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National Extension College


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NEC’s range of tutor-supported, online courses are designed by leading experts to give you the greatest flexibility and highest chance of success.


About NEC

The National Extension College (NEC) provides the opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to fit life-changing learning into their lives. Whether you’re looking to study in order to go onto further or higher education, change or advance your career or simply for enjoyment, NEC provides online distance learning courses which are of the very highest quality.

Course materials are written by experts such as teachers and examiners and are available to you online 24/7 through learn@nec - our virtual learning environment and the gateway to the NEC community. You can study whenever and wherever you like. With tutor support from a qualified teacher and specialist in your chosen subject, NEC will make sure that you have everything you need to succeed.


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What’s on offer

Learning with NEC gives you the greatest flexibility. We really do offer something for everyone - whether you’re studying with a specific purpose in mind, such as going to university or for leisure.

You can choose from our online distance learning courses which include

A levels
Childcare and early years
Business and management  
Creativity and the arts
Developing your skills

We want to make sure you succeed. That’s why you’ll get the highest quality course materials, written by experts such as teachers and examiners. You’ll get a whole host of useful support material, such as resources to improve your independent learning skills, spelling punctuation and grammar and a free e-safety course.

You’ll have the greatest support throughout your course, from advice before enrolment, through to our guarantee of an exam centre. Your tutor will provide personal support throughout your course and you can interact with your peers on learn@nec - our virtual learning environment and your gateway to the NEC community.


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Exams and assessment

Many of our online distance learning courses lead to qualifications from awarding organisations for which you will need to sit at least one exam. Exams are strictly controlled and can only be sat at registered exam centres on certain dates.

We understand that locating an exam centre and ensuring that you are entered correctly can be stressful for students. We are delighted to be able to offer a guaranteed exam place for our students at one of our UK-wide partnership exam centres. By choosing one of our partnership exam centres you can be confident that the application process will be seamless. All of our centres work hard to provide a professional and friendly service, which is extremely valued by our students.

Let NEC take the stress out of booking exams. As an approved centre we are able to deal with both exams and non-examination assessments (NEA):

Written exams
Oral exams
Practical science endorsements
Spoken language endorsements


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Our commitment to you

Our commitment to you

Here at NEC we are committed to helping you succeed in your studies, whatever your reasons for enrolling. We will:

  • Provide you with impartial, professional and accurate advice before, during and after enrolment.
  • Ensure all course materials and associated documents you receive are relevant, up-to-date and compliant with current specifications.
  • Allocate you to a personal tutor who is qualified, experienced, keeps up-to-date with their subject knowledge and is committed to your success.
  • Treat you as an individual, because we understand that everyone has different needs when it comes to education.
  • Be approachable, reliable and honest in all of our dealings with you — from letting you know about additional costs to telling you if we get something wrong.
  • Resolve the situation swiftly if you are ever unhappy with any aspect of your course.
  • Use all of our expertise and experience to help you to succeed in your studies.
  • Guarantee to support you to retake your exams if you don't pass the first time, providing the syllabus is still being examined.*

* We will support you for your first retake only, provided that you have completed all of the assignments and that the syllabus is still being examined. Support may include exam paper marking and additional tutor contact. If you wish to use this additional support, please get in touch as soon as possible after getting your results. No financial alternative available.

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Partners and Associates

NEC works in partnership with The Marine Society, The Forces, The Prince’s Trust, Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET), The Open University, learn direct, union learn, and NIACE.

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Meet our students

Each year, thousands of students work to achieve their goals with the support of NEC. Our courses cater for students looking to learn around varied schedules. A recent survey of our current students shows that they range from less than 16 years old all the way up to 85 years young. We also have learners based around the world working their studies around all kinds of employment, whether full-time or part-time. Students come from all walks of life to learn with NEC.

One such student is Julia.

In 2016, at the age of 30, Julia Wix returned to Cambridge after travelling the world as an employee of travel and accommodation site Booking.com. The online company works with over one million hotels around the world. Her first job with the Dutch company was in a call centre in the UK, helping customers dissatisfied with their online experience.

Later, based in the company’s Amsterdam headquarters, she got to grips with analysing training needs, designing wikis (a website or database developed collaboratively by a community of users), managing training workshops and hosting webinars. She ending up as a global training specialist designing development programmes for the company’s employees across Europe, the USA and the Far East.

A desire to return to the UK led to her current role, at Cambridge Network, a not-for-profit membership organisation established 20 years ago. One of her key projects there is the School for Scale-Ups, a skills programme for leaders of rapidly growing businesses such as computer programming innovator Raspberry Pi. Although she was recruited for her training expertise, the organisation offers employees the variety that is one of the hallmarks of working in a small, locally focussed team. Julia might be helping a growing business designing a skills training programme one day and hosting a networking event for local high-tech businesses the next.

Globe-trotting hasn’t just been a feature of Julia’s working life. It had a starring role in her teenage years too. Her father was offered a six-month contract in Belgium and the family went to live there. The six months became several years and a flexible solution was needed for Julia’s schooling. When Julia left formal education at the age of 15, her parents turned to home education for their academically able and ambitious daughter. They found NEC through home education connections and an internet search.

The freedom to learn as she chose, liberated from the constraints of a classroom and the demands of peer pressure, suited Julia down to the ground. She describes herself as self-taught in GCSE maths, and A level classical civilisation, government and politics, French, and English language and literature. She studied and took exams in all five subjects through NEC. Her grades won her a place to study for a BA in Classical & Archaeological Studies with French at the University of Kent. As well as pursuing her passion for ancient Persia in the university library, she spent at year working in a high school in Quebec teaching

English as a foreign language for the British Council, improving her French, learning how she learnt best and learning how to teach others.

Despite having been diagnosed with dyslexia shortly before going to university, Julia was awarded a first class honours degree and in 2010 went on to study for a Masters in Ancient History at King's College London, achieving a merit.

When she looks back on her childhood, Julia sees her impassioned watching of historical documentaries, and her enthusiasm for visits to museums, stately homes and heritage sites as early signs of the direction her academic interests would eventually take.

Julia is keen to challenge the widely held view that young people educated at home lack the resilience built up by those who have been part of a school community. She believes that people who have been home schooled enter adult life with the confidence that comes from knowing they have succeeded in doing something differently. What’s more, home education gives young people a wide range of skills, including managing their time and managing their money, that prepare them for adult life. She cites the home educated American actress and internet star Felicia Day, who describes her experience of home education in her book ‘You’re never weird on the internet (almost)’.

‘Classical civilisation A level wasn’t offered by the last school I went to,’ says Julia. It’s down to NEC that I was able to go to university, and that I studied the subject I have loved since being a child. Flexibility of subject choice is one of the big benefits of studying for exams through distance learning. I’m sure my life would have taken a very different course without NEC.’

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Contact details

National Extension College (NEC)

Michael Young Centre
School House
Homerton Gardens

Phone free on 0800 389 2839
From outside the UK +44(0)1223 400 200 


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