Still have a question?

If you can’t find the answer to your question below please contact our course advice team on 0800 389 2839 or email

How does an NEC course work?

All NEC courses are online, which means that you can study whenever and wherever suits you, without having to attend a regular class. 

When you enrol we’ll send you an email explaining how to log in to learn@nec, our virtual learning environment and your gateway to the NEC community. 

You’ll get support from a qualified personal tutor and will be able to contact them through learn@nec messaging. Your tutor will be an expert in their subject and will be with you every step of the way, from introductory assignment to revision schedule.

All your course materials have been expertly written and designed to guide you through the subject, and carefully selected resources will be signposted within your course. Our course development team are highly experienced and include learning design experts, examiners, teachers and other industry professionals.

You’ll be able to work through the course at your own pace, completing assignments and uploading them to learn@nec for your tutor to mark. Your tutor will then upload their feedback for you to read. There are no deadlines (other than exams and non-exam assessment, of course), so you can work at a pace you’re comfortable with and that fits in around your other commitments.

Will I be able to meet other students on my course?

Through learn@nec you’ll be able to interact with other students in the course forums. Interacting with your peers is a great way of discussing what you’re learning and helping you to really understand it. In a connected world, there’s no need for an online or distance learning course to leave you feeling isolated. We use technology – like the forums – to enhance your all-round learning experience.

Are there any entry requirements to enrol on a course?

To find out about entry requirements, check the Course information page for your chosen subject, before you enrol.

None of our courses require you to have any previous qualifications, but for some we would strongly recommend that you’ve already studied the subject to some extent. We would strongly recommend that you have a GCSE in maths to study A level maths, for instance, to give yourself the best possible chance of success.

If English isn’t your first language, you should be aware that all of our courses require a good level of English comprehension.

For some courses, the assessment uses real experience in the workplace, so you must be working in a suitable setting when you enrol. This mostly applies to our childcare courses, where it is essential for some that you are assessed in a real work situation. For others you’ll be asked questions that relate to your working day.

As courses are online, you’ll need to use a computer to access your course.

If you’re still unsure about any entry requirements, simply get in touch with our friendly and helpful Course Advice Team who will be happy to talk through your situation and help you decide what to do.

Do I have to be in the UK to study an NEC course?

You can study an NEC course no matter where you are: distance learning is perfectly suited to international study. Some courses, though, do have requirements which you’ll need to check carefully before deciding to study outside the UK.

  • If your course leads to an exam, you should make sure that you’ll be able to sit the exam before you enrol. Check with the awarding body to find out where exams are held.  If you need to travel to the UK to take exams, some of our partnership exam centres are conveniently located near airports with excellent transport links. The British Council also often arranges exams in overseas cities, so it may be worth contacting your nearest office to check with them.
  • AQA does not conduct exams overseas, so if you are studying an AQA course you will need to come to the UK to sit your exams.
  • If you are considering enrolling on a childcare course, it’s possible that there will be an element of workplace assessment; this may be more difficult to organise outside the UK and will involve an additional cost. It’s also important to be sure that any professional qualification you gain will be accepted in the country in which you wish to work.

If you’re thinking about enrolling from overseas, the best thing is to contact us for a chat about your requirements first, so we can help you make sure it will work for you.

Do I have to enrol at a certain time of year?

With NEC you can enrol at any time and begin studying whenever suits you best. But it’s worth bearing in mind that if you’re taking a course that involves an exam, exam dates are on fixed dates. So you’ll need to enrol early enough to be able to complete all your assignments and any non-exam assessment in time. For advice on this just contact our Course Advice Team or look at the course information page for your chosen subject(s).

Do NEC courses lead to a recognised qualification?

Yes, the majority of NEC courses lead to recognised qualifications. Often they’ll prepare you for an exam, which, if passed, will lead to a qualification. This is the case with our general education courses (GCSEs and A levels) which are accredited by major awarding bodies such as AQA, Edexcel, OCR and CIE. You’ll earn exactly the same qualification you would in school or college, it’s just the way of learning that’s different. You can find specification details of each course on the course information page.

Our professional courses also lead to recognised qualifications. Our Childcare and Early Years courses lead to qualifications from CACHE, the leading awarding body in the sector. Other awarding bodies we work with include The Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

Some courses, for example our Creativity and the Arts courses, don’t lead to recognised qualifications but are a great and enjoyable way to learn more about a subject. We’ll always tell you whether the course leads to a recognised qualification or not.

Can I fast track my course and take exams as soon as possible?

Many students opt to study their course within a year – we call this Fast Track. It’s particularly useful when you’re studying with a specific purpose in mind, like applying to university. The flexible nature of distance learning and home study courses means that this is possible, as long as you put the time in. There are many things you should consider before doing this and if we believe that you’ll be unable to complete all of the work you need to in order to be prepared for your intended exam dates, we’ll let you know and advise you to aim for the next exam session instead.

You can read more about this on our Fast Track page.

Is there extra support for young learners who are under 18?

Yes. We have a number of young learners who are under 18. We enrol many students (from age 13) who are home educated or enrolled through their school. If you are home educated we know that your parent or carer will be an important source of support and encouragement for you. Your parent/carer will get their own log in and access to your online course so they can read and explore your course materials. We also have a parent hub with lots of helpful information for home educators including hints and tips from NEC tutors. All this is included with no extra cost as part of NEC’s ongoing commitment to supporting the home education community.

Visit our Home Schooling page for more information. 

How do I enrol and what happens next?

Enrolling with NEC is simple. Simply choose the ‘enrol now’ button on your course description and follow the instructions. If you have questions at any stage, you can contact us for help. For some courses,or if you would like to spread the cost of your course monthly, you will need to telephone us to enrol.

Once you’ve enrolled, we’ll send you a welcome email with your student number and an introduction to your personal tutor, and another with your log-in details. (If you’ve previously enrolled on another course, you can use the same log-in details.)

Your welcome email will also contain instructions for logging in to learn@nec to find your course – it’s simple!

We’ll tell you everything that you need to do first – like working through the Getting Started section, which includes an introduction to your course, and a guide to getting the most from it.

Is there any way I can get funding?

You may be able to obtain financial help to assist you with your studies. There are a number of potential sources for funding. Look at our Fee Information page for further information.

How much support will I get?

When you enrol with NEC you will get support from your tutor and the student support team for the duration of the course. The duration will depend on the course you have chosen, but as an example an A level is for two years. If you feel like you’re not going to be able to finish the course in that time, talk to the student support team. We may be able to help by extending the course.

Any extension is granted entirely at NEC’s discretion.

As a general rule, most students find that a quick message via learn@nec with their tutor prior to submitting an assignment, and then another message afterwards is enough. If you feel like you need more contact with your tutor you should contact the student support team for advice.

Do you provide any additional services to students enrolled on courses, like help with UCAS applications?

Yes. These include past paper marking, UCAS application service, revision tutorials and other optional tutorials, and mid-course reviews. 

For more information, see our Additional Services page.