You may want to help your child find ways of learning outside the classroom to complement what they achieve at school or college. This may be to help them:

  • find out what studying a subject in more depth is going to be like
  • find out whether university is the right career move for them
  • get help with homework
  • study something they can't inside the classroom, such as knitting or photography
  • learn a specific skill


Depending on what they choose to study, undertaking learning outside the classroom will help them in applying for jobs and university because it shows that they've researched their subject fully and are interested in it, and are interested in the world around them. It also evidences ability to personalise and self-direct their learning.

We've links to the very best websites in the student section, with many courses being free, and you can access them here:

  • Pre-university Courses -  these are aimed at school and college students and cover topics such as how to apply for university, what it's like to study at university and how to research and study effectively.
  • Academic Courses - aimed at school and college students who want help with their homework, or want to further their understanding in a subject. They are also useful as a as taster courses, to see what a subject is like and whether they would like to take it further.
  • Skills-based Courses - courses aimed at learning a specific skill, such as building a website, which are fun, but can also be added to a CV/personal statement.
  • Creative Courses - courses teaching creative skills, such as knitting, photography, a language, etc., which are fun, but can also be added to a CV/personal statement.

On these courses you could learn absolutely anything and everything. However the most useful from a parent’s perspective are probably those designed to give a taster into university life, those that offer help with a portfolio (for students looking at art school), or those that give an insight into a subject they might want to study at a higher level, but which is not offered at school, such as Fashion Design.

These types of courses are most often taught online, during the summer or every week over the course of a term. They often cost money, and if your child wishes to learn through a programme, such as a summer school, you'll also have to factor in accommodation and transport costs.

However, there are numerous options available over the internet and the number of distance learning courses are growing everyday. If you want to know more about what it out there, see our search engine which has details of the online courses available throughout the world.

Find out more about the different forms of alternative learning:

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