Drama GCSE with all exam boards involves around 60% controlled assessment / coursework, and so is difficult to arrange for private candidates. The exam centre has to mark this coursework itself, and few schools will consider this unless you are a pupil there. A few theatre schools and home education groups offer GCSE drama, so ask on local home education groups to find out if there is anything in your area.
Often home-educated students take alternative qualification such as dedicated drama exams instead, and these are usually accepted to get you onto Level 3 courses in drama at college or sixth form. Often school pupils are unable to take GCSE drama because of timetabling problems or if their school doesn't offer it, so there is always an alternative pathway to further study in this subject.
GCSE Drama Edit
In some areas, GCSE Drama is offered at weekend or after-school classes. Here are some - if you find others, please add them by editing the page or putting a comment in the box at the bottom.
Norfolk - The Garage - GCSE drama via Sunday classes. Costs £1700 for the entire course - instalment plan offered.
Faregos Home Education Exam Centre is running GCSE Drama classes and exams in 2018.
Conway Arts and Outdoor Education - GCSE Drama at weekends.
Some home educators have arranged to take Drama GCSE in groups with a tutor - The Otherwise Club in North London for example. It is worth asking on your local Home Education email group and on the HE Exams Yahoogroup, and any other groups you are on eg Facebook pages, to see if a group might be available to you. However, do ensure that the group has a examination centre arranged and has a commitment in writing from the centre. Unfortunately, groups have been let down before by schools where staff wanted to help, but in the end could not get permission from their management to accept students for GCSE drama.
IGCSE Drama Edit
The only Drama IGCSE available in the UK is offered by CIE and the specification states that it is not available to private candidates. However, you may find a stage school which offers it as part of a course.
Alternative Drama Awards Edit
There are alternative drama qualifications at GCSE level which you could do through a private drama class - similar to taking music grades. For example, Trinity College, LAMDA and New Era Academy are well-known drama exam boards which are accredited by OFQUAL and the awards have been given official status as equivalent to GCSE or A-level standard, etc. Briefly, a Level 1 qualification is equivalent to a GCSE grades D-G, Level 2 is equivalent to GCSE grades A*-C, and Level 3 is A-level standard. There's more detail about all these levels and equivalences from the DfE Qualifications Explained page.
For instance, the LAMDA and New Era Academy exams grades 4 and 5 are both accredited as Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) by OFQUAL. See
Trinity College, London offers the following awards which are officially recognised as Level 2:-
"Grades 4 - 5: Speech & Drama; Drama (Acting, Shakespeare, World Dramatists, Musical Theatre,
Performance Arts); Speech (Performing text); Communication Skills
Award in the Arts (Silver)" - download file via and overview of Trinity exams here: http://www.trinitycollege.co.uk/site/?id=139 Trinity Guildhall downloads
You could also do the Trinity Arts Award specialising in Drama - see Art for more information.
Drama exams at Level 3 (A-level standard) earn UCAS points for university entry - see http://www.ucas.com/documents/tariff/speechanddramajune2011.pdf
One benefit of taking a drama qualification through these boards is that you can specialise in different areas, and hopefully have more choice than you would at school - eg Musical Theatre, Shakespeare etc.. One parent comments: "I did New Era Academy exams as a teenager and found it much more interesting than the GCSE drama that I did at the same time. I liked the transparency of the system, and the fact that I was marked on my own work alone; in GCSE, if you have to put on a group performance then the overall standard of the group will be dependent on all its members, not just your child."
There are, of course, many drama groups which home-educated students can join in order to gain experience of working in group performances, and many home-ed students greatly enjoy these. As well as the wide variety of drama groups aimed at teenagers, some adult amateur dramatics groups may accept younger members.