Guide to GCSE Grades & Options - Homeschooling

    Guide to GCSE Grades & Options

    GCSEs are the final examinations taken by students aged 14-16 at the end of compulsory education. They offer the opportunity for students to begin establishing a specialisation they want to pursue, if they decide to enter further education. With 6 GCSE options and 15 IGCSE courses to choose from at Oxford Home Schooling, you may have questions regarding how GCSEs work and are graded when home schooling. This guide will take you through the key points of studying GCSEs at home and what to consider when helping your child choose the right courses for them. Our full list of GCSE courses can be found here and IGCSE courses can be found here.

    The difference between GCSE and International GCSE

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    GCSE and International GCSE are fundamentally the same, both recognised qualifications by the exam boards. The benefit of IGCSEs for international or home schooling students is they were originally designed for students at home, without the need for continuous controlled assessment.

    End-of-course exams for IGCSEs can be sat at exam centres across the UK. You can learn more about the differences between GCSEs and IGCSEs with our breakdown of both qualifications.

    How many GCSEs can you take?

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    The number of GCSEs you can take should be dependent on what field your child wants to develop into. In Schools, most students study between nine and ten GCSEs, which includes the core subjects (English, Maths & Science).  Home Schooling students tend to take fewer subjects depending on their interests.

    Some further education institutions will also require more GCSEs than others, and with different grades.

    Are any GCSE options compulsory?

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    We advise that students study English, Maths & a Science at GCSE level. These GCSEs are core subjects and needed for many jobs and FE opportunities.  Other subjects can be studied based on what your child would like to pursue in further education.

    How do GCSE grades work?

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    GCSEs and IGCSEs are now graded from 9-1, replacing the old A*-G system.  home schooling students sit the same exams as students studying in main stream education.

    A student is deemed to have passed all of their exams by achieving at least a grade 4 in each subject, although many FE and HE courses will require higher grades.

    How do GCSE/IGCSE final exams work when home schooling?

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    It is the responsibility of the parent to ensure that your child is booked into a final examination; Oxford Home Schooling do not do this automatically. We will send out reminders as the student nears the examination period, with instructions on what they need to do to book their exams. More information can be found here.

    OHS use the same education boards for courses and exams as traditional schools, including AQA and Edexcel.

    Benefits of studying GCSEs at home

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    Studying GCSEs whilst home schooling has numerous benefits, some that can benefit everybody, and others that may suit specific circumstances, including:


    • The freedom to choose your own subjects alongside the core disciplines (English, Maths & Science)
    • All of our course material is designed to match the exam board requirements and is identical to the qualification sat in schools
    • Our tutors and support network are on-hand to support any student at home who may be struggling with their GCSEs, giving each child a source for direct, one-to-one support
    • Students with learning or behavioural difficulties can learn away from the pressures of a school environment, whilst studying the same material.

    There are many elements to home schooling that not everyone may be aware of. It is essential to consider what it entails, particularly if you are a considering home schooling for the first time. Take a look at our guide to see what a typical home schooling day can look like.