Letter for a Home Schooled Child to Sit Exams at a School
A home educated child is not excluded from taking public exams like GCSEs or A levels - they can be studied in three main ways. These are: through a private tutor, independently, or via a correspondence course. Whichever option is taken, the pupil still has to have an exam centre to sit the exams, as well as a qualified person to assess coursework, and often parents choose to ask a student's former school to help the child's education progress by acting as a an exam-taking centre for their child.
You can find information about which schools in your area (as well as other centres) are registered to act as exam-taking institutions through exam boards. OCR and Edexcel, two of the UK's big exam boards, provide 'guides for private candidates' on their websites and if you phone them up: these list information on exam entry and where your child could sit public exams. It should be made clear that home schooled children cannot sit these exams in their own home, but need to do so in a registered centre which will have approved invigilators to ensure no cheating etc occurs.
Requesting Permission From an Examination Officer
Examination officers are not obliged to accept private, home schooled candidates to sit exams in their centre, so you have to ask in the 'right' way to encourage him or her to accept your application. Ensure you know important dates like the closing dates for entering an exam, so you contact the centre with plenty of time to organise everything.
The letter format laid out below shows a good way to approach a school's exam centre officer to request permission for your child to sit exams in their centre. Note that parents will normally have to pay a fee for this. The below letter can be used as an example of the best tone to write to a school to ensure the best kind of response.
The Examination Officer
The School House
5 January 2008
Dear Examination Officer
I'm not sure whether you'll remember James Conrad, who studied at The School House up until year 9, (he left the school two years ago), but we took him out of school to embark on a home education. He has kept in touch with a couple of teachers and friends at the school.
James is this year sitting his GCSEs. He is sitting five GCSEs, maths, English, French, and double science, using the exam board EdExcel, the same as his friends at school are using. I have all the information about his exam board number, syllabus number and unit code numbers available, and we are about to complete the final steps to register him for his exams. As you obviously will be aware, we need to find an exam centre for James to take the actual exams - and we are writing to ask if it would be possible for him to take these exams at your school exam centre?
I know this will create some extra work, but want to assure you that we are very organised about this and have all the information available, are happy to pay any administration fees that you might have to charge us, and would be very grateful for your help in this matter. The School House is a setting where James will feel more relaxed (compared to other local centres) as he knows the area and many of his fellow examined students, and I think would help him feel less anxious about the upcoming exam period.
We await your comments, and hope to hear from you soon! You can contact me, Mother, on 0131 2343 9049 or 0723422342, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and hopefully we can meet or talk to organise James' exam-taking as well as discuss any costs or information involved.
With thanks for your time and best wishes
Mr and Mrs Conrad, mother and father of James Conrad