The Student Room Group

16, no GCSES, no other qualifications, is there anything left for me?

As mentioned in the title, I have no GCSES or qualifications at all due to the fact I dropped out of secondary school early year 10 to be home educated for a while due to mental health issues.

I’m currently supposed to be in year 11 and taking GCSES this coming exam season, the issue is I have had to cut down on how much home educating I was getting due to how much the cost was getting so as you can imagine I’ve missed quite a lot of content.

I don’t at all think I will be able to take GCSES as a private candidate because of the cost per GCSE in my area, even doing just the cores would cost a large amount and I’ve already costed my family so much over the past year on tutoring,etc. I thought returning to school fully for the last year might’ve been the answer but I’ve been told even if I did I would have to still pay.

I’ve also heard about taking GCSES along side a college course but haven’t found out much information about that and don’t even know if that would be possible as I thought you could only do resits in college, which of course wouldn’t apply to me as I haven’t done any GCSES at all. I thought you pretty much needed previous secondary qualifications to get into college to begin with anyway. I’m aware my chances of getting a job without qualification’s is very low as well, especially since as I left school early so I didn’t do work experience.

Anyways, sorry for going on but I have no idea on what to do so any advice or guidance on this would be highly appreciated. I am ashamed that I am even in this position and honestly know I’m already such a complete failure, just thinking about the situation i’m in makes me upset. I just guess I want to see if there’s anything there’s left I can do because being real without qualifications I’m pretty much going nowhere in life.

I’m pretty new to using this so apologies if I’m doing anything wrong.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by sprxo1
As mentioned in the title, I have no GCSES or qualifications at all due to the fact I dropped out of secondary school early year 10 to be home educated for a while due to mental health issues.

I’m currently supposed to be in year 11 and taking GCSES this coming exam season, the issue is I have had to cut down on how much home educating I was getting due to how much the cost was getting so as you can imagine I’ve missed quite a lot of content.

I don’t at all think I will be able to take GCSES as a private candidate because of the cost per GCSE in my area, even doing just the cores would cost a large amount and I’ve already costed my family so much over the past year on tutoring, online lessons, etc. I don’t want to cost them anymore. I thought returning to school fully for the last year might’ve been the answer but I’ve been told even if I did I would have to still pay.

I’ve also heard about taking GCSES along side a college course but haven’t found out much information about that and don’t even know if that would be possible as I thought you could only do resists in college, which of course wouldn’t apply to me as I haven’t done any GCSES at all. I thought you pretty much needed previous secondary qualifications to get into college to begin with anyway. I’m aware my chances of getting a job without qualification’s is very low as well, especially since as I left school early so I didn’t do work experience.

Anyways, sorry for going on but I have no idea on what to do so any advice or guidance on this would be highly appreciated. I am ashamed that I am even in this position and honestly know I’m already such a complete failure, just thinking about the situation i’m in makes me upset. I just guess I want to see if there’s anything there’s left I can do because being real without qualifications I’m pretty much going nowhere in life.

I’m pretty new to using this so apologies if I’m doing anything wrong.

Hey sprxo1

Sounds like you've been having a tough time with everything going on, and trying to stay motivated for home study is hard even without mental health struggles.

Have you looked into intermediate apprenticeships? You end up with an NVQ level 2 which is about the same as GCSE level, and if you want to afterwards you can go onto college and do your NVQ3 and go from there. Even university is possible after college if it's something you want to do. I've put a link below with a bit more information, and they mention if you don't have your English/Maths GCSE then they would ask for a literacy and numeracy test and they can include the qualification into the programme.

https://successatschool.org/advicedetails/1011/can-i-do-an-apprenticeship-without-qualifications

Good luck with everything, there's always a way forward even if it might seem slower than your friends in high school, you can get there too :smile:

Best wishes
Essex Student Rep - Hayley
You can start college on a Level 1 course and work your way up through Level 2 and Level 3. You'll be able to take Maths and English GCSEs whilst you're there.

Don't worry, all is not lost.

I'm really confused as to why your parents spent so much money on tutors and online courses for you, only to now not be able to afford the GCSE exams. That seems backwards. Surely it would have made more sense, if money is limited, for you to have self-studied using textbook material which is a far cheaper option, and then they could have afforded to book you into an exam centre to sit your exams.
I suppose you can't change it now, but still... how bizarre.

Edit: also, if you're supposed to have been taking exams this summer, you'd already be booked in by now with the exams already paid for. So I'm a bit confused.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 3
I can see why your confused but when I first started the home educating my parents went straight with this tutoring company which then went on and put us in a longer contract then we asked for. I had missed out on quite a few months of education beforehand so they pretty much wanted to get me back into education as soon as without exactly looking into other options.

Honestly I would’ve preferred to fully self study using textbooks only issue is I have problems staying motivated so I suppose my parents thought it would be better to be getting tutors. I had just started in September to study from textbooks for just maths and eng lit as I’m not being tutored anymore for them which is definitely saving money but as mentioned prior, I struggle with motivation which sometimes results in me sometimes taking breaks.

It’s only the past few months that money has became a issue and as mentioned going back to actual school isn’t an option as apparently I’d have to pay even then to do the GCSES and either way it’s too late to switch now.

Yes, I am in year 11 so ideally I should be taking exams this coming season but as mentioned it’s the cost as a private candidate. My parents have told me they’d pay for if I wanted to but as mentioned, I’ve already costed them over these few years with tutoring lessons and I’ve missed some content as I had a few gaps so I don’t want to make them pay out just to end up failing if you can understand where I’m coming from, even if I felt confident to then it’s too late to book them now. I understand it all sounds pretty odd so apologies.

Also, do you have to pay for college course? Sorry for all the rambling but I hope I’ve explained things much better.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 4
Thank you very much for your reply, I will definitely look into it :smile:
Reply 5
Original post by sprxo1
I can see why your confused but when I first started the home educating my parents went straight with this tutoring company which then went on and put us in a longer contract then we asked for. I had missed out on quite a few months of education beforehand so they pretty much wanted to get me back into education as soon as without exactly looking into other options.

Honestly I would’ve preferred to fully self study using textbooks only issue is I have problems staying motivated so I suppose my parents thought it would be better to be getting tutors. I had just started in September to study from textbooks for just maths and eng lit as I’m not being tutored anymore for them which is definitely saving money but as mentioned prior, I struggle with motivation which sometimes results in me sometimes taking breaks.

It’s only the past few months that money has became a issue and as mentioned going back to actual school isn’t an option as apparently I’d have to pay even then to do the GCSES and either way it’s too late to switch now.

Yes, I am in year 11 so ideally I should be taking exams this coming season but as mentioned it’s the cost as a private candidate. My parents have told me they’d pay for if I wanted to but as mentioned, I’ve already costed them over these few years with tutoring lessons and I’ve missed some content as I had a few gaps so I don’t want to make them pay out just to end up failing if you can understand where I’m coming from, even if I felt confident to then it’s too late to book them now. I understand it all sounds pretty odd so apologies.

Also, do you have to pay for college course? Sorry for all the rambling but I hope I’ve explained things much better.

You could take GCSEs a year later and then keep going forward.
It's not all lost yet.
No you won't have to pay for college.

What sort of career would you be interested in, long term?
Reply 7
Honestly that’s another problem and I don’t exactly know what career would interest me
Original post by sprxo1
Honestly that’s another problem and I don’t exactly know what career would interest me


It's just that it's generally a good idea to work backwards.

If you know what sort of career, or at least what sort of industry you're interested in long term, then you can plan a path on how to get there, via college, apprenticeship, or whatever.

Anything is doable, you just need to plan your route.
Original post by sprxo1
As mentioned in the title, I have no GCSES or qualifications at all due to the fact I dropped out of secondary school early year 10 to be home educated for a while due to mental health issues.

I’m currently supposed to be in year 11 and taking GCSES this coming exam season, the issue is I have had to cut down on how much home educating I was getting due to how much the cost was getting so as you can imagine I’ve missed quite a lot of content.

I don’t at all think I will be able to take GCSES as a private candidate because of the cost per GCSE in my area, even doing just the cores would cost a large amount and I’ve already costed my family so much over the past year on tutoring, online lessons, etc. I don’t want to cost them anymore. I thought returning to school fully for the last year might’ve been the answer but I’ve been told even if I did I would have to still pay.

I’ve also heard about taking GCSES along side a college course but haven’t found out much information about that and don’t even know if that would be possible as I thought you could only do resists in college, which of course wouldn’t apply to me as I haven’t done any GCSES at all. I thought you pretty much needed previous secondary qualifications to get into college to begin with anyway. I’m aware my chances of getting a job without qualification’s is very low as well, especially since as I left school early so I didn’t do work experience.

Anyways, sorry for going on but I have no idea on what to do so any advice or guidance on this would be highly appreciated. I am ashamed that I am even in this position and honestly know I’m already such a complete failure, just thinking about the situation i’m in makes me upset. I just guess I want to see if there’s anything there’s left I can do because being real without qualifications I’m pretty much going nowhere in life.

I’m pretty new to using this so apologies if I’m doing anything wrong.


My close friend wasn't able to take her GCSE's she left and did an apprentice, she explained due to mental health she wasn't able to take the exams that summer, she was in her apprentice by the September and hasn't looked back, she is really happy. Its a mixture of education, and on the job training while getting paid.

Is there anything you enjoy doing? if there is focus on that and see what career paths there are available
Reply 10
Thank you for all your replies I do have a few interests in mind so I’m having a good think about that. I have been looking into college courses and apprenticeships but I’m quite lost as there isn’t an awful lot available in my area and most I’ve found are asking for a fee and qualifications beforehand as expected.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 11
It’s great to hear it worked out for your friend and yes there is a few things I have in mind but can’t exactly decide what it is I want to do long term. Did your friend have to do any qualifications before starting the apprentice in order to have access to it? sorry for the question aha, it’s just i’ve been looking into apprentices but all near me are asking for qualifications in order to apply and asking for ones above GCSE level or at least 5 GCSE, so even if I did pay to take eng and maths i’d have to get 3 others which would cost me over 1k to take as a private candidate in my area so I’m still quite stuck on what to do at this point :frown:
Original post by sprxo1
It’s great to hear it worked out for your friend and yes there is a few things I have in mind but can’t exactly decide what it is I want to do long term. Did your friend have to do any qualifications before starting the apprentice in order to have access to it? sorry for the question aha, it’s just i’ve been looking into apprentices but all near me are asking for qualifications in order to apply and asking for ones above GCSE level or at least 5 GCSE, so even if I did pay to take eng and maths i’d have to get 3 others which would cost me over 1k to take as a private candidate in my area so I’m still quite stuck on what to do at this point :frown:

No she didn’t actually, she did get a reference from the school, the qualification she did via the apprentice was a level 2 at first.
Reply 13
Original post by sprxo1
It’s great to hear it worked out for your friend and yes there is a few things I have in mind but can’t exactly decide what it is I want to do long term. Did your friend have to do any qualifications before starting the apprentice in order to have access to it? sorry for the question aha, it’s just i’ve been looking into apprentices but all near me are asking for qualifications in order to apply and asking for ones above GCSE level or at least 5 GCSE, so even if I did pay to take eng and maths i’d have to get 3 others which would cost me over 1k to take as a private candidate in my area so I’m still quite stuck on what to do at this point :frown:

In that case, bite the bullet and spend the money.

So many jobs need at least 5 GCSEs.

Quick Reply

Latest