Steve McCabe MP, Shadow Minister for Children meets with Education campaigners to discuss improving access to exams for private candidates

Steve McCabe MP met with campaigners in Parliament to discuss improving access to exams for private candidates following concerns raised by a constituent.

Steve was asked by a local constituent to attend the meeting following the difficulties she faced in accessing exams as a private candidate. Steve’s constituent was told that she could not resit a GCSE in Birmingham because she was in adult education but was not enrolled in to a school or college. As a result, the constituent had to travel from Birmingham to Bath to sit her exam and ended up paying for an overnight stay due to the time of the exam. After speaking to the constituent, Steve decided to meet with campaigners at Westminster who raised awareness about the ongoing difficulties faced by private candidates

Campaigners highlighted that anyone who is not attached to a school or college is required to take exams as an external candidate. Although there are external examination centres, they charge a lot of money which means that private candidates end up having to travel further afield to undertake their exams. This applies to home educated children as well as adults who wish to take exams some time after leaving school.  Campaigners are pushing for Local Authorities to provide support for home educated private candidates by facilitating accessible local exam centres and providing a flexible exam system to meet the needs of all students.

Steve McCabe MP said:

“After one of my constituent’s contacted me I was concerned about the difficulty faced by those in home education in gaining access to exams. I went to meet with campaigners who raised valid points about Local Authority support for home educated private candidates. I think that it is important to enable those who aren’t in formal education to complete their qualifications without these barriers and I hope to work with campaigners in the future on this issue.”

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