I deserve a medal. I go to the local school and hand over seven hundred quid.
Sorry. I may be denting a fond idea (I know the family cousin certainly maintains it), that exams are some sort of chivalrous code of hard-working honour, the results of which shine with an inner glow of moral worth. Uh. The edu-business works on money, like every other business.
And yes, the Griblytots are down for exams again this year. The Latin teacher says Level 1 is non-negotiable. We don't mess with Lingua Latina. I say Global Citizenship is non-negotiable because I paid already. After that everyone chooses to do or not to do.
For me, I am not convinced that a string of A* GCSE grades says much. Maybe A*A*A* etc shows a student who knows how to follow exactly what's required of them in the mark scheme. I think of that as an excellence in attentive copying behaviour. Sorry.
But every year, I'm not surprised to read of some high achiever rejected by one of the posh universities, despite the outstanding candidate having 10 A* grades. I can imagine the scene in the Oxbridge interview, having sat in one of them meself. Are the people interviewing the candidate going to be impressed by someone who sits there and has the air of 'You tell me what to say, and I'll say it back to you'? The school led them to it, because that is how schools are measured. God forbid our universities apply the same. I think an independent mind, striking out in their own thought-out direction is probably going to get that place in preference. Sorry about that.
Anyway, the exams as a private home ed candidate. If you are looking for your home ed child, first join the Yahoo exams group. That list is BRILLIANT. Those people are a mine of information about everything exam-related.
Second, know everything about the exam your child wants to sit. If they want to sit English, find a board that suits their interests and your localities. Do your research on the internet looking at the curriculums. Find one that is 100% exam assessed if it is going to be difficult organising any type of continuous assessment (it will be). You may have to email and ring round schools in your area and speak to the exams officer who will tell you whether they accept a private candidate for that board.
Then know the exam codes because there is paperwork to complete. The school may need sight of a passport or other identifying document and ask to clap eyes on the candidate before registering them for the exam. So they can be sure the right candidate turns up for the exam (and not their dad, say, who already has a degree in Eng Lit).
After this, expect the bill. In our case, 700 conkers. The cost not too bad for 9 exams spread between 3 kids. I've heard of worse. And that opens up a whole big can of worms, so I'm stopping right now.