Finding an exam centre
From HE Examinations
How to find a centre
It is best to try to register with an exam centre around six months before the exams are due. It is possible to enter much later, even up to a week before the exam, but exam board fees rise sharply for late entries, and you risk not being able to find a convenient exam centre. The fee you will have to pay comprises the exam board entry fee (currently about £28.50 for GCSEs and around £35 for IGCSEs) plus an administration fee for the exam centre, to reimburse them for the inconvenience. The admin fee varies hugely, from around £25 at some centres to over £150 at others.
Check the list (below) on this Wiki for exam centres which have been used by home educators, and also the HE-Exams Yahoogroup exam centre database. People don't always add their exam centres to the list so neither is a complete list of home-ed-friendly centres, but it's a good start. It is also worth asking on the HE-Exams group in case anyone knows of another centre in your area which has not yet been added to these lists.
If these approaches do not bear fruit, you will have to put in some legwork. Check the lists of centres available to private candidates on the exam board sites. Now, just because a school appears on that list it doesn't mean that they will accept private candidates generally - it can just mean that they have in the past, or may have allowed a current student to take an extra qualification. It does mean, however, that it is worth asking. It is also worth asking local schools even if they are not listed as having taken private candidates before. Often people find that independent schools are more willing to accept private candidates.
If you're aiming for Edexcel IGCSEs then the school does not need to be one which offers IGCSEs to its own students in order to take private candidates. If the school is registered with Edexcel for GCSEs then they can accept candidates for IGCSEs too. They just put in the exam code in their online entry system. It is possible that the school might not be aware of this but you can ask them to contact Edexcel, who will confirm it for them.
If the school does not have any other students sitting the same IGCSE as you want to sit, they may have candidates sitting another exam at the same time, eg a GCSE in another subject. In that case, the private candidate can usually sit in the same room and share an invigilator. If the exam centre does not have anybody else taking an exam on that day then you would normally be asked to pay for an invigilator (or can offer to do so if they just look lost and say "But nobody else is sitting one that day..."). Sometimes home educators have provided an invigilator from their group to do this.
It can take some legwork and speaking to quite a few schools to track down a centre, but people generally do find somewhere.... very occasionally people have travelled and stayed near the centre for the exam period, but this is rare.
Exam centres are under no obligation to accept private candidates; it creates extra work for them and may involve some disruption to their schedule or difficulties for the school. They are entitled to charge an admin fee which compensates for this to some degree, and that fee varies hugely - from £15 per subject at some schools to over £150 at others.
Please be aware that home-ed candidates and their parents may be seen as representatives of the whole home-ed community, and we need to be professional in our dealings with exam officers. Any dispute could lead to that centre refusing to take any more private candidates, so please think carefully before proceeding.
Making_entries_and_sitting_exams - for the next step after finding your exam centre.
- Edexcel: information for private candidates and Registering and paying as a private candidate. Note that you should try centres which are listed for GCSEs as well as IGCSEs as, currently, any school registered as an Edexcel GCSE exam centre can also accept candidates for IGCSE.
Please note that the lists of centres are often inaccurate. People often resort to phoning round all the schools and colleges in their area to find out if they will take external candidates.
Independent Schools and Colleges
One parent comments: Often, independent schools and colleges are your best bet for finding an exam centre near you. When I was looking in the South West, I emailed every independent secondary school within an 80 mile radius! Of these, about five responded positively. The website for the Independent Schools Council lists every independent school by area.
The Oxford Open Learning site has a list of all the schools on their books that have accepted private candidates to sit GCSEs in the past.
List of Exam Centres
Centres in England
- Bristol: http://www.igcseexams.co.uk/
Exam Centres Accepting Private Candidates for GCSE, IGCSE and A Level Please feel free to add new information or fix incorrect information.
- Bristol - 3A Tutors
Can accommodate all boards and all subjects including orals and practicals. They charge a lot more for exams than the schools do. 1A High Street, Staple Hill, Bristol, Avon BS16 5HA 0117 910 9931 http://www.3at.org.uk/info.php?p=2
- Bristol - St Katherines
Near J19 of M5
- Bath - Monkton Combe School
The exams officer is Gill Newnham Church Lane Monkton Combe, Bath, Avon BA2 7HG 01225 721 102 www.monktoncombeschool.com
Truro High School for Girls. Contact Jean Rice on JRice@trurohigh.co.uk
- Devon - The Small School, Hartland (North Devon)
The school is registered with AQA, EDEXCEL, OCR, Cambridge International and WJEC, and is able to offer examinations at GCSE, iGCSE, and both AS and A2 at GCE contact Paul Wilkinson (Exams Officer) by e mail email@example.com, or telephone 01237 441 672
- Exeter - The Maynard School, Exeter
All boards, all subjects except practicals http://www.maynard.co.uk/
- Gloucester - Brockworth Enterprise School
The exam officer is Phil Vaughan. They do at least ICT IGCSE (including practical) Mill Lane Gloucester GL3 4QF 01452 863 372 www.bes.gloucs.sch.uk
- Gloucester - Mill brook Academy
Do at least IGCSEs
- Ilfracombe - Ilfracombe Arts College
Edexcel and CIE IGCSEs at cost. Ilfracombe Arts College, North Devon EX34 9JB Tel. +44 (0)1271 863427 Contact Margaret Holman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Ilfracombe - Ilfracombe School
Charge for the paper and £10 admin for the year.
- North Somerset - Sidcot School, Winscombe BS25 1PD
IGCSEs http://www.sidcot.org.uk/contact/ Apparently no longer taking private candidates.
Taunton - Richard Huish College
South Molton - West Buckland School Only charge for the paper (£36 per subject)
- Wareham - Purbeck School
Edexcel GCSE and IGCSE but not CIE Mark Taylor - MTaylor@purbeck.dorset.sch.uk Costs about £50 per exam, including invigilation.
- Wimborne - Queen Elizabeth School
Accept external candidates for some exams.
- Portsmouth - Mayville High School
Most Edexcel IGCSES ( no orals or practicals) Some GCSEs ( without controlled assessment) Contact- entries via local home ed group email@example.com
- Southampton - Wessex Tutors
GCSE and Edexcel IGCSE - all subjects.
- Havant - Woodlands PRU
CIE exams only Contact - entries via local home ed group firstname.lastname@example.org
- Brighton & Hove - Steiner School
Some people have taken AQA Modular Maths GCSEs there as external candidates Contact details: http://www.brightonsteinerschool.org.uk/contact.html
- Shoreham-by-Sea - Lancing College
They cover all the examining bodies. Cost £70 per IGCSE subject in 2011 £60 for both papers in English language with CIE. Contact Pat King, exams officer: email@example.com
In Central London:
In Aylesbury: Kip McGrath Centre
In Newhaven, East Sussex, Tideway School 01273 517601. Exams officer, Fran Mortimer is very helpful.
Lancing College in West Sussex has accepted private students in the past for IGCSEs.
- North London - Vale Farm
Learning Hub, Vale Farm Sports Centre, Watford Road, Wembley HAO 3HG
Tel: 0208 908 123
My son is doing his IGCSE's there now and we are very happy with it and they are not as expensive as some of the private colleges in central and north london (£110 per exam) The room they use is a decent size and plenty of desk space. The Learning Hub is within the sports centre.
- Crowborough - Beacon Community College
They are signed up with Edexcel and CIE but say that Edexcel is easier for them.
- Brighton - Lancing College
At least IGCSEs Pat King - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Epsom - Cornerstones
- Wimbledon - Southfields Community College
- Gillingham - Mid Kent College
They charge £80 per IGCSE/GCSE.
- Maidstone - Mid Kent College
They charge £80 per IGCSE/GCSE.
- Hendon - Brookes College
email@example.com http://www.londonbrookescollege.co.uk/ourexaminationcentre Edexcel centre Charges £140 per subject
- Sidcup - Bexley Adult Education College
Offer a range of GCSEs for HE students 14+ Also run classes to allow you to achieve the controlled assessment component of some subjects (£8/hour) http://www.adultedbexley.co.uk/SubjectHomeEd1.html
- SE London - Corelli College (formerly Kidbrooke School)
GCSE and IGCSE (They prefer to do Edexcel for IGCSEs) Cost around £50 / subject Contact Richard Cleall firstname.lastname@example.org
- St Albans
- Richmond Upon Thames
Information on centres sought for this area. Can anyone help?
- Central London - Campbell Harris College, High Street Kensington
Edexcel, OCR, AQA, WJEC IGCSEs/GCSEs/ Alevels Also A level Physics and Chemistry practicals http://www.campbellharris.co.uk/Content.asp?ID=18
- London - Sydenham School, Lewisham
- Aylesbury - Kip McGrath Centre, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
AQA, Edexcel GCSEs/IGCSEs/A levels http://www.kipaylesbury.co.uk/contact.htm
- Cambridge - Cambridge Sixth Form College
Lots of choice of boards and subjects
- Ely - The Kings School
They say they will try to accommodate any requests, we've sat exams from CIE and OCR so far.
Edexcel, CIE , and AQA. They are also registered to take A level candidates. The fee for sitting the exams is £65 for all GCSE IGCSE levels and £125 for A levels. Please send all enquiries to: email@example.com
- Faversham - Queen Elizabeth Grammar School
IGCSEs (including ICT practical)
- Banbury - Chenderit School
The exams officer is Mrs Sue Henn At least English Lang and Lit, History and Biology (IGCSE). Exam fee, about £35 plus a £15 admin charge. The £15 is not per exam, just per booking.
- Tonbridge - Hayesbrook School
Do science, carrying out the controlled assessment exam at their centre too. Contact Barbara Dunn
- Oxford - St Edward's School
Cheap, not great service.
- Oxford - Greene's Tutorial College
Expensive, but very good service.
We phoned the LA and, although they tried incredibly hard to refer us back to Edexcel, when it became clear that I was happy to stay on the phone all day insisting that Edexcel had referred us to the LA they gave a huge sigh and passed me onto Family Services, who were very sympathetic and passed me onto the Schools Effectiveness Unit, who were extremely sympathetic and phoned schools in the area, until they found an exam officer who would help. As it turns out, we cannot sit Edexcel exams at this school as they are not a registered centre – but we are sitting two AQA GCSEs there. Meantime, we discovered a local private school who are an IGCSE centre who are happy for us to sit the IGCSEs there. Both schools will be charging at cost – we have been given the ball park figure of no more than £60 per exam.
- Warwick - Warwick School
No longer taking external candidates
- Leicester - Regent College
Take a look on their site to see which boards and exams they offer. Contact Exams Officer - Jo Cost is £30 per exam (no matter how many papers) for the first exam and £28 for subsequent exams
- Lincoln - Lincoln Priory
- Mansfield - Queen Elizabeth School
- Dronfield - North Star UK
- Manchester - Tuition College
Edexcel and AQA
- Wigan - Rose Bridge High School
01942 510712 Exams officer in mon, tues and wed No longer taking external candidates
- Ormskirk - Ormskirk School
Contact Jane Covey
- Fleetwood - Rossall School
Mr Asher 01253 774258) there was very helpful. They do a non coursework English exam there. Also do O levels.
- Blackpool - Arnold School
Contact Dr Treharne
- Oldham - Hulme Grammar School
OCR, Edexcel, AQA for GCSE and Edexcel for IGCSE. Do not do CIE. They do not offer any exams to private candidates with coursework, practicals or oral components. Enrolment charge of £75 for firs exam plus £25 per additional exam. Also approx £30 exam board fee per exam. Martha.Hulme@ohgs.co.uk
- Manchester - Cheadle Hulme
No longer take private candidates.
- Liverpool - Clarendon College Montessori School
- Wirrall - Birkenhead 6th form college
They offer lots of different exam boards (but not CIE IGCSEs), and recommended that we use Edexcel IGCSEs. Subjects include English, Maths, Chemistry , Biology and History They charge around £50 per subject plus an administration fee of £50 per session. Contact Elaine Christian
- Macclesfield - Macclesfield Tutorial College
Their fees are on their web site. Allows private candidates to sit GCSE practical and science exams.
- Manchester - Flixton Girls School
Any board, any exam. £10/hour invigilation plus cost of papers. Contact Sue Massey.
- Manchester - The Woodsend Centre
IGCSEs (edexcel) and they do AQA GCSEs and A levels as well though not sure about Cambridge. A medical Pupil Referral Unit. Very small unit so not too much like a school. Contact Judy Cuppello. The cost was about £80 per subject. This includes an invigilation fee and you could be in a room on your own. Exam fee plus £20 plus £12 invigilation per paper.
- Manchester - Trinity High School
Will take external candidates but only for examinations that they sit, so we did AQA maths AS there (C1 C2 and MS1B) but they don't do A2. They do Edexcel GCSE maths. They only charged us £65 for all three AS maths exam units last year.
- Penrith - Ullswater Community College
Very helpful. Take external candidates.
- Halifax - Rastrick Independant School
IGCSE £120 in total for a three paper physics exam
- Skipton - Craven College
Online courses in Biology, French, German, Italian, Physics, Maths, English
- Sheffield - Hillsborough College
Do at least Maths GCSE
- Sheffield - Sheffield College
Offer an online GCSE in English with WJEC Available to ages 14 and over http://www.online.sheffcol.ac.uk/index.cfm?pid=0e7fdfcc-7ef3-409c-ad03-9e68cda5b1b9
- East Yorkshire - Pocklington School
At least Edexcel and CIE
Centres in Wales
- Monmouth - Home Ed Partners
GCSEs, with controlled assessments, and IGCSEs Edexcel and WJEC. Waiting to hear if they can use AQA http://www.homeedpartners.co.uk Rosemary, who runs it, is very pro HE and will look at all sorts of ideas to see if they can be accommodated. The plan is to add things like ECDL and BETECs if it can be done. Courses to lead up to exams are run for regular attenders and distance learners. Candidates can be entered as internal rather than external but would mean they would need to attend some study sessions and not be registered at another centre. This does, however, open up the chance of GCSEs which are not normally available to private candidates e.g. Food Tech and Child Development.
- Newtown - Coleg Powys
Do IGCSEs at least. Very accommodating. http://www.coleg-powys.ac.uk/
- Moreton School, The Howells in Denbigh and Ellesmere College don't take external candidates.
- Oswestry - Oswestry School
Do at least Edxecel IGCSEs
- Conway - Conway Education Centre
Do at least IGCSE Eng Lang spec A
Centres in Northern Ireland and Eire
- Craigavon - Brownlow College
Kieran McKernan, Examinations Officer Brownlow Integrated College Tullygally Road Craigavon Co. Armagh BT65 5BS 028 3834 2121 firstname.lastname@example.org
He needs to hear in January for summer entries. He won't help with listening/practical exams, except perhaps Art. They do Edexcel and CCEA (and maybe others but not CIE)
- Holywood: Rockport School do AQA and CCEA and will happily accept home-educated children for these exam boards.
- Newtownabbey: The Free Presbyterian School will accept home-educated children. It is a CCEA centre and is currently applying to be an Edexcel centre for IGCSEs.
- Belfast - Conway Education Centre
http://www.conwayeducation.com/?page_id=488 Although the website says that they don't help with listening/practical exams, in fact they do. Can provide for any exam board and any exam you want, so far we have only used Edexcel for IGCSE English Lang and Geography. Contact name for them is Brenda.
- Dublin: At the moment, as far as I know, you have to go to the tutorial centre in Dublin to do IGCSEs. Please update this if you know otherwise.
Centres in Scotland
Fettes College, in Edinburgh, can accommodate some exam takers. It's also worth contacting the exam officers at Merchiston Castle School and St Leonards in St Andrews. All these schools offer GCSEs, which may now be difficult to take as an independent candidate. Fettes also offers some IGCSEs.