The Exam House is a new GCSE and A Level examination centre in Chesham, Buckinghamshire. Founded by the team behind Bright Young Things tutoring centres, the company uses classrooms on the high street to bring examination services to pupils.
The Exam House believe that public exams, including GCSE and A levels should be as accessible as possible. Founded in 2019 by Woody Webster, who also runs the BYT tuition centres, the company provides summer and winter timetables, covering the edexcel, WJEC, AQA and Cambridge International exam boards. We caught up with Woody over email to learn more about the new centre.
How did the idea for The Exam House come about?
Having helped run Bright Young Things, we found a real need from parents whose children were not being helped for one reason or another by their schools in sitting exams. While we initially partnered with established exam centres we began to research the cost. Often, students who are most in need of taking exams are those who have either been ill served by school or have a challenge getting to school. The current market for outside of school exam taking is both expensive and prohibitive. So the pupils who cannot take exams in school are punished twice.
Our aim is to rectify this anomaly and serve pupils are not being served by the traditional establishments. Keeping the costs down and where we feel suitable providing scholarships for GCSE and A level exam taking. The Exam House has been set up to reach parts of the annual school cohort that the school does not serve with exam sitting opportunities.
The Exam House has an ‘access pricing plan’ to ensure that your services are affordable for everyone. Can you tell us a bit more about how this works?
We have a strong sense that examinations are a bureaucratic hurdle that are a public good and should be priced proportionally. We have an active Access Pricing plan that ensures those who would not otherwise afford to take exams, can. Low cost exam taking is hard to find whereas often it is the poorer who are more likely to be excluded from school. We have a scheme where our pupils who have been on free school meals have a hugely reduced price.
Where exactly do the exams take place?
Students take the exams at our exam centre, which is located at 128 Chesham high street, Buckinghamshire.
What should pupils expect on the day, when taking an exam through The Exam House?
Pupils need to come in for a mock paper before taking the real exam. This helps with both anxiety and security.
What do you see as being the principle benefits to students taking exams outside of school?
Schools are finding it harder to include a wide range of requirements, so students benefit from taking examinations in an environment that can cater to their needs.
What do you feel are the biggest challenges that students face when taking GCSE and A Level exams?
Exams are increasingly hard to administer and schools are getting stricter on who is allowed to take them. Mobile phones and fraud is now a serious concern. This means that pupils need more control and training of actually taking exams.
What is the single, most useful piece of advice that you have for students about to take their GCSE and A Level exams?
Do as many mock papers as possible and in a similar environment to that of the written exam.
You’re currently advertising for Examinations Officers. Can you tell us a bit more about what this role involves?
We are searching for a new Examinations Officer to provide a comprehensive examinations service to students and staff at this thriving and busy school to start as soon as possible.
The role will include: the administration and organisation of all aspects of external and internal examinations in accordance with the regulations laid down by the awarding bodies. And supervision of team of invigilation staff.
We will be pleased to receive applications from those who can demonstrate that they have superb organisational skills with an acute eye for detail. Hold qualifications at Level 3 (A Levels, or equivalent), including GCSE Maths and English at Grade C or above. Have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal. Have experience of managing a team of people. Have outstanding ICT skills
For more information on the role, please get in touch by calling the office on 01494 911116.
What are The Exam House’s plans for the future?
We hope to build the supply of opportunities to take exams across the exam boards. Eventually locations around Buckinghamshire and London.