In just two years, home-schooled Susie has been awarded a grade B in her IGSCE exams in Biology, English Language, Maths and Physics. But that’s just the start for 16-year-old Susie. Now, she’s studying for her IGCSE in English Literature and is on the road to fulfilling her ambition to be a full-time writer.
Except for a year spent in the local secondary academy so she could get used to school again, Susie has been home-schooled since the age of 9, after she left a tough primary school. ‘The decision to take formal qualifications from home was one my mum and dad and me made together,’ explains Susie. ‘As I had already had five years being home-schooled, we knew it worked for me. I could have gone to the local college but it had been put into special measures by Ofsted.’
When it came to choosing GCSE courses, Susie and her parents did their homework carefully. What prompted the choice of NEC? ‘There were four things in particular that impressed us,’ says Susie. ‘We liked the look of the courses – what they included and how they were presented. It was important that they were courses leading to Edexcel qualifications as we wanted to be sure I would end up with recognised qualifications from a respected exam board and which offered a local exam centre where I could sit the papers. The positive comments we read from NEC students helped too.’
Distance learning suits Susie down to the ground and there’s lots she likes about being in charge of her own studies. ‘I can work at my own pace, going as fast or as slow as I want,’ she says. ‘If there’s something I find difficult to understand, I can go over it without feeling I need to be in a rush because of other students. The tutors are really kind and thoughtful and the materials are set out in a way that makes them easy to understand. Last summer, I even studied when we were on holiday in the middle of the North Yorkshire Moors!’
Susie is a keen advocate of distance learning for other people her age who want qualifications: ‘I can’t be alone in wanting more freedom than schools and colleges usually offer. Studying with NEC means I can spend more time writing and painting. I feel I’m preparing myself for my future not only by getting academic qualifications but also by preparing to earn a living.’