During the 2014/15 academic year, Central College Nottingham was recognised by Westminster as the first FE College in the UK to develop and offer a dedicated GCSE programme for pre-16 home educated students. The programme was designed to cater for students who, for various reasons, were not in mainstream school education.
The original target for home educated learners in 2014/15 was ten students, however it soon became apparent that the course was going to be a popular choice for the home educated community. As a result, Central offered extra classes to allow more home educated students to benefit from the College experience and the opportunity to gain further qualifications. At the end of the course, 29 home educated students, from years 9, 10 and 11 and from all different parts of the East Midlands successfully sat their exams. The students were all extremely dedicated to their studies and were often in College outside of class time in self-directed study, undoubtedly helping them to achieve and excel on their programme.
In this year’s exams, 93% of home educated learners passed all their GCSEs with two students achieving ‘A*’ in Maths, three students achieving ‘A’ in Science and one student achieving an ‘A’ in History and one in Science.
Amelia Wyatt, 16, from Burton-on-Trent, left school in Year 8 and had been home-schooled since. She joined the new GCSE programme and travelled in from home to Central’s Beeston Centre to complete GCSEs in Science and Additional Science. She also took Maths as an external candidate at Central, and achieved three A grades. She said:
“It was worth the travel to get to college. I didn’t know what to expect, but everyone had been home educated and the classes were small, so I made a group of friends.
“The teachers on the Pre-16 course genuinely care and they encourage you which is nice. They were brilliant! One tutor in particular, Louise, brought out an interest in Biology in me, and now I’m going on to study it at a higher level.”
Following the last academic year’s success, Central has decided to offer more opportunities to the home educated community with the introduction of a dedicated pre-GCSE programme that helps prepare students for the GCSE programme in the following year. Around 50 students have already signed up this term.
The Head of Choices, Brendan Coulson said:
“It was encouraging to discover that 17 of the last cohort will be returning to Central this month to further their studies in Year 11 and a number will be returning to Central for full-time, post-16 courses. We would like to congratulate all the Home Ed GCSE students, we are very proud of their achievements."