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With increasing pressure on secondary schools and colleges, through growing student numbers, shrinking budgets and staff shortages in some subject areas – as well as pressure on the curriculum making non-core subjects difficult to accommodate – many are looking beyond their own boundaries in order to offer additional subjects to their most ambitious and able students.

As well as supporting home educators and adult distance learners since 1963, NEC has been working with secondary schools and colleges for over 20 years. 

Our online distance learning courses at GSCE, AS level and A level enable you to offer a greater subject choice – stretching your most able students to achieve more at Key Stages 4 and 5, and developing independent study skills and habits that will stand them in good stead at university and beyond. 

Offering additional subjects to your students (with no minimum enrolment numbers) enables those with ambitious university application plans to boost their UCAS points. Enrolment and study timetables are entirely flexible, so your students can fit their additional studies around your timetable requirements. 

NEC offers:

All courses are from major UK exam boards and use course materials written by specialists in distance learning and their subject area. (Most of our A level courses can also be followed at AS level.)

  • Flexible enrolment 

You can sign a student up at any time in the school year and there are no minimum enrolment numbers.

  • Personal subject specialist tutors 

All our tutors are DBS checked, hold a teaching qualification and are subject experts, along with experience in distance learning tuition.

Email schools@nec.ac.uk to discuss how NEC can work with your school.

How can NEC help your school?

NEC is a charity with a commitment to widening access to education and, with over 55 years’ experience, our students’ often achieve excellent grades.

Working with NEC enables you to:

  • offer your 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 or college.
  • respond to the needs of your students at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 who are unable or unwilling to come to school – for example those with a long-term illness, who are struggling with mental health issues or who are at risk of exclusion.
  • give your 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 to a classroom setting.
NEC guide for schools and colleges

With over 20 years’ experience of working with schools and colleges to offer their students additional subject options, NEC has a wealth of expertise in supporting you and your students with flexible learning. We’ve put together a free guide to flexible study options at GSCE and A level, to show you how online distance learning can fill gaps in your curriculum to help give your students more subject choices. It also gives you guidance on overcoming timetabling clashes, and supporting students absent from school.

View NEC’s free Guide for Schools and Colleges online

Download NEC's free guide for Schools and Colleges [PDF]

How NEC supports your students learning

All NEC’s courses are designed to be flexible, so the learner can work at their own pace. This means that your students will be able to fit their independent study schedule around your timetable requirements, and any other commitments they may have. All they need to access their course is to be online whether that’s at home or at school. And there are printable materials for any times when they may be offline – during the holidays, or away from home.

Student study skills guides

In partnership with the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS), NEC has produced a series of study skills guides for sixth form and college students to help them make the transition from school to university or college. The guides include practical activities and advice to help students brush up on their skills and develop the habits of effective, independent study.

The guides cover:

  • Understanding and answering exam questions
  • How to present an argument
  • Time management
  • Proofing and editing your work
  • Academic essay writing

You or your students can download the free study skills guides on the UCAS website.

Courses designed for online distance learning

All NEC’s courses are designed specifically for online distance learning – we are leading innovators in the field. Teaching and learning is delivered through a range of media including videos, ebooks and online quizzes, as well as printable materials.

Our courses have been written by experts in the subject area, and each student has a personal tutor assigned to them, who is a qualified teacher as well as a subject expert. The tutor is responsible for marking assignments and preparing the student for exams, and all our students also have access to our dedicated student support team.

More information about NEC’s teaching and learning methods.

Exams and non-exam assessment (NEA)

Generally, the schools and colleges we work with take the responsibility for entering their students for the exams they need to take for the subjects they’re studying with us. But if, for some reason, this isn’t possible, we can offer students a place at one of our partnership exam centres. Please do get in touch with us to discuss by email to exams@nec.ac.uk your needs, if you think this might be helpful for you.

Like many of the subjects your school or college offers, many of NEC’s GSCE and A level courses now include non-exam assessment. For the subjects NEC offers, 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. 

Once your students are enrolled with us, we’ll send you a welcome pack which includes more guidance regarding exams and NEAs, but you can find more information about exams and non exam assessments here.

Affordable independent study with NEC

As an education charity dedicated to helping independent learners to achieve life-changing qualifications, NEC wants to keep fees affordable. To keep our course fees as low as possible and 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 make is reinvested in improving the quality of our courses and developing our student support services.

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

Additional resources and licensing for schools and colleges

NEC is a long-standing online and distance learning resource developer, with a track record of successful partnerships across the FE and skills sector. Licensing NEC materials can enable you to benefit from a proven, activity-based approach to learning, developed over many years.

We can help you to:

  • develop new subjects and add a new dimension to your curriculum
  • meet FELTAG requirements for online delivery
  • provide access for learners as and when required
  • install resources on your virtual learning environment or moodle

A large number of titles are available to you, including Basic Skills and Learning and Study Skills, English Language Skills Builder and Information Communication.

If you’re looking for learning resources which will offer a completely flexible approach to supporting blended and online learning, face-to-face teaching, flipped classrooms and more. You have the option of a single-user or multi-user licence, depending on your needs. Visit our resources web store here.

If you’re looking for A level, GCSE or other titles not found in our web store, get in touch at info@nec.ac.uk