The National Extension College

The National Extension College

Off By Ed Hanna

NEC seeks to widen learning opportunities for learners who want flexible delivery of excellent and innovative courses.

They help their students to open doors to their futures, through life-changing learning. In particular, the NEC offer educational opportunities and second-chance learning to people for whom attending regular classes at school or college would not be possible.

The College was founded in 1963 by Michael Young and Brian Jackson as a forerunner for the Open University. Writing at the time, Michael Young said; “We were searching for education without institution, learning while earning, courses which people of all ages could take in their own time, at their own pace.”

Today, led by Dr Ros Morpeth OBE, NEC are a long-standing independent educational charity and part of the Open School Trust.

As well as providing online distance learning courses directly to students, NEC also provide learning materials and resources to schools, colleges and training providers, and learning programmes for companies, government and the rest of the public sector.

For more than 55 years NEC have forged a reputation for the highest-quality learning materials and innovation in distance learning, alongside a deep commitment to providing exceptional support to our learners at every stage of their learning experience. Their tried and tested infrastructure, approach and materials fully support the needs of 21st-century learners.

Business courses

Fit study into a busy lifestyle and select topics to match your development goals with NEC’s CMI Level 3 in Principles of Management and Leadership or CMI Level 5 courses in Management and Leadership online courses. You can choose between Award, Certificate and Diploma to start your journey towards more senior management roles.

Counselling courses

Are you a good listener? Do you have what it takes to support someone through difficult times? NEC offer courses in Counselling Theory, Using Counselling Skills, and A Taste of Counselling to give you the start you need for a career in counselling.

Childcare and Early Years courses

Looking to start a career in childcare and early years? NEC’s NCFE CACHE Level 1 Award in an Introduction to Early Years Settings will give you an essential stepping stone to build the skills and knowledge you’ll need to study further childcare and early years courses. Further levels are available through NEC.

Creativity & Arts courses

If you are looking to try something new or develop your hobbies, NEC offer courses in Art History, Art Techniques, Creative Writing, Writing for a Living and Writing Short Stories. These courses can lead you to further qualifications or becoming freelance.


NEC offer 16 different GCSE courses so are ready to support you with whatever career you are looking to get into. As well as English and Maths, they offer science subjects, modern foreign languages, social sciences, and business.

A levels

Like their GCSE courses, NEC offer a wide range of A level courses that can help you get the grades to get into university or to strengthen your skills in a particular topic. 

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