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Pupils Seeking Entry at Fifteen

In the UK, whether a pupil is in the State or the Independent Sector for Education, the General Certificate of Education (GCSE) examination is taken after a two year structured course that generally commences in "Year 10" at the age of 14.

This structure does not allow, by its very nature, a child to start in the system unless they enter at the beginning of the GCSE programme.

It is not unknown for a 15-year-old pupil to join at the beginning of a programme by placing them 'out of year' with the 14-year-old candidates. This obviously has a cumulative effect and although in some cases works well, it can be both academically and socially disruptive for others.

Perhaps a school, which offers the International Baccalaureate (IB), may be the answer and, as with all other aspects of education, it is advisable to seek proper help and guidance. Please also be aware that even if a pupil is already in a British School abroad, the process is not necessarily simplified. It will depend on the syllabus and examination board and also when the academic year commences, whether or not a smooth transfer may be effected. Occasionally some leeway is offered, but no school concerned about standards and quality of pupil preparation will allow any student to start the GCSE programme after the first half of the Christmas term of the first year of the course.