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Do You Have To Do Gcses If Your Homeschooled

Homeschooling is becoming increasingly popular, both around the world and in individual countries. This, in turn, brings up the question of what qualifications and exams homeschooled children can take, especially in comparison to their traditionally-schooled peers.

In this article we will examine whether or not GCSEs are compulsory for a homeschooled educational program.

What Are GCSEs?

GCSE refers to the General Certificate of Secondary Education, and is the qualification taken by students ranging from 11-18, usually in secondary schools and sixth forms in the UK. It is usually the qualification which students take in order for them to go on to tertiary education.

This qualification is made up of a number of examinations, some of which are assessed exams and others which are course work or project-based.

Are GCSEs Compulsory?

For homeschooled students in the UK, GCSEs are not compulsory, however some colleges, universities and employers may require them. The fact of the matter is that, in most cases, homeschooled students have quite a bit of freedom when it comes to the qualifications they take.

A student doesn’t have to take GCSEs to prove their skills, and in many cases, an equivalent qualification may be just as useful. In the UK, the government operates the National Curriculum which sets out the qualifications that all pupils should be working towards. This set of qualifications is followed by traditional school pupils to ensure that they are working to a consistent standard.

This means that, broadly speaking, students who attend traditional school will generally be sitting the same qualifications at the same time. GCSEs are part of this national curriculum, however, for homeschooled students, the national curriculum may have an alternative meaning.

Alternatives to GCSEs

For homeschooled students there are a number of different routes they can take when it comes to qualifications. A student may choose to take a GED, which stands for General Educational Development, the equivalent of a GCSE in the US. A GED can be taken online or by attending classes at a local college or other institution.

Alternatively, students could take the International Baccalaureate or the Cambridge International Exam for the same effect. Apart from the previously mentioned qualifications, there is a range of different qualifications available to homeschooled students.

Many universities are aware of the fact that GCSEs are not the only qualification which can be taken, and some will even consider the results of projects or tests which a homeschooled student produces.

Do You Have to be in Education if You Are Homeschooled?

A common misconception is that homeschooled children are not able to be in any sort of formal education, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Homeschooled children can do a variety of different educational qualifications and can even attend traditional schools part time if they so wish. The way in which homeschooled children are educated can vary widely, ranging from self-education and independent study, to attending courses at a local college or even attending pretty traditional schools part time.

The key point here is that all of these methods of education are still considered “homeschooling” and the student still retains the ability to take further qualifications if they wish.

Do Homeschooled Students Have to Take the Same Qualifications as Regular Students?

As previously mentioned, the National Curriculum in the UK sets out the qualifications that all pupils should be working towards, most of which are the same as traditionally-schooled students. Therefore, if a student is set on taking GCSEs, then they may still be able to do so, but it is not compulsory. In other words, if a student wants to take GCSEs then they can, however, this isn’t the only option available.

For example, a homeschooled student may choose to take the International Baccalaureate, or the Cambridge International Exam, both of which are still widely accepted into universities and employers.

Can Homeschooled Students Take GCSE Exams?

Yes, homeschooled students are allowed to take GCSE exams, although they may have to take a few extra steps in order to do so. In the UK, students looking to take GCSEs will have to register with a test centre, which means finding accredited local test centres who will accept students for taking exams. This means that, although traditional school pupils are all enrolled in a school, the statement is somewhat irrelevant for homeschooled students.

All the student has to do is find a test centre where they can sit their GCSEs, and, depending on their location, there may be no shortage of options.

Are GCSEs Easier for Homeschooled Students?

GCSEs are generally no harder nor easier for homeschooled students, however there are some advantages. One of the advantages of homeschooling is that there are no set days or time periods which have to be spent in learning, giving more room for the student to learn at their own pace. For GCSE exams, this means that the student can study and practice their exams when they are most comfortable.

If a student would rather take their exams on a weekend, then they can, giving more time in the week to attend classes or go on trips.

Are GCSEs Useful in the Long Run?

GCSEs are generally seen as a stepping stone qualification, since they are seen as the qualification which allows people to go on and study at a higher level. This means that in the long run, GCSEs are still usually seen as the bare minimum, Therefore, a student wanting to go on to further education, such as university, would be expected to take GCSEs, or an equivalent. That being said, for students wanting to go into a particular profession, such as hospitality or business, then GCSE results are not always seen as being vital, since a lot of the knowledge is learned on the job.

Therefore, for these professions, a student is not necessarily required to take GCSEs, although in some cases they may be beneficial.


In conclusion, it is important to note that, whilst GCSEs are not compulsory for homeschooled students, they may still be seen as beneficial in the long-run. The key point here is that there are a number of different qualifications which a student can take away from homeschooling, and the majority of these are just as valid as any traditional qualification. Whether or not a student chooses to take GCSEs, or any other qualification, is a personal choice and should be taken in consultation with the relevant educational providers.

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