Home educating at KS4
Key Stage 4 is the legal term for the two years of school education which incorporate GCSEs, and other exams, in maintained schools in England normally known as Year Ten and Year Eleven when pupils are aged between 14 and 16. Wikipedia
KS4 is the new way to describe the GCSE years of education in England.
GCSEs can certainly be undertaken by home educated children, and can actually offer a more flexible and appropriate way for them to tackle these important exams. It’s worth checking your child actually needs GCSEs, as some A levels do not require any certification for enrolment, and many vocational courses will also not require them.
Some children can be enrolled to take GCSEs very early in their careers, letting them tackle one or two courses at a time rather than taking everything at once. Others may wait until they are 16 to register for GCSEs, when they can then take them at college rather than an examination centre, saving their parents the cost of examining them privately.
Home schooling resources for teenagers
Here is a selection of some of the most popular and highly regarded resources for home schooling to GCSE standard:
- Mathswatch: Complete maths education for GCSE, with CD-ROMs, online resources, eBooks, a YouTube channel and a smartphone app all included in the price. £4 per CD or £375 per year for everything.
- TopMarks: An interactive website with learning activities, resources and links to further interesting sites for ages 5 – 18.
- S-Cool: A GCSE revision website covering biology, English, French, PE, chemistry and much more.
- BBC Bitesize: Interactive GCSE revision help for a huge range of subjects.
- Intel Education Resources: World class STEM education resources from the IT giant.
- CGP books: The absolute Bibles for anyone getting ready for GCSE exams, covering all the syllabus in examination board approved formats.
- Past papers from exam boards: Downloading past papers from the exam boards website is a great way to understand the level which is required for your child. The most common exam boards in the UK at the moment are AQA, OCR, Pearson (Edexcel) and WJEC Eduquas.
- HE Exams Wiki page: For answers to all your home education to GCSE standard questions, as well as links to absolutely tonnes of resources, bookmark this page now.
- Yahoo support group: Sometimes there’s nothing better than knowing you’re not alone, and this Yahoo group will put you in touch with lots of like-minded and equally challenged parents out there.
- Ed Yourself: A huge amount of information about taking exams, the rules of GCSEs, expenses, funding and much, much more.
If it’s all a bit daunting to attempt to coach your child through GCSEs yourself, there are a number of fee paying distance learning courses available from a range of providers which can support your child through their GCSEs from anywhere in the world. There is a comprehensive list of these available here.
Some GCSEs are heavy on the coursework, which makes them impractical for a home educated child due to the strict regulations surrounding verification and marking of the work. In this situation, the IGCSE (I for international) provides a great route to access these qualifications which is 100 per cent exam based. Find out more about these qualifications here.
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