Home educator FAQs

I educate my children at home. Can they do IGCSEs, GCSEs and A levels with you and if so are there any age restrictions?

Yes, they can. We do take on younger learners provided that they have completed Key Stage 3 or have the equivalent knowledge before going on to IGCSEs and GCSEs. It is up to you as a parent or guardian to assess. Key Stage 3 books are available from libraries, and bookshops, or you can consult your local education authority adviser.

How many GCSEs should I enrol my child on?

Some parents enrol their child on one or two courses, while others enrol their child on nine or ten GCSEs. You don’t have to start them all at once.

NEC will happily accommodate learners who wish to study more than one subject at a time. We would however advise that the student and parent ensure there is enough time for the work to be completed. Although there may be a need or a desire to study several GCSEs at once, this has to be realistic and achievable for the learner. Being able to enrol at any time means it’s easy to add additional subjects if and when the student is ready for them.

Which NEC courses have non-examination assessments (NEA) and how does NEC deal with this?

Our A levels in English Language, English Literature and History include NEA.

For these subjects, students will need to submit at least four NEC assignments to their tutor before they start working on their NEA. This is so that we can ensure authenticity of each student’s work. The course and tutor will help prepare students for their non-exam assessment, which will be carried out towards the end of the course. The tutor will mark and authenticate the work. This will then be forwarded on to the awarding body.

NEC will make the examination entry. This entry includes all written examinations and the NEA. This enables us to deal with all aspects of the NEA. A transfer of candidate application will then be completed to allow students to sit their written examinations at the centre of their choice. To ensure that this process goes smoothly, we advise all students to select one of our partnership exam centres. If a student decides to enter as a private candidate at a private centre, NEC will still need to enter them for the NEA and written exams. Further information will be given once you are enrolled.

For more information please visit our Non-Exam Assessment page.

Is there a discount?

If you are educating your children at home, you are entitled to a discount of at least 10 per cent off any NEC course. Please note that this offer is only applicable when paying in full. NEC can only honour one discount at a time. Discount will be given at point of enrolment and not retrospectively.

Please contact our course advice team on 0800 389 2839 to discuss your particular needs.

What qualifications do your tutors hold?

All tutors recruited by NEC are required to have a recognised teaching qualification and a qualification in the subject they are teaching (at an equivalent or higher level).

How much tutor contact do I get?

You will have a personal tutor for each course you are studying. Your tutor is a subject expert who will mark your work and give you feedback at specific points in your course. NEC learning material is intended to require the minimum of support but you can contact your tutor directly through learn@nec if you are stuck.

Is tutor contact restricted?

A short phone call before submitting an assignment and possibly one afterwards to discuss your tutor's comments is more than adequate for most students. If you think you need more help, please contact the student support team for advice.

Can I have the same tutor for all subjects?

Since our tutors are subject specialists, you will probably be allocated one tutor per subject for each course. For some courses, you may be allocated more than one tutor, each of whom has a different subject speciality.

What extra support can NEC offer my child?

In addition to the dedicated, high-quality support you can expect from all NEC courses, we also offer an additional Enhanced Service designed specifically with students aged under 18 in mind. The service provides enhanced support and extra structure to the course and gives parents the opportunity to be more involved in their child's learning.

NEC has been working with learners of all ages for over 50 years and has used this experience along with a lot of research and a year-long pilot to develop the Enhanced Service. We think the relationship between the student, parent and NEC  is key to providing the best chance of success.

For more information please visit our Enhanced Service page.

What is an IGCSE and can my child still get into university (after A levels) if they have this instead of a GCSE?

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is an international qualification. IGCSE is currently offered as a qualification by CIE and London Examinations (Edexcel International).

The IGCSE is typically studied by 14- to 16-year-olds, and prepares students for further academic work, including progression to A level study and the IB diploma programme. Cambridge and Edexcel IGCSEs are recognised by academic institutions and employers around the world. We would always recommend that you check with the academic institution or employer before choosing a subject, to verify which one they would prefer. UCAS recognises IGCSE as equivalent to the UK GCSE.

How does IGCSE compare to GCSE?

The IGCSE was created by the major examining bodies as a GCSE-type examination for the international marketplace. The academic demands (‘standards’) of IGCSE are equivalent to those of GCSE. They are aligned to the standards of the UK GCSE, and equivalent on a subject-for-subject, grade-for-grade basis.

Where does my child sit their exams?

It is your responsibility to make arrangements for your child to take their exams. Students enter for exams as private candidates and you should make sure that the exam centres, usually schools, you approach are aware of this. Please note that centres charge fees for entering to take exams. Exam centres will be able to advise you when your exam(s) will be held to allow you to schedule time to revise as thoroughly as possible. Examination timetables are also available in advance from the relevant examining bodies – you will find contact details in your course materials, exam handbook or in our online resources.

You must make examination arrangements in plenty of time – we advise at least six months before the exam date.

For more information please visit our Exam Information page.

Still got a question?
If you can’t find the answer to your question above please contact our Customer Relations team on 0800 389 2839 or email info@nec.ac.uk.