There are loads of fantastic sites out there, so far from being a definitive lists, this is just a taste of what information is available, both locally and nationally.
For the HE specific sites, some are better for some people than others, so rather than just giving a long list of sites, I have tried to give a tiny review to help differentiate one from another, but if they’re not helpful, just ignore them and they might go away.
If there are any sites that you think would fit well on this page, and be of use to the Cambridgeshire HEing community please do make contact so that they can be added in.
- Local HE Websites
- National HE Websites
- HE and SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) Websites
- National Awards
- National Youth Organisations
- HE, Healthcare and Child Referrals
- HE and Mental Health
Local HE Websites
Cambridge Home Educating Families (CHEF):
Yes, I know it looks like an accountant was let loose on wordpress, but it’s not really a website, more a link to the Google group. CHEF’s focus is on HEors meeting up rather than being an on-line community or hub of information, so what it lacks in internet presents it makes up for in active tea and coffee opportunities. To connect with other HEors click here.
A bit of a favourite with US expats, but increasingly being used by other Christian home educators in the UK too. There are many Classical Conversation communities throughout England, including Cambridge (https://www.classicalconversations.co.uk/community-search/), and they use a very ‘traditional’ curriculum with a strong Christian worldview.
I really like this one. Gives recommendations for school trips and the opportunity to go on some too. Not the easiest to navigate, but worth pursuing. Milton Keynes centred, but nearly all the reviewed trips are do-able from Cambridgeshire, so is fabulous inspiration if you are wanting to organise your own.
Home Education Milton Keynes:
Not quite Cambridgeshire, but near enough. A functional website for a fully functioning community.
West Suffolk Home Education Hub:
Another not-quite Cambridgeshire-but-near-enough website. Some useful links and easy to navigate site.
Cambridgeshire LEA Links
Cambridgeshire LEA Home Education:
Not huge amounts of info, after all, it isn’t trying to advertise HE as the best option ever, but a good enough place to start.
If you like stats and stuff, this is the most interesting LEA HE pages, but not really designed for parents usage.
Cambridgeshire LEA Elective Home Education (EHE) Guidance Policy:
Dull but useful.
National HE Websites
A Home Education:
Content is fantastic, navigation is great, visually, layout is really clear, just a shame about the toothpaste colouring and pictures… But ignoring that, it is almost like an interactive HE magazine. Well worth a squizz.
If you can get past the colours, and that is a big if (not made for dyslexic eyes), it’s got fantastic navigation, really easy to find the information you are looking for and has a well fancy local groups page, but the shop should really be renamed ‘shoplet’.
Has a great local HE groups directory, and if you are a member, you can also get access to third party insurance for local groups, discounts with Tutors & Exams, quarterly newsletter and other benefits. (Please be aware that the HE groups directory is not an exhaustive list – HE is a bit like the Freemasons insofar as many local groups are only open to those who are invited to join, secret handshake and all that. To get invited you need to get on local lists (click here) and start networking — think a middle-aged (sadly, nearly all) women’s equivalent of the old boys system — really easy for some, a nightmare for others, but for our children, we’d do anything, right?… )
Absolutely second to none for the legal stuff and has some really interesting stats etc., but a huge amount of dry content that many may feel they need a law degree to plough through. Also tricky on the dyslexic eye.
HEAS – Home Education Advisory Service:
To get the best out of the site, you probably need to subscribe, but even if you don’t, you can still get access to info on things such as national events, including HEFF (Home ed families festival), HE days full of talks, workshops etc.
Personally, I’m never too keen on things that ‘push’ HE, as I’m very much of the mind that no one type of education is suitable for everyone, and prefer things that just give the information enabling the individual to be informed enough to decide for themselves what is right for them, but as long as you don’t mind the evangelical (not in the religious sense) nature of this site, it has some really good content if you can see past all the flashing adverts.
Home Education in the UK:
Dull, really dull, but there is some quick-to-read useful info in there, and good if you don’t like a cluttered page.
Home Education Northern Ireland:
Despite what the initial picture might lead you to believe (names labelled children in gas masks…? an interesting choice), this is in fact a site for HEed families and their children. It is a really, really, really good HE site for the local area. It isn’t all singing, all dancing, but is all the better for it. So easy to navigate, all the info is there, the News section is fantastic, connecting with local groups is simple… It Is a great model for all other HE sites… And this site is nothing like it… oops.
Home Education Wales:
I like this one. Gives you all you need to know for HEing in Wales.
Fab list of play dough recipes.
The Mulberry Journal:
An online home education magazine. Australian in origin, but pretty much universal in content. It’s actually really good and well flashy for a home ed thing… if anything, possibly a little too polished for the old skool home edder… but great activities and some interesting articles.
School House – Scotland’s National Home Education Support Charity:
It has some really cool flippy link things in the middle of the home page!!! That aside, great navigation, good lay out, decent content, but resources weren’t up to much and News links didn’t work.
The School Run:
Not strictly an HE website, but the free content is good and well researched. Visually a bit cluttered, but gets better as you move down the page. It is a money making website, and I have no idea how good the paid for bits are. It’s biggest flaw is that it is a nightmare to try and re-find stuff, or looking for something HE specific – generally, just because there is SO many articles etc. Much of the site you only find through general Google searches.
To the point. Don’t ask any more of it than that.
HE and SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) Websites
Home Education and Special Needs England:
Linked to Edyourself. It is great on the law, and has some invaluable information.
Home Education in the UK – Special Educational Needs:
Dry layout, and hard to read font (really small), but don’t let that put you off, it is easy to navigate and well worth reading the articles which are written by members of the mailing list and their children.
Kids: Giving Disabled Children a Brighter Future (Not HE specific, but really good for advice, support, help and pointing you in the right direction):
A really friendly website, but not so Cambridgeshire specific. However, it does have a fab list of national organisations (https://www.kids.org.uk/national-organisations) and there is a good SENDIASS section. (Regular news letters are sent out by SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice and Support Services) via the Cambridgeshire LEA which are forwarded out on most of the local internet forums.)
HE Exams Wiki:
Everything you ever need to know about exams as an HEor.
HEQA Q&A webinar, 14th April 2022, Getting Started With Exams for Home Educators:
Run by the Home Educator’s Qualifications Association, answering many of the basics when you don’t have a clue where to start with exams as a home educator. Association.
Local Exam Centres
Hill’s Road Sixth Form College Cambridge:
Expensive. They used to take external candidates for all exams, however this has changed since COVID, where they haven’t been taking candidates for exams that fall during the half-terms, or for subjects they do not teach in the college itself (incase exams were cancelled again and they needed to assess level of work). Hopefully they will accept more subjects and exams boards as we move further from COVID, but worth emailing their exams office before deciding on your subjects/exams if this is the only accessible exam centre for you. The exams office are always very friendly.
Tutors and Exams, St Neots:
This is a private business, not attached to any school, and so is really expensive. However, you can do pretty much any exam there. The online service is not great, with fairly curt replies being the norm, but apparently they are very friendly and have good customer service if you ever need to phone up. All prices are easily accessed online, and they accept students who are needing special access arrangements – although the number they can take in any one exam sitting is limited.
Other exam centres can sometimes be found on exam board websites
Most Commonly Used Exam Boards by HEors
Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) (previously CIE): https://www.cambridgeinternational.org
Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA): https://www.aqa.org.uk
Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations (OCR): https://www.ocr.org.uk
Open University (offers many free courses as well as conventional qualifications): https://www.open.ac.uk
GCSE, IGCSE and A-Level Past Papers
Papa Cambridge: https://papacambridge.com
Past papers.co: https://pastpapers.co/cie/?dir=IGCSE
Revision World: https://revisionworld.com/gcse-revision/gcse-exam-past-papers
Save my Exams (IGCSEs limited subjects): https://www.savemyexams.co.uk/igcse/
Dates of Entry
Bear in mind that the examination centre you wish to choose may have its own, slightly earlier deadlines, so check with them too.
Registering With the Cambridgeshire LEA to Apply for Exam Funding
Cambridgeshire LEA: https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/children-and-families/schools-&-learning/education-your-rights-and-responsibilities/home-education/.
Registration needs to be 2 years before exams are taken by a year 11 teen. If you are coming out in years 10 or 11, talk to the LA first to see if there is anything they can do to help you with the school and if they would be willing to contribute towards the cost of exams.
Can be completed with independent tutors or through the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
CREST Award – science:
D of E – Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme:
Often completed through other groups such as Scouts, Air cadets etc.
NCS – National Citizen Service:
BFI Film Academy:
A number of schemes and programs running all over the UK for young aspiring film makers.
National Youth Organisations
Air Cadets: https://www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets/
Army Cadets: https://armycadets.com
Sea Cadets: https://www.sea-cadets.org
Woodcraft Folk: https://woodcraft.org.uk
Young Farmers: http://www.nfyfc.org.uk
HE, Healthcare and Child Referrals
Can be self, parent or GP referred.
Child Development and Behaviour Information and Advice:
Children and Adolescence Mental Health Services (CAMHS):
(Be warned, the wait for this is huge – a seriously under-funded, over-demanded service, so it might also be worth considering some other child and teen mental health organisations below.)
(School immunisations are given in reception to year 6 for flu (annual), year 8 for HPV, year 9 for loads of things, and year 10 for MMR)
HE and Mental Health
Just because you home educate does not mean that you or your children are super human.
1 in 4 will experience a mental health problem within any given year (stats: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/statistics-and-facts-about-mental-health/how-common-are-mental-health-problems/). It does not reflect badly on you, your parenting, your life style or say anything about you and your family other than you are normal. Of course you might be very weird, but that is by-the-by. Mental health illnesses are completely non-discriminatory and getting help is not a sign of weakness, but immense strength.
Mental health is just as, if not more, important than physical health, and getting help before things get out of hand is crucial.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Keep Your Head – Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Children and Young People’s Mental Health:
Free, safe and anonymous online support for young people.
Mind for children and young people:
Mental health campaign for GCSE students, devised by the BBC with help from psychologists, a mindfulness expert, a GP, a deputy head teacher, YoungMInds, NCS and Childline
Adult Mental Health
Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind:
Keep Your Head – Cambridgeshire and Peterborough:
NHS – mental health and well being:
Rarely talked about in the HE community, but given that we are all sorts of people from all walks of life, it would be unrealistic to think that it did not effect us.
Abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional, can be perpetrated by a man, woman or child and directed at anyone else they have a relationship with, be it a friend, partner, off-spring, sibling or parent.
If you are frightened of seeking help because you are worried it might mean the end of your relationship or family, try Relate (link). It is an organisation that is set up to support and strengthen all relationships, not just marriages.
Cambridge Women’s aid:
Family Lives – teen violence at home:
An American site so links are not all applicable, but good for recognising mental and emotional abuse.
Support for Male Victims of Domestic Abuse
Respect Men’s Advice Line:
Getting Help as a Perpetrator of Domestic Violence