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Homeschooling: it’s not that easy
In the 2016/17 academic year, 300,000 children were part of the homeschooling surge. This number has almost doubled from the six years previously. More students than ever before are relying on parents or external agents to educate them. And yet, the Government is offering less and less support for families that make the choice to home school their children. The decision to homeschool a student is not one taken lightly. It means pulling the student out of a system where they are guaranteed a certain amount of teaching hours and social interaction. Of course, sometimes the decision to home school a child is a direct result of these factors. For example, if the child is being bullied or the parent feels the school isn’t nurturing the pupil’s academic development as they see fit. With school places becoming more competitive and government funding for schools seeing less and less money being poured into education, it’s only natural that some parents would seek to educate their children independently.
Despite all of this, those parents that still wish to follow the usual academic route of GCSE then A-Levels are finding themselves at a disadvantage; as the government fails to allow a number of exam papers to be sat by private candidates. This relatively recent development has been a long time coming, as the general power of the private candidate has been in decline. From our experience helping private candidates find exam centres, it’s nearly impossible to sit science GCSE, due to the practical component, or nearly any languages unless you have a special tutor or teacher to help you with the oral section. In fact, the only way to sit exams in to take the iGCSE’s instead of the GCSE. This involves changing syllabus, options, books and text, after just having had the upheaval of leaving a school. Another area of assessment is the Pre-U (Cambridge assessed Pre-University examinations) introduced in 2008. You cannot retake coursework or orals as a private candidate. Again, most people have to switch to A-level, from the Pre-U, something most are not happy about.
Moreover, with the changing nature of the GCSE and A-Level curriculums, parents are finding it harder to access information to support their children’s homeschooling development. This runs parallel to private candidates hoping to retake as the opportunity to retake A-Levels and GCSEs are scaled back significantly, and often due to the overhaul of previous syllabi.
What about exam centres for homeschooling?
Increasingly more candidates are studying for exams and only finding that there is nowhere to sit them. Then, they need to restudy for an entirely different curriculum that is totally adjacent to the content they previously studied. Moreover, with the changing nature of the GCSE and A-Level curriculums, parents are finding it harder to access information to support their children’s home schooling development. This runs parallel to private candidates hoping to retake as the opportunity to retake A-Levels and GCSEs are scaled back significantly, and often due to the overhaul of previous syllabi.
Surely it’s not that hard to register as a private candidate?
This complication doesn’t help the already lonely and stressful situation families experience when they choose to home school their children. Most parents are not educators, but responsible guardians that want the most for their child. As a result, they often find it challenging to navigate the already over-complicated education system alone. Therefore, they end up either having to shell out for advice and tuition, or need to become overnight experts in the schooling system, most of whom simply don’t have the resources or time to do either.
The result, unfortunately, is often a “lost student effect”. They find it difficult to continue pursuing qualifications through the normal route and don’t achieve the regular support they need to flourish.
However, there is hope. Many tutoring agencies offer support to families and students, not just in terms of structured tuition that parallel the syllabus and academic school system, but also in helping them find exam centres where they can sit their exams. What’s more is that homeschooling is a great way to nature and grow, a great way to experience things that you can’t experience in a regimented school environment and a great way to focus on academia, and enjoy the subjects and how they are relevant to everyday life.
The reality is that while the government is doing little to support private candidates that are home schooled, independent businesses are trying to catch up quickly to ensure pupils’ ability to pass a qualification system effectively. Fortunately, we predict that in a few years time there will be plenty more businesses that cotton on to the rise in home schooling. As a result, the market will become more saturated with exam centres that have safeguards for independent candidates in place.
Contact Tutor House for more advice on Homeschooling:
If you’re looking for advice on home schooling, or if you’re thinking of home schooling your child – give us a call on 020 7612 8297 for free advice today.