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Barriers to learning may become insurmountable

Learning opens doors – but the 'left behind' are still struggling to get in

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Each year in the UK, an estimated 50,000 people – enough to fill the classrooms of about 30 secondary schools – sit exam papers under their own steam. These so-called private candidates study independently through online and distance learning, usually at home. As they don’t have an institution to make the necessary arrangements for them to sit papers, they do it for themselves and pay their own exam fees.

For many years, private candidates have struggled to find an examination centre to accept them, as there is no requirement for a school or college to do so. Some public-spirited organisations ...

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