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DfE announces support

Education Otherwise is pleased to share the very welcome news that the DfE has announced financial support for private candidates taking examinations this year.


“A grant will be available to support approved exam centres to meet costs associated with the additional demands of assessment for private candidates this year. This is to avoid those extra costs being passed on to candidates.” Private candidate support grant guidance.


Well done!


For clarity, examples of private candidates include individual:

(a) electively home educated,

(b) alternatively educated,

(c) adult learners,

(d) not affiliated with a school, college, or similar provider,

(e) who enrolled in a school or college (state-funded or otherwise), but is taking an additional subject independent of school or college.



Here is a summary:

(1) The grant is available to any exam centre that meets the eligibility criteria.

(2) The £200 grant is entry for GCSE, AS, A level, VTQs and other general qualifications which are subject to alternative arrangements to exams.

(3) An entry means one private candidate for one qualification in one subject.

(4) Exam centres may claim the grant for existing private candidates that meet the relevant criteria.

(5) GCSE, AS, and A level private candidates will not incur late fees until 26 April.

(6) Centres cannot claim the grant:

(a) For a private candidate resitting a qualification if they are resitting at the centre where they originally took that qualification, or if their resit is already funded by an educational provider.

(b) If exam fees are already included in the fee for tuition or a course of study.

(c) If the private candidate has been required to pay, including exam board entry fee and the centre fee, more than: (i) £350 per A level (ii) £250 per AS level (iii) £200 per GCSE.

(d) If for VTQs and other general qualifications, the cost charged to the candidate is higher than the private candidate would have been charged in the 2018 to 2019 academic year, before the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.


Some may argue that it is too little too late. Education Otherwise however take the view that the DfE, as with all bodies, should be taken to task when they drop the ball, and praised with the same gusto when they deliver. We believe that praise is rightfully due.


17th March 2021