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Cat distance learning

Who says cats can't do online courses?

Distance Learning Courses and Providers[]


Do I have to use a course or tutor?[]

No, absolutely not. Buying a distance learning course is not necessary in order to study for exams. Lots of home-ed students follow a DIY approach, using the course textbook and supplementing with online material (often free) and past exam papers (free, online) for practice and revision. Many families find this a very successful and satisfying route through exams. For more advice on this approach see the Study Skills page.

However, distance learning courses do work well for some families. They can provide external accountability and take away some of the strain and responsibility from parental shoulders. Note that even if you have a self-motivated and self-directed learner, most courses will require some parental supervision and support. Distance learning courses are not a magic solution to home education; leaving a child to get on with a course on their own, without support, will not necessarily result in success.

What to consider when choosing a course or tutor[]

There are lots of tutor services/advisory consultants in education, but few have relevant elective home-education experience. If you are going to use such services then here are some things to consider:

• Do they come personally recommended to you by other home-educators?(You can ask on the HE exams and alternatives group for recent reviews)

• What experience do they have with home-educated students (not just after-school students)?

• SEN experience, qualifications and any professional bodies they are members of

• Their knowledge of the specific board/specification you need to enter the exam for. Mainstream/after-school tutors sometimes make mistaken assumptions based on their school experience, rather than for private candidates.

• If your chosen specification includes a non-examined assessment (often difficult for private candidates to arrange with an exam centre) do they have a recognised arrangement for this with an exam centre?

• DBS checks (NB. this can be relevant EVEN FOR ONLINE ONLY provision as well as in-person tuition) and insurance (for e.g. professional indemnity insurance);

• Will they offer a (paid) trial session or course sample before both sides commit?

CAUTION[]

There are many new entrants into the online tuition market since the pandemic. Often, these providers are single tutors with little understanding of home education or even the types of exams which home educators tend to be able to sit. They may have no relevant tuition experience or recommendations from home educators. They may, in time, prove to be very good, but do check them out with other home educators, as you may be paying out for something which turns out to be useless.

Types of distance learning courses[]

There are 3 main options for distance learning courses (Some providers offer a range of these options at different price levels.)

  1. Entirely self-led (paper or online). These have no tutor support or marking. They are similar to a completely DIY approach, but provide the material in an orderly, ready-made structure, often with additional material, explanations or questions that might not be found in the textbook. They can be good for students who need a little bit more structure, but who like to do things at their own pace. These courses tend to be the cheapest option and are likely to need to most parental support.
  2. Self-led with tutor support or marking (paper or online). These courses offer a ready-made learning structure with the added bonus of receiving tutor feedback. The amount of tutor feedback will vary depending on the course: some courses will have ongoing interactive/email feedback, whilst others might only provide a set amount of marked assignments. The outside accountability, tutor feedback and (for some courses) regular deadlines can help students who need structure and help with marking. These can be a mid-budget option for parents who don't feel confident marking their child's work or helping their child mark their own work.
  3. Live taught online classes These are usually small group classes held on an online platform. Students log on and join the virtual class with a teacher on a regular (eg weekly) basis. Sometimes lessons are recorded, so that students can access them if they have missed a live session. Some live online class providers also provide additional material or assignments via their own online platform, googledocs, etc. These are generally - but not always - the more expensive course option. They can be useful for outsourcing subjects that parents might struggle with, eg foreign languages or computer science, and are almost always cheaper than paying for a one-to-one or face-to-face tutor. The regular lessons, homework and feedback can be good for students who need externally-imposed structure and deadlines

There is also the option of face-to-face teaching, or individual online tuition. For face-to-face teaching in groups or individual tuition, it's probably best to ask on your local HE groups to find out recommendations for your local area. For online individual tuition, you might find it useful to ask on national or exam group or on the HE Group Learning and Tutor Recommendations facebook group. Below is a list of a few of the course providers which home educators have used. Please note that this website does not endorse any of them.


1. Entirely self-led courses (no tutor support)[]

Conquermaths Age 4 to 16+. Huge discount for Home Educators making it a cost effective yearly subscription for all ages. Very popular with Home Educators who use it year after year. It actually TEACHES not just tests. Each lesson moves on in small increments to aid learning. It is very flexible and easy to move up and down levels by topic, enabling re-caps to previous years where required. Short video lessons that are easy to follow with online questions marked instantly for immediate feedback to help ensure understanding. Students can work through the lessons by themselves. Covers all math's from age 4 through KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, (GCSE/ IGCSE) plus some A Level content. IGCSE content can be found in the year 12/A Level section. Discount ONLY via the AWE Home Education Club www.awediscounts.com/conquermaths/

SchoolOnline English and Maths for KS2 and GCSE/IGCSE. Top quality online exam revision covering the entire curriculum. Discounted subscription for Home Educators from £18 a year! Step by step video lessons made by examiners. Children enjoy the way these lessons are presented. https://www.schoolonline.co.uk/awe-2023/

IGCSE Science Courses Graham Bray provides a series of video tutorials for Biology, Physics and Chemistry for one set fee. He also provides a KS3 science course. There is currently a discounted subscription available to home educators via the PopArt group.

LearnersCloud subscription to educational videos sorted by curriculum. Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and English. Free trial available. Short videos to introduce each topic, so you could watch the video before working through your textbook chapter. Note that some content might be more relevant to GCSE content than IGCSE. £7.99 per month [Feb 2021 prices]

Mr Exham youtube channel (Free video resources, no tutor) Free comprehensive videos for Edexcel IGCSE biology and A level Biology. Additional (paid) resources are available from the Mr Exham website Focus is on Edexcel IGCSE Biology and A level biology.

2. Self-led courses with tutor support[]

Absolute Maths Distance Learning Distance Learning courses for KS3 Maths, IGCSE/GCSE Maths and GCSE Statistics. Recorded courses. There is also the option to purchase the course with live sessions for a larger fee.(See below). Sibling discounts available 1:1 tuition sessions are also an option.

ACED Qualifications Currently offer recognised NCFE Qualifications, such as Level 2 Art and Design and Level 2 Sports.

Allcourses Comparison platform for those looking for online learning courses in Ireland

Arts Award Initiative (Arts Award and Bronze Crest Award). All online. Visit the facebook page (home ed arts award) for info and details

British Computer Society offer Level 1 qualifications to children from age 9, as well as ICDL Level 2 Core & Extra & 3 qualifications (Level 2 Extra may be considered equivalent to a GCSE, Level 3 offers 24 UCAS points)

Catherine Mooney Tutoring English Language and English Literature.

EducationBrothers Free Live Lessons and Free Worksheets, Supports students with live lessons or recorded lessons , from KS2 to IGCSE/GCSE

efrenchtuitiononlineOnline French tuition from ks3 to A level. Live classes or distance learning/self-led courses.

Get Key-Ed Up IGCSE Environmental Management flexible distance learning course - downloadable PowerPoint slides for all units plus marked assignments and optional tutor drop-in sessons.

Home Ed Hub Home Ed Hub is registered with Trinity College London as an Arts Award Centre (centre number 66776) and we currently offer Bronze and Silver level Awards. Arts Award is open to all young people and we can support their learning whether they are home educated, attend school, or are educated by other means.  Students must be aged at least 11 on the date their Bronze portfolio is submitted for moderation, or aged 14+ for Silver. We offer group Arts Award projects delivered over Zoom and a number of self-directed projects that students can start at any time and work through at their own pace. Visit our Arts Award Facebook page for current available projects.

HomeMadeEducation Online 'Live' or 'Flexible/Recorded' small-size classes in GCSE Astronomy, IGCSE Economics, IGCSE Business, IGCSE Travel and Tourism, GCSE Psychology, GCSE Sociology, IGCSE Geography, IGCSE Environmental Management, IGCSE English Language, IGCSE English Literature, IGCSE Chemistry, IGCSE Biology, IGCSE/GCSE History and GCSE Statistics. A levels also available (English Language, English Literature, Business, Psychology, Sociology) (see below)

ICS Learn Offers professional learning qualifications for a range of subjects, from GCSE and A Level to Leadership & Management. Part of a global network of thousands of learners in more than 100 countries.

JQS Learning Online GCSE & A-Level courses for Film Studies. Courses are pre-recorded with downloadable resources, online assessments, and mock exams.

Learntec (computing) Recorded self-paced video courses available for KS2, KS£ and IGCSE Computer Science. Learntec also offer live classes for KS3 and IGCSE. They have a good reputation among home educators. Email tutor support is available for any queries about the course content.

Little ArthurOld-school provider. No online interaction. Ks3 and Ks4. One of the few providers for IGCSE agriculture (will need to attend centre for practical components). Self-led with tutor support, no online setup. Note their courses are usually for Cambridge IGCSE exams, so you will need an exam centre that can facilitate Cambridge exams. Update June 2023: Little Arthur's last exams for IGCSE agriculture are in 2024. They may restart in future.

NEC (National Extension College). Large range of subjects at GCSE-level and A level. Long established not for profit (run by a registered charity) provider. They have online courses for (I)GCSES, A-levels and a number of other qualifications. They have partner exam centres in some cities, and can arrange subjects with NEA (coursework) components through those.

Wolsey Hall Large range of subjects at KS3 and KS4, offered through an online portal with tutor support. Note that most of their courses are for Cambridge syllabuses, so do make sure that you have an exam centre that can facilitate Cambridge exams. A good range of A level courses are also available (do check about any practical or coursework requirements)

NSWLearning (Was Northstar Worldwide) A range of subjects at KS3 and KS4 level (including Religious Studies O level) and 2 A level subjects (maths and Religious Studies). Course is accessed through an online portal. From 2018 IGCSEs are purchases as complete courses and can be begun at almost any time of year. Note that most courses are for Cambridge syllabuses, so do make sure that you have an exam centre that can facilitate Cambridge exams.

Open Study College Distance learning experts, with courses and qualifications suitable for anyone's learning needs.

Oxford Home Schooling KS3, IGCSE and A levels. Sliding scale costs. No connection to the university. Mixed reviews, but some positive reviews for A level courses.

Pembrokeshire College Online Courses in IGCSE and A level maths and sciences, including practical endorsements for A levels. Live classes also available.

Saturday School Ltd is a SQA Approved Centre based in Scotland but offer SQA N5 and Higher qualifications to learners across the UK via online distance learning models. See their qualifications guide.

South West Science School Online self-study courses for full iGCSE course with online videos, online assessments, weekly question sheets and mock exams with Live tutor support.

TeachAllAboutIT Online KS3, iGCSE, & A Level courses for Computer Science, Games Design, & IT. Courses are run by Holly, a Computer Science teacher & home educator, with pre-recorded & downloadable resources, weekly marking of assignments (optional), online tutor support, and mock exams. They are a registered ICDL Test centre and are able to offer remote exams for ICT. See their online learning guide.

Technology Triumphs Online courses from Entry Level to Level 2 towards Ofqual approved NCFE qualifications in Creative Craft (Mixed Media, Textiles, Cookery and Cake Decorating). Content is provided in fillable pdf workbooks with links to pre-filmed tutorials. All work is completed remotely and portfolio assessed.


3. Live taught online classes[]

Absolute Maths Distance Learning Live courses for KS3 Maths, IGCSE/GCSE Maths and GCSE Statistics. There is also the option to purchase a reduced rate course with recorded sessions only (see above). Sibling discounts available. 1 to 1 private tuition also available.

Adventures in Spanish - online and in-person group classes and individual tuition. Message through Facebook group or through this website Recommended by several home educating families.

Auroralanguages Dawn Francis-Pester offers online KS3, IGCSE/GCSE and A Level tailor made tuition in French and Spanish. She is a qualified teacher, speaking examiner and exam assessor. Message through Facebook or website link above.

AWE Home Education Club - Live ONLINE tutor led small group courses. Age 11 to 17. GCSE, IGCSE and KS3 in many subjects. AWE has been running for 20 years and our tutors are highly experienced with Home Ed children and have many years experience. AWE are able to offer some GCSE/IGCSE's with the coursework option so that students sit one less exam. Subjects available: Science, Criminology, Creative writing, Latin, English Language & Literature, Math's, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Film Studies, Citizenship, Psychology, Sociology, History, Geography, revision and exam prep for Math's. https://www.aweclub.co.uk/

Candochem Live, structured, online classes for IGCSE Chemistry, for home ed students.Weekly (self marked homework), Half termly teacher marked tests and a weekly drop-in session included.

Dreaming Spires home learning Ancient History, Modern History (with Yvonne Mason), General Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, French, Spanish, Mathematics, Art History, Geography, and a Creative Writing course Also Dreaming Spires Revision online Cambridge IGCSE English Language crammer. Revision guide based on the course are available on Amazon.

EducationBrothers Offers 3 Free Live lessons each week. Supports students with live lessons or recorded lessons , from KS2 to IGCSE/GCSE In Math,Science,Coding,Psychology,Environmental management, Rockets, Engineering, and many more.

efrenchtuitiononlineOnline French tuition from ks3 to A level. Live classes or distance learning/self-led courses.

Get Key-Ed Up Live online classes for Environmental Management IGCSE, AQA Citizenship GCSE and Global Citizenship IGCSE. Classes start in the Summer term. Twice yearly revision course also available.

HEET - Home Educators Educating Together Offers face-to-face classes in North Hampshire, Mon-Tues, and live online classes for KS1-GCSE, Weds-Fri. Current courses (2022) include French, Travel & Tourism, maths, Spanish, Geography, English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Business Studies, and Statistics.

Home Ed Hub Accounting iGCSE and Business iGCSE following the Edexcel International GCSE (9-1) syllabus. Classes are delivered live over Zoom with the tutor's screen ON.  Students are encouraged to have their cameras on too, to allow for real-time engagement and participation.  Classes are also recorded and posted on a private file-sharing drive. Recordings are not sold separately or offered to any third parties.

HomeMadeEducation Online 'Live' or 'Flexible/Recorded' small-size classes in GCSE Astronomy, IGCSE Economics, IGCSE Business, IGCSE Travel and Tourism, GCSE Psychology, GCSE Sociology, IGCSE Geography, IGCSE Environmental Management, IGCSE English Language, IGCSE English Literature, IGCSE Chemistry, IGCSE Biology, IGCSE/GCSE History and GCSE Statistics. A levels also available (English Language, English Literature, Business, Psychology, Sociology)

Humanatees Range of humanities, science (Including Environmental Management) and history subjects at ks3 and IGCSE via online live classes. Popular with home educators. IGCSE courses tend to be longer than most, starting in summer, rather than September, and with fewer breaks.

JQS Learning Online GCSE & A-Level courses for Film Studies tutored by a professional filmmaker. Pre-recorded lessons, resources and online assessments are also supported.

Kings InterHigh - Online School for ages 7-18. Some home educators find Kings InterHigh to be an good choice if online school is what you are looking for. There have also been a number of poor reviews often mentioning class size. The school uses a lecture style lesson to begin each subject each week and this class is large; further smaller classes develop the week’s work. All lessons are recorded and available to rewatch and students can be library learners if they are not able to attend live. Be aware that their safeguarding policy, when you leave and in other circumstances, requires them to inform the Local Authority.

Learntec home educator-run online Computer Science courses for A level, Cambridge IGCSE and KS3 Computer Science. Live classes with full support. (Individual tuition and coaching and self-led courses are also available). Learntec has had very good reviews on the HE Exam networks.

My Online Schooling similar to Net School in that they provide live, online group classes for various subjects. Covering KS2 through to GCSE/IGCSE and with options to study individual or a combination of subjects. Mixed reviews.

Netschool Study a single subject, or combination of subjects, from primary to A level, taught in small classes. Live lessons, which are also recorded. Offers a limited selection of A level subjects. Netschool generally get good reviews on home ed networks. Courses can book up very early for a September start.

Nexus EducateLive, fully interactive GCSE and IGCSE courses in English Language and Literature, Media Studies and Film Studies (these are coursework components which can be facilitated but please check how this works). Run by an experienced teacher and examiner who is also a home educator.

Online Astronomy Society Academy - distance learning course for GCSE Astronomy, from Alastair Leith.

Online College of Art and Design (Art courses, including some 'BTEC equivalent' courses and an IGCSE course). Run by Cambridge home schooling. Mixed reviews (most complaints are about the admin, rather than the teaching or provision of resources). If you sign up for an art qualification course, do make sure you have an exam centre that can facilitate the exam and will sign off the necessary coursework. Check trial/cancellation small print.

Wendover Online School (rebranded from Oxford Education Online in April 24) An Online "School" offering a variety of subjects and courses from primary to A-Level. Most subjects are offered, including GCSE Art and A-Level Art. Classes of 2-6 and 1-2-1 offered. Very flexible and accommodating, all by qualified, experienced and EDBS checked teachers. Currently awaiting OFSTED.

Oxford Teaching Trust: Online teachers co-operative offering a holistic approach to learning as well as IGCSEs and A Levels. Subjects include: Chemistry, Physics, Biology, History, English Literature, English Language, French, German, Spanish and Maths. Extra curricular lessons include Philosophy, Symposiums, Yoga, Meditation, Creative Writing and History of Art. With live weekly interactive lessons, led by highly qualified and experienced teachers.

Peter McNeely is a Classics teacher with an MA in Latin.  He works for OCR as an examiner, and as a private tutor from home (in Lode, near Cambridge).  'I would be happy to supply tutoring or support for any Classical subject (Latin, Greek, Ancient History, Classical Civilisation) to pupils either individually, or as a small group.  If anyone would be interested, my email address is: mcneely.peter@gmail.com '

Pembrokeshire College Online Courses in IGCSE and A level maths and sciences, including practical endorsements for A levels. Live courses for IGCSE. Self-paced courses also available. Also offers Online Access to Higher Education Diploma courses.

Penny Chivers HE-friendly distance maths tutor. KS3 and online IGCSE classes.

Priority Learning Online KS3 and GCSE courses in Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Astronomy.

Saturday School Ltd is a SQA Approved Centre based in Scotland but offer SQA N5 and Higher qualifications to learners across the UK via online distance learning models. See their qualifications guide.

Spark Creative Education offers online GCSE and KS3 courses in Music, Film, Media, Music Technology and Media. Run by tutor who is also currently home educating parent.

TeachAllAboutIT Online KS3, iGCSE, & A Level courses for Computer Science, Games Design, & IT. Courses are run by Holly, a Computer Science teacher & home educator. Weekly live lessons are supported by online courses with downloadable resources, weekly marking (including coursework/NEA authentication and marking), online tutor support, and mock exams. See their online learning guide.

The Art and Design Room: Offers GCSE Art through Zoom and live sessions.

ThinkersMeetUp offers Socratic-style, small group discussions that go above and beyond the traditional curriculum. Interest-based live, online classes for students covering Classics, Chess, English Language and Literature, Maths, Science, Art, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics for 7 - 18 year olds. Classes run on 6-week sessions.

TutorLedLearning offers live, online English and Science tutorials for KS3 and GCSE level students as well as a range of other topics including Philosophy, Media, Politics and Mental Health. Small-group tutorials focus on promoting interaction and friendship as well as developing knowledge and skills. Take a look at their positive reviews and get in touch with their friendly tutors to request a free trial tutorial or discuss how they can support your home education journey.

UK Virtual School Set up in June 2020. Classes available from Year 1 to GCSE. Offers IGCSE English Language, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and GCSE Maths (Edexcel for all) as 2 & 3 year programmes. Llive interactive small group (also recorded) and webinar (recorded) style classes available. Commitment from as little as a month.

Whole Brain Home Education  IGCSE Maths, English, Biology, Chemistry and GCSE Sociology, Business Studies and Psychology. (Ask about a free trial week). One year courses. Partnered with Tutors and Exams exam centre. Students receive packs with all resources including text books, workbooks, and all materials.

For recommendations from parents, ask on the HE exams and alternatives group.

Reviews and Advice from Home Educators[]

Reviews have been moved to Reviews of distance learning providers. Many are quite old and are in the process of being updated.

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