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Quick Brit-pick question - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Quick Brit-pick question
Okay, I know the OWLs are about equivalent to the GCSEs, and I remember someone mentioning that missing a score on GCSE could really have a big impact on the rest of one's school life. So, my question, fic-wise, would be--if a wizarding student who didn't take his OWLs for whatever reason (home-schooled, as JKR said was possible for those who didn't want to go to Hogwarts, maybe), let alone GCSEs wanted to go to Muggle uni, could he arrange to take the tests at another point in his life? Or is there another test? Or is he more or less screwed if he gets his act together after age 15?
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Comments
tdu000 From: tdu000 Date: January 11th, 2010 06:43 am (UTC) (Link)
This might help give you information about alternative paths.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higher_National_Certificate

I don't know too much about the H.N.D./C. (or even heard of a BTECH). They were courses that non-graduates I worked with had to take in order to get qualifications at work (I worked in hospital pathology labs). I think you get into university by that route but it would be harder. In my day it probably would only get you to a polytechnic (where you could still get a degree) but these are all upgraded to universities nowadays.

GCSEs were preceded by O'Levels (ie Ordinary Levels) which is where the pun came from. As they were what I took, I'm a bit out of date! They were set by the universities rather than by the Dept of Education and it wasn't necessary to go to school to sit them. This may have changed by now. For instance, my O' and A' levels were set by the Joint Matriculation Board which was an amalgamation of the Universities of Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield. Which board's exam you sat depended on your school. Some schools would choose different boards for different subjects. I sat J. M. B. because that covered the area I lived in.

School (or equivalent) is compulsory until the end of the year you take GCSEs, so it seems odd that someone wouldn't have sat them although leaving before A'levels wouldn't be too strange (was very common for my generation).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 11th, 2010 06:55 am (UTC) (Link)
(In this case, it's Alderman, and he wasn't allowed to go to school... but has to get to seminary!)

ETA: Thanks!

I always get a laugh when I look at these and think of the hyperventilating in Massachusetts when they instituted the MCAS to graduate from high school--a do-or-die test... that the kids can take nine times before they even have to worry about being late to graduate, and which isn't even asked about on college apps.

Edited at 2010-01-11 06:56 am (UTC)
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: January 11th, 2010 12:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah. I don't know about Catholic seminaries, but the Anglicans are certainly pretty flexible about entry requirements. They might make you do some sort of alternative certificate in certain subjects, but I know one priest (who had a very spotty education history due to a rebellious adolescence, though he's an extremely bright guy, and left school with crap GCSEs) who got away with a more in depth than usual educational assessment - they made him do IQ tests, and things like that. I'd suspect that the RCs are similarly flexible.
lyras From: lyras Date: January 11th, 2010 06:59 am (UTC) (Link)
It's totally possible to take GCSEs and A-levels after the fact - all you have to do is sign up for the exam (or at least, you did a few years ago when I was doing these things). Sixth form colleges and adult education centres (evening classes) would be the most likely places for a student to go for this.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 11th, 2010 07:02 am (UTC) (Link)
That makes me feel better about the whole thing. :D We'll just have him sit his exams, then.
jesspallas From: jesspallas Date: January 11th, 2010 07:34 am (UTC) (Link)
As an employee of British further education ;p, I can say you can take GCSEs and a variety of other qualifications after the age of fifteen/sixteen. GCSEs can be studied as evening, day or correspondance classes for all ages and there are a variety of courses of a similar ilk that can be taken with very few qualifications at all. Hope that helps!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 11th, 2010 07:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Much, thank you. I thought it seemed a bit inhumane to not be able to. (Though in my story, which I just posted, Alderman is being a bit inhumane to himself!)
sixth_light From: sixth_light Date: January 11th, 2010 08:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't know the details, but I do know my English honours supervisor was expelled from school at fourteen and still managed to get an Oxford doctorate eventually, so getting your act together must be possible!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 11th, 2010 08:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I <3 your icon. So true.
lexaplexa From: lexaplexa Date: January 11th, 2010 11:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Alderman would most likely have gone to a Further Education college where GCSEs or O Levels as they would have been at the time are offered (for a cost usually) to people who haven't got them first time round for whatever reason, they can also do A levels in the same way - or more recently an access course, HND's can be done entirely in an FE college and then "topped up" to a degree with a one year course at a university, hope this helps, tried to give you the basics, feel free to ask if you want to know more - the joys of working in education :p
doriscrockford2 From: doriscrockford2 Date: January 11th, 2010 11:57 am (UTC) (Link)
It's funny you should ask this today: I just received a junk mail brochure from the local college announcing their evening classes for GCSEs for adults.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 11th, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have no idea about Catholic seminaries, but plenty of universities have Access courses for those who have missed out on school exams. There may be an age requirement, however (ie those not classed as 'mature' - 23 and up - when they begin could be required to submit A-level grades.

Also, there's no state requirement to have done a GCSE in a subject to be able to do the A-level. Schools may require it, so they don't have to provide so much preparatory teaching and/or to see there is an aptitude, but if someone could show these to their satisfaction he could go straight to the A-level at a 6th-Form/FE college.
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