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 GCSE correspondence courses. They all charge fees. Note that it’s possible to study for GCSEs 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. Some offer A-levels as well as GCSEs.
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.
GCSE Correspondence course providers
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
This is an online school set up in 2011 by teachers who wanted to support the home education community in the UK. It offers a range of GCSEs and A-levels.
Carshalton Tutorial College
This college offers GCSEs and A-levels by distance learning, in maths, sciences and computer studies.
Distance Learning Centre
This organisation provides distance learning courses, including some GCSEs and A-levels. It is 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
First College is an online learning community with live classes for students aged 11-17. This prepares them for IGCSE exams (which do not require graded coursework). The college holds live classes 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. It does so in an online environment, with payments by instalments. The site offers additional help for those studying French elsewhere, from a native French speaker. It also has courses specifically designed for home educated students.
This school offers online tuition in National Curriculum subjects for students aged 10 and above, including IGCSE provision. Started in September 2005, this is designed for home educated students in the UK or abroad. Anyone wanting to take GCSE exams would sit their exams at the nearest exam location or at a destination of choice in the UK or abroad. InterHigh also has its own exam centre in South Wales.
This college offers a range of IGCSEs and A-levels, by correspondence. It is run by Pembrokeshire College.
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 students have to take exams at their centre.
National Extension College (NEC)
This organisation offers a wide variety of distance learning opportunities. These include IGCSEs, GCSEs and A-levels. There are 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 formerly known as Northstar. It was set up specifically for online courses for home educated students, both in Key Stage 3 (usually age 11-14) and for GCSEs. Students have to send all their assignments by email. A tutor will grade them, and should also be available to help, also by email. There are no age limitations, and students may take any number of courses. 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
Oxford Home Schooling offers GCSEs and A-levels via correspondence. They are specifically for home educated students. There is a student advisor, and also a personal tutor who marks work and assists in any way needed. They offer consultations by telephone at a reasonable rate within the UK. Students living abroad can use this 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. Students do all the work online, and the college arranges exams centres. This is intended for people in the UK only. Students aged 16-19 who are not in full time education do not have to pay any fees.
This is a Cambridge-approved home education college that offers Key Stage 2 & 3, Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge International A Levels. Students and parents have their own progress manager to give support and guidance. Tutors provide rapid and detailed feedback on assignments via an intuitive online system.
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). Although American in origin, this has mostly been 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. It goes on eventually to a diploma which is equivalent to three A-levels in addiction to 8 GCSEs.
Many universities accept this diploma as an alternative to GCSEs and A-levels. It 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. There is also a right-wing American Christian slant, so it would not appeal to everyone.