Dance/drama/music/arts, Beeston, Tuesday afternoons

Date: Tuesday afternoons from September 2017.

Time: 1.30pm to 2.30pm, with possibility of dividing the older ones into a separate group at 2.30pm if/when the group gets big.

Venue: Manor Arts at The Manor House, 2 Middle Street, Beeston, NG9 1FX.

Area: Near the main Beeston tram & bus stop interchange.

Organiser: Catherine Chivers, catherinechivers at gmail dot com.

Age range: 5 to 12 approx (6 to 10 at time of writing) for this group, which is specifically for home edders. Catherine also runs other drama groups for young people, to which a few home ed children aged around 10 to 12 are already going.

Price: £5 per session.

Booking: Pay as you go. Probably best to email first if you’re new, so Catherine knows to expect you.

Manor Arts web page.

Manor Arts Facebook page.

Dance, Drama, Art, Music, Literacy – script writing, performance poetry etc.

The words "Manor Arts" appear over a logo of interocking shields, featuring drama masks and music notes, on a pale green background. In smaller letters it says "Est. 2016" ("est" as in "established").

I am a very experienced Primary teacher with specialist expertise in Dance and Drama. I have worked a lot with children and adults with learning disabilities, ASD and confidence issues. I am very calm and caring teacher and always endeavour to bring out the best in people.

If parents would like this session to run in conjunction with a support group for them I am happy for Manor Arts to provide the venue for this and you would be welcome to make use of tea/coffee making facilities and meet together whilst your children enjoy their time together being creative! I can very easily incorporate Science/History themes into creative sessions too! If there is enough interest I can run a group for older children 2.30-3.30.

I have an enhanced DBS and Public Liability Insurance.

Do get in touch if you would be interested in this exciting new venture.

Access info:

Wheelchair accessible and large toilet. There is gravel on the drive but I have a lot of people with pushchairs using the venue and they are fine. I can arrange parking at Falcon House Nursing Home next door for wheelchair users. Children with autism or learning disabilities most welcome.

Map showing Manor Arts:

Bigger view of map showing Manor Arts

Nearest tram stop: “Beeston centre” tram stop is only about 100-200 yards away round the corner. This is on the Toton branch of the tram line. Tram information.

Nearest bus stop: “Beeston Interchange“, on the 36 route, Orange Line. Trent Barton buses which stop there are the Indigo and 20. Sometimes cheaper, but not valid on most pre-paid bus cards, is the YourBus Y36, usually a dark red colour, which follows the same route as the NCT orange 36.

Parking: Tesco is about 250 yards away and allows 3 hours’ free parking. Off street parking nearby, but not right outside the venue. Contact Catherine if you need somewhere nearer; see access info above, “I can arrange parking at Falcon House Nursing Home next door for wheelchair users.”

“Smile” drama/music show in libraries, Nottingham/Notts, October

“A delightful musical adventure for children aged 3 – 5 and their families”

Date: Various dates from 9 to 20 October 2017.

Day & date in Oct Which library
Monday 9 Beeston (sold out)
Tuesday 10 Nottingham Central
Wednesday 11 Dales, Sneinton
Thursday 12 Bulwell
Friday 13 Worksop
Monday 16 Mansfield Central
Tuesday 17 Hyson Green
Wednesday 18 Wollaton
Thursday 19 Sutton-in-Ashfield
Friday 20 Arnold

Time: 10.30 to approx 11.10 (running time 40 minutes).

Age range: Aimed at ages 3 to 5.

Price: £2 per child; accompanying adults free.

Bookings: List of dates, libraries and how to book for each one.

Details: Not specifically a home ed thing – open to anyone.

“Augustus the tiger was sad. He had lost his smile.”

Based on the book Augustus and His Smile written and illustrated by Catherine Rayner and published by Little Tiger Press, www.littletiger.co.uk

Find the book in the library system

Access, parking, maps etc: Most library listing pages have some access & travel info. List of Nottingham City libraries, inc Central, Bulwell, Dales (Sneinton), Hyson Green & Wollaton. List of Nottingham County libraries, inc Arnold, Beeston, Mansfield, Worksop and Sutton-in-Ashfield.

Show poster, with a painting of a sad-looking tiger. Main text is: "SMILE. Augustus the tiger was sad. He had lost his smile. A delightful musical advenure for children aged 3 - 5 and their families."

Forest School, Tuesday & Thursday afternoons, Sneinton

Date: Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, from September 2017.

Start dates for autumn 2017: Tuesday 12 & Thursday 14 September. (Lauren will also be running a similar session on Mondays in Heanor, Derbyshire – out of area for this blog, but do contact her if you’re interested.)

Booking deadline for those sessions: Friday 1 September.

Time: 3.30pm to 5.15pm.

Venue: On land behind the Iona school. 310 Sneinton Dale, Nottingham, NG3 7DN.

Area: Sneinton, on the 43 (red) bus route, not far from Colwick Woods.

Age range: 4 to 12, divided into 2 groups by age.

Day Age
Tuesdays 4 to 7*
Thursdays 8 to 12*

* These are guideline ages; there’s potentially some flexibility. An example might be if siblings of 7 and 8 wanted to be in the same group. Have a chat.

Price: £10 per session, booked in blocks, typically 5 sessions to a block. Sibling discount of 25%. “Provided we are not fully booked, we are happy for your child to attend the first session as a trial before committing.” If the groups are full, you can go on a waiting list.

Booking: To book, contact Lauren who runs it. Email lauren at intothewildwood dot co dot uk, or use the contact form at Into the Wild Wood.

This isn’t a home-ed-only group, but home edders are welcome.

Into the Wild Wood

Drawing of woodland. Mostly green, with dark green leaves in the foreground, and a bird flying away up ahead.

Sessions led by Lauren Kinnersley, a Steiner Waldorf trained practitioner who is Level 3 Forest School trained, supported by staff from the school. Sessions include storytelling, tool use, games and nature crafts. Maximum group size is 10.

Bigger map showing the Iona School.

Access info:

At Iona there is a compost toilet and the site is accessible with paved paths. We have a maximum group size of 10 with two adults supporting. Parents do not normally stay at the sessions, but if your child has a particular support need, parents are invited to stay and support their child to enable them to participate.

Nearest bus stop: “Skipton Circus”, on the 43 route, Red Line.

Parking: There is parking at the school.

Dance/drama/music/arts, Beeston, Tuesday afternoons

Date: Tuesday afternoons, beginning 6 June 2017.

Time: 1.30pm to 2.30pm.

Venue: Manor Arts at The Manor House, 2 Middle Street, Beeston, NG9 1FX.

Area: Near the main Beeston tram & bus stop interchange.

Age range: “Primary age (or Primary ability level if SEN)”.

Price: £5 per session.

Booking: Pay as you go, initially; “ideally a regular commitment so projects can develop week by week”.

Organiser: Catherine Chivers, catherinechivers at gmail dot com.

Manor Arts web page.

Manor Arts Facebook page.

Daytime Creative Arts Group- new class specifically for home schoolers involving dance, drama, music, games, choreography, creating sketches and plays, films around topics to start on Tuesday 6th June. To develop confidence, social skills and friendships.

The words "Manor Arts" appear over a logo of interocking shields, featuring drama masks and music notes, on a pale green background. In smaller letters it says "Est. 2016" ("est" as in "established").

Catherine explains:

I am a very experienced Primary teacher and dance/drama specialist. I have set up and run Manor Arts for a year now. I have a beautiful purpose built dance studio and games room in the grounds of The Manor House in Beeston. I run pre-school and after school dance and drama sessions (no exams – it’s all about nurturing creativity and developing confidence.) I also teach adults Fitsteps (Latin and Ballroom based dance fitness class) and run a Mums and Kids version on Friday evenings plus adults Tap. I have a lot of SEN experience and interest and also teach an adults with learning disabilities class. I am hoping there will be enough interest in my setting up a Creative Arts Daytime Group for home schoolers after half term. If parents wish they would be most welcome to use the venue as a support group with other like minded people whilst the children get creative!

Access info:

Wheelchair accessible and large toilet. There is gravel on the drive but I have a lot of people with pushchairs using the venue and they are fine. I can arrange parking at Falcon House Nursing Home next door for wheelchair users. Children with autism or learning disabilities most welcome.

Map showing Manor Arts:

Bigger view of map showing Manor Arts

Nearest tram stop: “Beeston centre” tram stop is only about 100-200 yards away round the corner. This is on the Toton branch of the tram line. Tram information.

Nearest bus stop: “Beeston Interchange“, on the 36 route, Orange Line. Trent Barton buses which stop there are the Indigo and 20. Sometimes cheaper, but not valid on most pre-paid bus cards, is the YourBus Y36, usually a dark red colour, which follows the same route as the NCT orange 36.

Parking: Tesco is about 250 yards away and allows 3 hours’ free parking. Off street parking nearby, but not right outside the venue. Contact Catherine if you need somewhere nearer; see access info above, “I can arrange parking at Falcon House Nursing Home next door for wheelchair users.”

Art: Nottingham city centre on Tuesdays, Bingham on Wednesdays

These groups are run by Sam of Altered Art, for home edders 8+. Optionally, this can be part of working towards Arts Award qualifications (in which case you’d also do other things, e.g. going to some kind of arts event and reflecting on it). Or you can just explore creativity in different ways.


Bingham on Wednesdays

Date: Wednesday afternoons, potentially all year round.

Time: Two groups, each one hour. 2pm to 3pm, and 4pm to 5pm.

Venue: Folks and Fables café, 37 Long Acre, Bingham, Nottinghamshire, NG13 8AF.

Area: Bingham is about 9 miles east of Nottingham, via the A52, or 15 mins by train.

Price: £5 per young person per week, payable in 5 week blocks after an initial trial session, if required.

Physical access: The room where the art happens is up a flight of stairs. The main café area is downstairs, and parents are welcome to stay there.


Nottingham on Tuesdays

New group, starting soon. (The Bingham groups have been running a while.)

Date: Tuesdays, middle of the day, potentially all year round.

Time: 11am to 1pm.

Venue: The Dice Cup Café, 68-70 Mansfield Rd, Nottingham, NG1 3GY.

Area: North side of Nottingham city centre, next to Victoria Bus Station and just slightly north of the Victoria shopping centre.

Price: £8 per young person per week (2 hours), payable in 5 week blocks after an initial trial session, if required.

Physical access: The Dice Cup has flat access. There is a toilet with flat access and a wide door, but without extra bars to help with transfer from a wheelchair.


Information which applies to both venues

Booking or enquiries: contact samalteredart at gmail dot com. Not everyone has to start their five-week block on the same week, so you can potentially start any time if there’s space.

Age range: 8+

For Bronze Arts Award it’s ideally 10 years plus but in my current group in Bingham I’m currently teaching 8 – 14 year olds. I’m happy to discuss with parents their young person’s individual needs. I am qualified to teach from 4-25 years old under the Arts Award scheme and have taught Primary age within schools and adults in the community.

More about the activities:

I teach creative arts. Not drawing and painting as such but experimenting with different mediums and using different techniques. I vary my classes depending on where the young people’s interest lies. I use a lot of recycling and eco friendly products. My group in Bingham have created handmade books using a variety of techniques, some scrap doll/creature/monster/robots and we are now working on a set of Artist Trading Cards to swap with each other! I provide lots of exciting and stimulating materials. I show the young people the techniques needed to complete a project but I encourage a lot of exploration and personal development. There is no “getting it wrong” with my classes and I aim to boost self esteem and self-directed creativity.

I enjoy teaching art to home schooled young people for a number of reasons, including smaller group sizes allow my attention to be more concentrated on each young person, there’s no need for a fixed “learning outcome” and the development of the art projects flow more organically to where a young person’s interest lies rather than, in my experience, where a school wants them to be taught. There are more details about my education background and arts experience on my WordPress site.

Access:

I am happy to accommodate any young person or parent with autism or any learning disability, the location is quite calming and I have a lot of experience with young people who are on the autistic spectrum.

Altered Art website

Altered Art on Facebook

A collage of several photos. The one in the middle has a flower made of fabric. On the left, a young child is making a collage of an owl. Only a glimpse of their face can be seen. Their hands are holding a small piece of something. On the right, an older child with long hair is smiling to the left, as if interrupted in the middle of doing something with a small tin and some kind of pink craft. Across all the photos are the words "Altered Art by S size-mediumam",.


Travel info for Bingham

Map showing Folks and Fables:

Larger version of map showing Folks and Fables

Train: Bingham railway station is about 470 yards’ walk.

Bus:

The bus from Nottingham to Bingham is the Rushcliffe Mainline, run by Trent Barton buses, available to pick up on Friar Lane or Broadmarsh bus station.

Rushcliffe Mainline timetable at Trent Barton

Parking:

There is a free car park 5 minutes walk away and often some onstreet parking in front of the café.

Travel info for Nottingham

Map showing the Dice Cup:

Bigger version of map showing the Dice Cup

Nearest tram stop: “Nottingham Trent University”, about 800 yards’ walk. All trams through the city centre stop here. Tram information.

Nearest bus stops: “Victoria Bus Station” (where many of the Trent Barton buses terminate), “York House” and “Victoria Centre”. Many of the Nottingham City Transport buses come to one or other of these stops; the ones which don’t, mostly have stops on or near the Old Market Square, about 700 yards away.

Nottingham railway station and Broadmarsh bus station are less than a mile away.

Parking: at the Victoria Centre car park (click link for prices).

Fun Club, Stapleford, first Tuesday in the month

Fun Club is the main regular meet up of East Midlands Christian Home Educators Group. “Membership is open to all who are willing to respect the aims of the group and its Christian ethos.”

Date: First Tuesday in the month. No formal meeting in August, although a “park meet” is usually planned.

Time: 10am to 2pm, inc lunch break.

Area: Stapleford, west of Nottingham, close to the A52. (Exact venue intentionally not listed here.)

Age range: “An all age family event, with an upper age range of about 13 years in terms of activities planned but all are welcome. (Young people must be accompanied by an adult who remains responsible for them.)”

Price: First visit free, then membership subscription if you decide you want to join. Annual subscription is currently £40 per year per family, paid as two instalments of £20 – or check the membership details page for any updates.

Booking: Send email to express an interest. There may be a waiting list. When there’s space, you’ll be invited to visit.

Email: tuesdayfunclub at gmail dot com.

Web site: East Midlands Christian Home Educators main web site.

A group of about 20 children aged perhaps 3 to 13 stand in a circle in a large, bright room, holding the edges of a huge piece of fabric which fills the middle of the circle (possibly a parachute).  The fabric is slightly off the ground and is light coloured.  The children on the far side of the circle are facing the camera;  those nearer to the camera are facing away from it.  From the way the children are looking across at each other, it seems like something's about to happen - perhaps they're about to whoosh the fabric up into the air and some of them will run underneath.  On the left, also with their backs to the camera, an adult with long hair carries a small child and both are watching what's happening.

A monthly “hall meet” with a variety of activities planned by members through the year to meet the needs of the age range. Sometimes a “main” activity altogether, maybe with an outside provider (eg: mobile planetarium). Other times a variety of different activities, perhaps around a theme, run by members of the group. Usually start with a games session (2 age groups). Bring a picnic for lunch which we eat together. Afternoon tends to be more of a free play/self directed activities time – and a chat/cup of tea time for parents/carers! Christmas and Easter are celebrated. In summer we have a Sports Day at a local park.

More info here about a typical Tuesday meetup.

Travel info:

Easy access from A52 and M1.

On the i4 bus route from Nottingham and Derby.
On My15 bus route from Long Eaton/Ilkeston.

1/2 hour walk from the Toton Lane Tram Stop/park and ride.

Parking is unfortunately tricky: Best to examine google maps and look for possible “on-street” parking in the vicinity. A small amount of long stay parking in the council car parks – pay and display.

Access info:

The building is accessible on the ground floor where most activities take place. There is no lift to the upstairs rooms. The toilet for those with extra needs is a little small.

When everyone attends the group it is very “busy” and can be quite noisy: walking straight in could be quite daunting.

However we are very flexible and have ways of providing quiet spaces and alternative activities for children who need them.

New home ed sessions at Nottingham City Gymnastics Club – now 4 days a week.

The sessions at NCGC are proving so popular, they’ve now added extra ones on Monday and Wednesday mornings. And the times for Tuesday and Thursday afternoons have changed slightly.

The times of home-ed-specific sessions are now as follows:

Monday 10am-11am “Structured” session
Monday 11am-12 noon “Unstructured” session
Tuesday 12.45-1.45pm “Structured” session
Tuesday 1.45-2.45pm “Unstructured” session
Wednesday 10am-11am “Structured” session
Wednesday 11am-12 noon “Unstructured” session
Thursday 12.45-1.45pm “Structured” session
Thursday 1.45-2.45pm “Unstructured” session

Other info about the club and sessions remains the same, so please see previous writeup. Or if you’re ready to sign up, just click through to the club’s booking page.

Nottingham City Gymnastics Club logo

GCSE & other courses for non-school teens at Central College, Nottingham

Update late 2017: please note that this writeup is about the 2016-2017 academic year, so OUTDATED by now – not least because Central College has since merged with New College Nottingham to form Nottingham College, and the GCSE courses are now at Stoney Street in the city centre, not in Beeston. However, the overall structure is likely to be similar, so if you’re looking into exams & courses for non-school teens, it might still be useful in helping you get your bearings.


This write-up is about free (government-funded) courses available to “electively home educated” teens at Central College, Nottingham. It’s based on an info event which was held at the college on Thursday 5 May 2016, plus some follow-up conversations.

Thanks to Jo Edgerton, Choices Team Leader at Central College, who was immensely helpful in explaining the practicalities of all this and decoding the jargon!

Overview by school “Year”

Central welcomes home ed teens from Year 9: that is, age 13+.

This translates as: To start in autumn 2016, you’d have to have been born before 1 September 2003.

And if you want to start one of the GCSE courses in autumn 2016, you’d normally1 have to have been born before 1 September 2002.

(Likewise, the people starting in autumn 2017 would’ve been born before 1 September 2004, or 2003 for the GCSEs.)

Here’s a summary of what’s available for 2016-2017:

Age group Age at start Age at end Current options at Central For autumn 2016 start, birth date before
Year 9 13 14 Pre-GCSE Programme

In exceptional cases, GCSEs1

1 Sept 2003
Year 10 14 15
  • Pre-GCSE

  • GCSEs

  • Art & Design

  • Possibly an ICT course, only if enough people interested

  • For those with learning difficulties/ disabilities, “Horizons”.

1 Sept 2002
Year 11 15 16
  • Everything that the Year 10s can do.

  • Various other vocational courses, along with non-home-ed students from older years. These are known as “infill placements”.

1 Sept 2001

Each of these courses is one year long – or, really, about 9 months, from September to June. How many days a week varies depending on the course(s).

Once you reach “Year 12“, there’s a huge amount available, and nothing to stop you continuing on at the college then, or indeed at another college! But this explanation will focus on ages 13 to 16, as that’s when these options will be especially useful to home ed families.

Geography & travel

Central College has multiple sites across Nottingham.

View college sites on OpenStreetMap. (If you’re on a computer with a mouse and can do “hovering”, hovering over each pin shows which subjects take place there. Or see static screenshot version further down this page.)

The home ed GCSE and pre-GCSE courses are all at the Beeston centre, which has a tram stop and orange/Indigo bus stop outside its front door. (Shown slightly brighter pink on OpenStreetMap page.)

Vocational courses may be at Clifton, Highfields, Beeston, or in the city centre, depending on the subject – list of subjects and locations are summarised below.

Central’s page with info on public transport to each of the sites.

Where we fit in to the college

Most of the college’s 4,500 students are between 16 and 19. A small proportion, only about 230 students in total, is younger than 16. Older adults are also welcome.

Within the college, the “Choices” team runs both the home ed courses and some other ones. (A school might pay for a young person to come to the college instead of to school.)

As the college overall is “a post-16 environment”, the Choices team people have thought a lot about what adjustments to make for supporting and including under-16s. For example, if a young person doesn’t arrive at their class, the parent gets a phone call. There’s a pre-course questionnaire to help identify special educational needs and any particular social needs.

There’s a large team of pastoral support people (for all students, not only the younger ones). A key person for this side of things is Vicki Stockdale, Behaviour and Safeguarding Manager.

The home ed courses are now going into their third year. In the academic year that’s recently completed, 50-odd home ed children age 13 to 16 were studying there.

Home ed teens can take part either in the courses specifically set up for them, or, for Year 11, in selected other courses around the college.

In principle, you can mix and match the different bits available to your age group, although not every combination will work. The timetables are organised centrally by the college, not by the “Choices” team.

You can take part in any of these courses and still retain your status as electively home educated – as you’re not registered with a school.

Levels

You’ll hear talk of “Levels”, so here’s a handy guide.

Level Roughly equivalent to…
Level 3 ‘A’ level, though more practical, not as academic.
Level 2 A* to C old-style GCSEs, 9 to 5-or-4 (approx) new-style GCSEs.*
Level 1 D to G old-style GCSEs, 3-or-4 to 1 new-style GCSEs.
Entry Level 3  
Entry Level 2  
Entry Level 1  

* Apparently the “old” GCSE ratings are being abolished soon, and there’s going to be a new scale of 1 to 9, where 9 is best. There are more divisions in grades in the new system, and new-style 9 is intended to be even better than old A star.

To start a course at Central, except for the Horizons ones, you’d need to be at least at Entry Level 3 or above, in both Maths and English, as shown by the initial assessment. Or more, depending on which course you wanted to do.

Year 9s who aren’t yet at that level would be advised to come back a year later.

Year 10s or Year 11s who aren’t yet at that level could access the Horizons “LLDD provision”, where LLDD stands for “Learners with Learning Difficulties & Disabilities”.

Assessments, discussions, decisions

When you start, the decision of which course(s) to start on would be made by the young person, the parents/carers and the college, together.

The process goes like this:

  1. You put in an application form.

    Choices programme page, inc link to application form.

  2. The Admissions team put your details into their system and send you a letter. This letter is an invitation something like “Come and do your assessment at this time and date and place”.

  3. Everyone does two online assessments at a computer at the college, one for English and one for Maths.

    There’s no time limit; you work at your own pace. You can choose whether to do English or Maths first. Most people complete both within one to two hours.

    The type of assessment is referred to as “Functional Skills”. The questions are meant to be similar to something you might encounter in real life: for example, how much it would cost to buy your tickets for a day out, or whether a sentence makes sense. Usually it’s easy questions to start with, then getting harder as you go through it.

    For the maths, you might use the calculator that’s on the computer. You don’t need to bring anything.

    (College policy is that everyone takes the English and Maths assessments when starting a new course, whether or not they’ve got existing qualifications – even if they’ve already been at the college a previous year.)

    You get your results on the day, and a chance to discuss your next steps with a member of staff from the Choices team.

  4. Within a couple of weeks, you get another letter. In most cases, this will be to invite you for an interview.

    (For Year 9s who aren’t yet at Entry Level 3, it would only be to say “Please come back next year”.)

  5. At the interview, the young person, the parent(s) and the college staff discuss which course(s) will suit them best, taking into account…

    • Level of your English and Maths skills.

    • Age, because of age limits for some of the courses.

    • Social maturity – if a course would involve being put in a group with people older than you.

    • General readiness for the new learning environment, e.g. study skills / habits / experience.

      For example, some people could jump straight into GCSEs in terms of their age and academic level, but prefer to spend a year doing pre-GCSE to get settled into the college routine.

    • Where you’d like to be headed in future. For example, if you want to continue to ‘A’ levels in future, you’re likely to need five GCSEs at grade C or above, including your future-‘A’-level subjects.

    • Funding rules from the Government.

      A key factor is that the Government’s very keen for everyone to get English and Maths qualifications. The funding rule in that area is: If you do more than 150 hours at the college over the year, your programme of study at the college has to include English and Maths, unless you already have the GCSE certificate at C or above.

      In practice, that means you can do one GCSE at a time without going over the 150 hours. Two GCSEs, or one and something else, and the rule kicks in.

    • Timetabling – as some combinations could clash.

    • Available places. At Central, English and Maths GCSE have a maximum class size of 20. For the other GCSEs, and the pre-GCSE course, it’s 15.

  6. If you’re doing one of the vocational courses, you might also have another meeting, this time with someone leading that particular area, to decide which level class you’d start in.

  7. [I’m not sure where the “pre course questionnaire” comes in this process – to be confirmed!]

As some options will be irrelevant to some people purely because of age, let’s take it year by year…

Year 9 options

If you’re Year 9 age, you have one main option: the Pre-GCSE Programme, described in the next section. This takes three days a week.

In exceptional cases, it might be possible for a Year 9 student to instead start GCSEs alongside the older ones. The Choices team would only consider this if (a) the young person were already at Level 2 in both Maths and English Functional Skills, and (b) they were socially ready to join the older classes.

Pre-GCSE Programme

From the leaflet (PDF):

This one year programme is for students in Year 9‑11 and will provide students with the skills that they need to progress on to a GCSE or vocational full time programme.

  • Level 1 & 2 Functional Skills in English and maths

  • BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Applied Science

  • Tutorial Programme that includes: Personal and Social Development and Employability and Progression skills

For this one, you can’t pick and choose among the different bits. It’s either do the whole lot, all three days a week, or don’t do it.

For example, in the 2016 to 2017 year, the draft timetable said Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, starting at 9am and finishing at 2.30pm, or 3.30pm on Thursdays.

Although everyone’s in the same class, they’re not necessarily doing exactly the same activities. A typical pathway would be to do Level 1 Functional Skills over the first half of the year, then Level 2 over the second half. But if, say, it took you all year to do Level 1, or if you were better at maths than English or vice-versa, that’s fine too.

Year 10 options

In Year 10, you can choose from:

  • The Pre-GCSE Programme described above.

  • GCSE courses.

  • BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Art and Design.

  • Possibly an ICT qualification, if there’s enough take-up.

  • In future years, possibly an “Automotive” programme. The web page for this is still up at the time of writing, but apparently there hasn’t been enough interest to run it in 2016-2017.

GCSEs

The current GCSE options are:

  • GCSE English

  • GCSE Double Science

  • GCSE Maths

  • GCSE Psychology

  • GCSE History

Over the year, each GCSE equates to approximately three hours a week in college. Double science is six hours and gives you two GCSEs at the end.

Typically, each subject would be scheduled as a three-hour chunk with a break in the middle, one morning or one afternoon a week. (There are pros and cons to this scheduling: they’re aware that students aren’t always keen on the long session, but the up side is it’s then easier to schedule the rest of the typical non-schooler’s busy week.)

GCSE exams for “external candidates”

At the moment, the five subjects listed above are the only GCSEs on offer. The main limitation to offering more different ones would be having staff to deliver the courses, as most of Central’s provision isn’t GCSEs. It’s not very likely to expand in the near future.

However, the college does also offer a paid service for “external candidates”, i.e. people who’ve done the learning elsewhere and want somewhere to take an exam.

That’s known as the “Exam only service“.

Art & design half-day

New in September 2016 for Years 9 & 10 is the Art & Design course for home educated students. It’s a BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Art and Design.

You can do this course by itself. It would be one half-day a week, at the Clifton site. Or you can do it together with another course, as long as the combination meets the Government’s funding rules and doesn’t clash in the timetable.

Year 11 options

In Year 11, you can choose from:

  • Any of the things from Years 9 and 10 described above, if they’re at the right level to suit you, and/or

  • Joining in with older students on a selection of “intensive vocational learning” courses across the college.

The jargon word for becoming part of the older ones’ courses is “infill“. So that option is known as the “Year 11 Infill Programme”.

Year 11 Infill Programme

Here are the “Infill” options:

Subject Where?
Art & Design Clifton
Automotive London Road
Business & IT Maid Marian Way
Care & Early Years Maid Marian Way
Construction Beeston
Engineering Highfields
Photography Maid Marian Way
Science Maid Marian Way
Sport Clifton
Travel & Tourism Maid Marian Way

Map showing central college sites in Beeston, Stapleford, Clifton, Highfields and the city centre. Based on a screen shot from OpenStreetMap, as linked elsewhere in article.

(Click on map to see it full-size. Or to zoom in for local details, use original map from which this screenshot was taken.)

Each of these courses would be about two-and-a-half to three days per week.

They can run alongside GCSEs and/or half-day add-ons, if the timetables don’t clash.

The qualification could be e.g. BTEC, City & Guilds, CACHE, IMIAL or another industry specialist one, depending on the course you’re doing. For more about each specific course, click through from the list at Central’s page for people age 14 to 16.

These courses are divided by “levels” (as discussed above), where Level 2 is meant to be roughly equivalent to GCSE A* to C, and Level 3 is roughly equivalent to ‘A’ level.

Home ed students could potentially do Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3. Which level you started at would depend on a combination of…

  • English & Maths levels from your initial assessment.

  • Other qualifications you’d already done.

  • Maybe a portfolio, e.g. if the course were art or photography and you already had work to show.

  • Discussion with the course leaders.

  • Whether you’re 16 yet, for some Level 2 and Level 3 courses. (Level 1 would be available to all Year 11s.) There are various reasons why the organisation running a qualification – known as the “awarding body” – might set a minimum age for Levels 2 or 3. The Choices team have sometimes been able to get exceptions where a 15-year-old could participate, by talking to the awarding body for that particular course – depending partly on why the limit was there in the first place.2

Even within the same level, on these vocational courses there can be several alternative classes running at different times of the week. So if you apply to these ones together with a friend, you could find yourself in different classes. But if you were at the same level, you could put in a request to be in the same class – no guarantees.

Finding out more

If your question isn’t answered here…

  • You could ring the Choices team on 0115 884 2278.

  • You could email them: centralchoices @ centralnottingham . ac . uk (without the spaces).

  • You could comment here (anonymously if you like) and we’ll invite the college people to comment back. This would be especially useful if you think other people might be wondering the same thing.

  • It’s also possible we’ll schedule another meeting.

Possible meet-and-chat

Brendan from the college kindly said that if there were enough of us – say 5 or 6 families – he or one of the team would be willing to travel to us, and do another little presentation and chat and answer our questions.

Subject to weather, this could be in a park, e.g. Wollaton or Highfields, so that children not very interested in the grownups’ chat can play. In that case, we would probably schedule a fall-back date in case of rain.

This possible meet-and-chat could also be a nice opportunity for some of the potential future-year-classmates to say hello.

If we do a meetup like that, it’ll be open to all current and potential home edders, and mentioned again on the blog. However, to find out whether enough people would be interested, please comment here (anonymously if you like, but including an email address) if you’d like to be invited.


Footnotes

1. Starting GCSEs in Year 9: As discussed later on in the explanation, a young person who’d already got far enough both academically and socially could possibly start GCSEs in Year 9, but this would be exceptional.

2. Minimum age 16 for some Level 2 & Level 3 courses: These age limits exist for varying reasons.

  • When it’s primarily because the government wants to discourage specialising at an early age, this likely wouldn’t apply to non-school students.

  • If it’s because of the content of the course, this would be a case by case basis, possibly depending partly on where the young person’s 16th birthday falls in the academic year.

  • If it’s because of health and safety, it’s unlikely to be varied.


Quick links to sections
GCSE & other courses for non-school teens at Central College, Nottingham
Overview by school “Year”
Geography & travel
Where we fit in to the college
Levels
Assessments, discussions, decisions
Year 9 options
Pre-GCSE Programme
Year 10 options
GCSEs
GCSE exams for “external candidates”
Art & design half-day
Year 11 options
Year 11 Infill Programme
Finding out more
Possible meet-and-chat


Note on anonymity when commenting:

If you put your email address in the “email” bit of a comment box here, it won’t be published. But blog admin people can see it, and (in this case) use it to make sure you know about the meetup.

The name you fill in would normally be shown, so if you don’t want your real name to be visible either, just write “Anonymous for this” in the “name” box, or use a made-up online name.

(All comments are pre-moderated to avoid spam, so don’t be surprised if your comment doesn’t pop straight up.)

Acting Up home-grown drama club, age 4 to 8, Cinderhill/Aspley, one Tuesday a month

Date: One Tuesday morning a month, usually the first or second Tuesday in the month.

Currently booked for 2016:

  • 7 June
  • 5 July
  • 9 August
  • 6 September
  • 4 October
  • 8 November

Time: 10.30am to 11.30am approx, and we have to leave the premises by 12pm.

Venue: Bells Lane Community Centre, 194 Amesbury Circus, Nottingham NG8 6DD. The community centre is on the inner round bit of the “Circus”, just by the junction with Dulverton Vale.

Area: Cinderhill/Aspley, on 79 and 35 bus lines, about three miles north-west of Nottingham City Centre. Broxtowe Country Park is less than half a mile away “as the crow flies”.

Age range: 4 to 8.

Price: £3.50 individual child or £5 per family.

Booking: Holly says “Please let me know if you’re thinking of coming so I can be on the look out for new faces, and also it helps me to plan accordingly, but there’s no need to book!”

Email: actingup at non-school-nottingham dot org dot uk.

Six wooden spoons each have a smiley face drawn on their round end, and are arranged on a white background like a family of smiling spoons.

There is a 30 minute slot then a 15 minute break followed by a 20 minute slot.

We start with a welcome song and then I guide participants through the activities.

I aim to include games, songs, movement, rhyme and other exercises to encourage creativity, communication, confidence and, of course, fun (sorry it doesn’t begin with C)!

The sessions are quite flexible and I adapt to the mood/ interests of the participants as much as possible.

Access info:

Disabled access, including parking, ramps and toilets.

I think there are many elements of the session that would be accessible however best to contact me before hand to discuss particular needs.

Map showing Bells Lane Community Centre:

Bigger map showing Bells Lane Community Centre

Nearest bus stop: “Dulverton Vale“, on the 35 route, Orange Line and 79 route, Turquoise Line. Important: there are actually two bus stops on the 79 route both called Dulverton Vale! The one you want is in between stops called “Eltham Drive” and “Walbrook Close/Bells Lane“.

This stop is only about 150 yards from the venue.

Nearest tram stop is Phoenix Park, just over half a mile away – but the buses go much closer.

Parking: There is a small car park, and off road parking too.

Pint of Science festival, Nottingham City Centre, 23 to 25 May

Date: Monday 23 to Wednesday 25 May 2016.

Time: Evening. Exact start time varies by venue; typically around 7pm.

Venue: Four different venues in Nottingham City Centre each host on each of the three evenings – 12 different events in all, each with several speakers.

Age range: All ages. One of the four venues specifies that under-18s must be accompanied by an adult; the other three simply say “All ages welcome”.

Price: £4 per evening event, typically 3 different speakers explaining something about their research area.

Booking: via individual web pages on Pint Of Science web site.

Availability: At time of writing, most events still have places, though a few have sold out.

Our events fall into the following topics:

  • Beautiful Mind – neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry
  • Atoms to Galaxies – physics, chemistry, maths, astronomy
  • Our Body – medicine, human biology, health
  • Planet Earth – geosciences, plant sciences, zoology
  • Tech Me Out – biotechnology, robotics, computers
  • Our Society – law, history, politics, policy, languages

PintOfScience

The Pint of Science festival aims to deliver interesting and relevant talks on the latest science research in an accessible format to the public – all in the pub! We want to provide a platform which allows people to discuss research with the people who carry it out – no prior knowledge of the subject is required. It is run mainly by volunteers and was established by a community of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers in 2012. The main festival takes place annually over three days in the month of May simultaneously in pubs across the world.

This is the first year that it’s come to Nottingham.

The Nottingham page at Pint Of Science has a map showing approx locations of each venue.