HEQA Exam Centre Access Survey 2022

This is the first survey, in what aims to be an annual project, designed to track any trends in availability and pricing of exam centres for Electively Home Educated (EHE) and Educated Other Than At School (EOTAS) exam takers.

The complete HEQA report has been authored by Katie Finlayson.


134 responses were given in total, with exam takers ranging in academic years 7 to older than year 13. The vast majority were planning to take at least one exam at GCSE level, with IGCSEs favouring conventional GCSEs roughly 2:1. Just over 60% were using private examination centres, which may well be linked to COVID reducing the number of schools and colleges willing to take external candidates any more – but this cannot be substantiated by this particular survey due to lack of data from previous years.

Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise that finding exam centres is still a major issue all over the UK, and when asked for assistance with regard to this problem, LAs are consistently proving to be little or no help.

This study also revealed that 6% of respondents suspected their exam taker of needing access arrangements, but were sitting the exams without them. The problems ranged from difficulty in getting assessment right through to exam centres not offering access arrangements, but the cost of the whole process consistently emerges as an issue for many.

According to the respondents for this study, covering 330 GCSEs and IGCSEs, the average cost of a single GCSE/IGCSE is around £160 a subject, with a range from below £50 to over £300. Anecdotally, many feel this amount is going up year on year, but this survey is the first attempt to try and monitor the changes over any significant time period.

A big positive that comes through from the study is evidence of how HEors routinely supporter fellow HEors when it comes to navigating the exams system, highlighted with comments such as, “Respondents who were new to booking exams and found the process easy, typically used local recommendations for established centres”, and “You need to have a fairly good knowledge of the system to navigate it. I’m a teacher and we still needed lots of previous home edders to help us find our way through the system.”

This is particularly reassuring as it is clear that although there are still many obstacles in the way of HEors obtaining qualifications, the HE community is working together throughout the UK to support as many EHE and EOTAS exam takers to achieve their individual goals as possible.

Many thanks to Katie Finlayson for authoring this study, and putting together what should prove to be a very interesting collection of data.

For the full report: https://heqa.uk/files/HEQA-exam-centre-access-survey-2022-report.pdf 

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