Services to schools

School students studying in a library

Working with schools

How distance learning can help your students and your school achieve

NEC has been working with secondary schools across the UK for 15 years, helping them offer greater subject choice for students at A level and GCSE, stretching the most able, and developing the habits of independent study so important for students with the ambition to study at university.

Now, with most schools facing the challenges of increasing student numbers, decreasing budgets and staff shortages in some subjects, there are even more reasons to consider distance learning for students at Key Stage 4 and 5. NEC offers:

  • 24 subjects at A level and GCSE – all from major UK exam boards and with course materials written by specialists in distance learning
  • Flexible enrolment – you can sign a student up at any time in the school year and there are no minimum enrolment numbers
  • One-to-one subject specialist tutors – all DBS checked and with a teaching qualification as well as a degree in the subject they teach and experience in distance learning tuition

“NEC’s approach, with 1:1 tuition for every student provided as part of the course, means we don’t have to give a thought to timetabling, teaching time, marking students’ work or preparing them for exams.”
— Richard Tanner, Director of Studies, Yehudi Menuhin School

What NEC can enable schools to do

NEC is a charity with a commitment to widening access to education. NEC enables schools to:

  • offer students at Key Stage 5 non-mainstream subjects such as philosophy and psychology – particularly valuable for students who want to go on to university to study subjects not often on offer at school
  • respond to the needs of students at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 who are unable or unwilling to come to school – those with a long-term illness, struggling with mental health issues or at risk of exclusion
  • give students the opportunity to develop the habits of independent study in preparation for university – including the most able and those who don’t respond well in a classroom setting

“For students who need a flexible route to those essential GCSE and A level qualifications, the National Extension College is a hidden treasure and a superb option.”
— Mary Curnock Cook, Chief Executive, UCAS, 2010 to 2017

Learning with NEC

NEC courses follow the student so they can carry on learning even when they’re not at school. All NEC GCSE and A level courses are delivered through a range of media including videos, ebooks and online quizzes. Students can access their course wherever they are online - at school or at home - and there are printable materials for when they are offline – staying with friends or relatives, or on holiday. All students have the support of a DBS-checked tutor responsible for marking assignments and preparing them for the exam.

Schools generally take responsibility for entering their students for the exams, but if this is not possible for any reason we can offer students a place at one of our partnership exam centres. Please do get in touch with us if this is the case.

As you will be aware, some A levels and GCSEs now include Non Examination Assessments (NEA). For the subjects NEC offer, this could be a practical endorsement, spoken language endorsement or written coursework. As an approved centre, NEC is able to mark and authenticate coursework for an additional fee. We are also able to offer venues that accommodate the endorsements. Further guidance regarding examinations and assessments will be sent to you with your welcome information after enrolment.

Students who study with NEC consistently achieve results as good as or higher than national averages at both GCSE and A level.

“I found the NEC course easy to follow and could see right away that I didn’t need any prior knowledge of the subject to be able to follow the syllabus. I found plenty of ways not to feel isolated, including chatting with other psychology students on internet forums.”
— Kathryn, sixth form student studying A level Psychology

NEC GCSEs and A levels

You can find information about all our GCSE and A level courses, including a course summary and course fee, on this website. You can also request sample materials for each course.

GCSEs – 17 subjects including English language, English literature and maths

A levels – 21 subjects including modern foreign languages, physical and social sciences and humanities


As an education charity, NEC keeps course fees as low as possible to ensure that they are affordable for individual students, who are often paying their own fees. We set course fees on a cost recovery basis. Any surplus we made goes to improving the quality of our courses and to student support.

In addition to the course fee, we charge an administration fee of £100 per course. The fee covers setting up and managing the account, confirming contact information, sending regular updates on student progress, and providing any other help and advice the school may need, for example on exams and assessment.

Find out more

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