Tutors and Exams

Age Bracket:
12+ Years
depends on course
Web Link:

For home educators in the past, finding a way for children to sit exams has always been a bit of a challenge. It usually involved calling up one school after the other to find out if they would be prepared for your child to take their exam there as a private candidate. Sometimes you would get lucky and find a school that were willing, but more often than not, schools would decline, as it created more administrative work for them, and they didn’t want the bother. Other times, they might initially agree, but you might find out they didn’t offer the exam board you were after, or were unable to assist with assessments, or help with SEN requirements. And there was always the possibility they might cancel your entry, or some other issue would arise, leaving your child high and dry. If you were successful in locating an agreeable exam officer, it was to your benefit to keep the relationship positive to pave the way for future co-operation.

In 2014, however, Tutors and Exams opened their very first private exam centre in Coventry, UK, creating a whole new option for home educated children wanting to access exams. They now have five centres across the UK – Coventry, Bolton, Wimbledon, St Neots, Wimbledon and Doncaster – and are expanding to South Africa at time of writing.

My daughter sat her first exams through Tutors and Exams in 2015, and we have used them for all our exams since then. They have all found the experience to be positive and stress-free. In my opinion, having a centre like this has changed things significantly for home educators in the UK.

POSITIVES: Tutors and Exams are extremely helpful and supportive and aim to make the exam process as comfortable as possible for the candidates. They hold regular open days so that families can ask questions, have a tour, and speak to advisers. They are able to assist with setting up access arrangements if needed, and can also conduct assessment components of exams. They offer Functional Skills, iGCSE, GCSE, A-Level qualifications and A-Level Science Practical Endorsement, Professional qualifications and University distance learning (and many more) exams. They work with almost any examination board there is. Applications can be completed online, after which you are sent the invoice. They also use an online portal for communication, so you can access relevant information (including grades) there. In my experience, they respond to queries quickly, and will also seek to resolve any issues satisfactorily.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, and ensuing issues for private candidates entered for exams, Chris Spraggett of Tutors and Exams worked exhaustively to come up with solutions, even accepting other candidates who had been dropped by their exam centres.

NEGATIVES: Tutors and Exams operates entirely independently of any government funding, and is a private company. Maintaining premises and staff throughout the year is costly, and this is reflected in the exam fees. While the prices are quite steep, it is quite understandable that they have to charge what they do to remain feasible and sustainable. On the plus side, they do offer discounts under certain circumstances, such as booking several exams with them, or booking as a group. I always felt it was worth it, just to have everything well organised and efficiently managed.

In conclusion, I highly recommend Tutors and Exams as a private exam centre, even though you will probably have to pay more than you’d like for the exams. Home educators are able to have a stress-free exam experience, which is managed efficiently and supportively.

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