Adult Education


You're over 16 and have left full-time, compulsory education (perhaps a while ago)...

You can:

  1. Study Functional Skills in Maths, English or ICT1
  2. Study a vocational course at Level 1 or Level 2 (a GNVQ or NVQ)
  3. Study for a GCSE or A-Level as a private candidate
  4. Take an access course and go on to university

Check out your local Adult Education Service2 where some courses, especially Maths and English at Entry Level, are free and advice is available for getting an Advanced Learner Loan for other courses. Functional Skills in Maths, English and ICT can be pursued up to a Level 2 qualification.

Check out local colleges especially for GCSEs and other Level 1s or Level 2s (vocational courses), A-Levels and Access Courses.

  1. Functional Skills can be studied at Entry Levels 1 to 3, and at Foundation Levels 1 and 2

Foundation Level 2 is not the same as QCF Level 2 which is equivalent to a GCSE. At GCSE only Maths and IT/ICT are considered in detail on this website.

Functional skills in English are not the same as ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System) either of which you may need if you are taking up professional work in the UK or are applying for UK Citizenship.

As an alternative for gaining GCSEs or A-Levels, check out distance learning providers1 who provide course materials, tutor support and often quote course fees on their website. Or engage the service of a local private tutor. Either way, you will be responsible for arranging the venue for taking the exam, although a distance learning provider may provide information about exam centres. Local secondary schools may provide, in any particular year, a place for you to sit an exam and there are besides examination centres that cater for private candidates2. Exam fees are additional to the cost of your course.

Distance learning is cheaper than employing a private tutor - I see advertised £300 per GCSE. Additionally, you will pay in the region of £150 to sit the examination, or considerably less than this if you manage to find a local school that will accommodate you. The exam fee is payable in either case. A GCSE is up to 140 Guided Learning Hours and it's best to take this figure seriously if you want to make a success of your studies. Employing a tutor may reasonably involve 30 hours of one-to-one tuition. Consider too that, if you were in school, you would spend at least four times this number of hours in Maths lessons over 2 years. An A-Level is rated at 360 Guided Learning Hours.

There is no law against just getting a student book (about £25) and working your way through it. You can get GCSE practice papers online to assess for yourself whether you're ready to sit an exam, and then book a place at a local school or examination centre. You could be the proud owner of a GCSE in your chosen subject for under £100.

  1. There are many distance learning providers including UK universities
  2. Distance learning providers - see Other providers - Distance Learning

If your aim is to go to university, by far and away your best way forward is an access course both in terms of your investment of time and in terms of the cost. The alternative would be to gain the 3 A-Levels you would need to begin applying for university entrance. You may already have some qualifications at Level 3 and as a mature student it is worth enquiring with individual universities to find out if you already qualify or nearly qualify.

Perhaps you're not seeking academic progression and instead you want to gain a qualification in support of a job application or career progression.

In all cases, one-to-one tuition offers the most support and is the most flexible and you may, of course, use any of the above pathways and include a number of sessions of one-to-one to smooth your way.

If you want to employ me, you will live within 10 miles of WV8 and be studying one of these:

Please bear in mind that private tuition is by arrangement and you may have to wait for a place.