Elective Home School Education

Elective home schooled students can access courses free of charge at East Durham College to enhance their home education.

The College has successfully run this service for several years, and have seen students achieve some amazing GCSE results. Please see below for some fantastic parent and student feedback.

Our Pre-16 Provision team help support families, who have chosen to home school their children, from initial application to enrolment and onto successful completion of their course(s).

To access the home education programme, students must be equivalent in age to pupils in Year 10 and Year 11 (14 to 16 years old). However, our elective home education provision may not always be suitable for students with significant behavioural issues and those who are disengaged from education.

Students who have been permanently excluded from school, or are at risk of exclusion, may be referred to alternative 14-16 provision at the College.

Each application is fully explored to ensure that every student is on a programme which offers them the best and most appropriate educational pathway and support.

Elective Home Education GCSE Programme

This two-year programme is for Year 10-11 students who are ready to undertake a GCSE programme following initial assessment. East Durham College currently offers:

  • GCSE English Language
  • GCSE Mathematics
  • GCSE Combined Science

Students can opt to study one, two or three of these subjects in any combination. This programme is run over one day a week.

The Application Process

  • Students/parents complete an application form.
  • All applicants and parents/carers are invited to attend an informal information session around March/April when they can meet staff, tour the facilities and ask any questions.
  • If applicable, students will have a one-to-one informal interview at the above session.
  • Students who are successful at interview will then be invited in to complete a diagnostic assessment. The results of which will provide the College with baseline information about the student’s current knowledge level, to assist us on deciding if they have met the entry criteria to start the programme.

Contact Us

To discuss elective home education in more detail, please contact Joanne Bryson, Home Education Coordinator, on 0191 518 5514 or email joanne.bryson@eastdurham.ac.uk or contact Student Services.

Parent & Student Feedback

Our home educator provision receives some amazing feedback from parents and students alike. Here's just a very small sample.

Elective Home Education, Former Parent, Sara:

Would you recommend the programme to other parents who home educate their child?

"Absolutely, 100%.  I have recommended it to other home educating families as, not only is it tailored for home educated children, but it does a fantastic job of nurturing them and growing their self-esteem.  No other college in the area offers anything like this.  East Durham College has been great at accepting neurodiversity and does not take a one-size-fits-all approach to educating them. Support for the additional needs of my son and his peers has been outstanding."

What was the best part of the programme?

"I don't think I could pick out one specific part because he enjoyed all of his lessons here. The teachers across all 3 subjects have been amazing; they got to know my son as an individual and could see his potential, even when he couldn't. I loved that he was treated with respect like a young adult and yet never felt abandoned. I could relax knowing he felt totally safe in the college environment. Moreover, my son has made some best friends for life there."

We believe our home school teachers/support staff are very supportive. Is this your experience?

"Yes, super-supportive! Thank you so much to them all; and because of them my son is living his best life right now!"

Former Student, Jorin:

"I'd absolutely 100% recommend it to other home schoolers. I think that the best bit was being around other students whilst learning. The staff and teachers were all fab and really helpful; honestly I loved the course and people on it through and through."

Elective Home Education, Former Parent, Carolyn:

"My main reason for opting to use East Durham College was to allow my son to experience a more formal approach to education in order to prepare him for going on to college, apprenticeships etc. He seemed to love going and I think that was mostly due to the approach of yourself and the other staff. Everyone was friendly and seemed to be quite relaxed about how to approach learning with Home Ed kids who can be, dare I say, more free thinking in their approach to how and when they learn.

"Going to the College took a lot of pressure off myself with regard to teaching. Covering the main subjects of English and Maths was a god send.

"I would certainly recommend East Durham College to other Home Educators. My son is quite an anxious young man but he felt very safe there."

Elective Home Education, Former Parent & Student Juliet & Oscar:

What was the best part of the programme?

"Oscar says that these include the accessibility to quality tutors, who are happy to answer any queries and provide work that stimulates (e.g. tailored to individual’s aptitude - an important aspect of being home educated so the course works well and compliments this).  

"I believe that the course has helped Oscar move from a heavily focused independent learning environment into a group learning environment, helping him acclimatise to future sixth form studies. Having the Home Ed. Coordinator on hand really gave me piece of mind. Oscar has High Functioning Autism and internalises a lot and you were sensitive to his needs.

"Oscar says he would greatly recommend this course to other home educated children as he has managed to get great grades in four GCSEs in less than a year. One day a week at college (with work to complete at home) is a good investment in self and provides a solid foundation to build upon. Oscar’s confidence grew and, although very daunted at first, very quickly got into the swing of college life.

"We would both like to thank the staff at East Durham College for the fantastic support provided."