If you would like an introduction to the idea of taking GCSEs or A-levels within a home education context in the UK or abroad, please see the page about GCSEs for home educators. Below are some of the organisations which offer help in studying for these exams, all of which charge fees. Note that it’s entirely possible to study at home without outside help, but you will need to ensure that you follow the correct syllabus and find a suitable place to take the exam.The list below is in alphabetical order, and not exclusive. Important: make sure that you read all the terms and conditions, including financial liability, if you decide to use one of these agencies. Please let me know if there are others I have missed.
Correspondence courses for GCSEs (and some A-levels)
This online school offers virtual classrooms in up to eight subjects to IGCSE level. They also offer tuition for the European Computer Driving License (EDCL) qualification.
Cambridge Home School
An online school set up in 2011 by teachers who wanted to support the home education community in the UK. Offers a range of GCSEs and A-levels.
Distance Learning Centre
This organisation provides distance learning courses, including some GCSEs and A-levels, for students who cannot or do not wish to attend a college or other institution. It offers a variety of other courses as well.
First College UK
An online learning community with live classes for students aged 11-17. This prepares them for IGCSE exams (which do not require graded coursework). Classes are held live on four days a week, from 09.30 – 14.00 GMT (UK time) for between 5 to 15 students.
French Tuition online
This site offers a variety of options, both Key Stage Three and IGCSE French in an online environment, with payments by installments. This site offers additional help for those studying French elsewhere, from a native French speaker, or courses specifically designed for home educated students.
This offers online tuition in National Curriculum subjects for students aged 11-16, including IGCSE provision in the final year. Started in September 2005, this is designed for home educated students in the UK or abroad. Anyone wanting to take GCSE exams would have to find a centre, either in the UK or their country of residence (this is sometimes possible at ex-pat schools or British embassies).
Little Arthur Independent School
This school offers packs and tuition for home educators aged 11-16, including IGCSEs in the basic core subjects. They are based in the Scilly Isles, and exams must be taken at their centre.
National Extension College (NEC)
This organisation offers a wide variety of distance learning opportunities, including IGCSEs, GCSEs and A-levels, with tutors who can help with problems and will mark assignments. They can sometimes offer facilities to take the exams in Cambridge.
This is a Christian college set up specifically for online courses for home educated students, both in Key Stage 3 (usually age 11-14) and for GCSEs. Assignments are completed and graded via email and a tutor is available to help, also by email. There are no age limitations, and any number of courses may be taken. Parents or students are responsible for finding an exam centre.
Online College of Art and Design
This college is one of the few places which offers correspondence courses for art and design subjects for IGCSEs and Foundation level diplomas. This can be done in the UK or internationally.
Oxford Home Schooling
GCSEs and A-levels are offered here via correspondence, specifically for students educated at home. There is a student advisor, and also a personal tutor who marks work and assists in any way needed. There are consultations by telephone available at an inexpensive rate within the UK. This can be used by students abroad too, but they usually have to return to the UK to take the actual exams.
Oxford Open Learning
This site offers GCSEs, A-levels and some business courses via distance learning. It is is intended for over-18s who need further qualifications for their careers or college courses.
Sam Martell Science IGCSEs
This offers specially designed courses for home educators. There are both KS3 and IGCSE courses with plenty of practical work and some tutor-marked assignments. Single or double science courses are available.
Sheffield Online College
This college offers GCSE English and psychology, or A-level English, all done online, with exams centres arranged. This is intended for people the UK only; students aged 16-19 who are not in full time education do not have to pay any fees.
Key Stage 3, IGCSE and A Level distance learning courses for all ages. Students are assigned a tutor who gives support via email and Skype, and who also grades assignments. For students in the UK or abroad.
Alternative to GCSEs and A-levels
Christian Education Europe
A different possible option for Christian families is to use a curriculum such as ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) which, although American in origin, is now mostly adapted for European students. This is linked with the ICCE (International Certificate of Christian Education) programme which gives a certificate equivalent to 5 GCSEs after sufficient study at the correct level, and goes on eventually to a diploma which is equivalent to three A-levels in addiction to 8 GCSEs.
This diploma is acceptable at many universities as an alternative to GCSEs and A-levels, and provides an acceptable alternative to the exam route. The cost is probably less than taking that number of GCSE courses by correspondence, and includes tests taken at home rather than formal exams. However the course is highly structured with a considerable number of workbooks, and a right-wing American Christian slant, so would not appeal to everyone.