it has the best course in his field.

At 20 he left Sheffield uni with a 2.1 biology degree and started a fully funded (and highly competed for) PhD placement at Manchester school of Medicine, researching aging in skin cells. He finishes next year.

Of the kids he grew up with in the local home ed group, as far as I know all have either got employment or have gone on to University, some sooner, some later, at least a couple of them didn't have any gcse's or A levels and instead did foundation courses as an entry requirement. One got offered a place purely on his portfolio.

I would say a larger proportion of HE kids do go into further education than their schooled peers, based on my experience of several hundreds of HE kids.

2kidzandi Mon 26-Jan-09 22:39:09

Wow mehetabel, thanks for your example it was really inspiring!

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