Options for exams in Scotland?

I was wondering if any home edders in Scotland with older children had any advice or experience of exams & qualifications and how to go about them?

Eldest is 15, but still no idea what he wants to do, but I thought I'd look into it as I'm presuming he'll need at least maths & English qualifications of some sort (most things nowadays seem to ask for at least this).

What are our options? Finding a school and sitting as an external candidate? Going to college? Online courses? What about access type courses at the Open Uni?

I'm not even sure what the Scottish qualifications are now - haven't they done away with Standard Grades / Highers?

I'm having a wobble and hoping some who have been through it can reassure me!
OK, here is what I have managed to find out so far. Posting incase it's helpful to anyone else thinking about exams in Scotland.

First of all, it seems almost impossible to sit any of the SQA exams as a private candidate due to coursework element, so the easiest route seems to be the English IGCSEs which are exam only.

I can recommend the HE Exams Yahoo group for further info, or the Wiki: www.home-education-exams.org.uk

Exam centres:
I can't seem to find any near Glasgow, but have found 3 in Edinburgh:

AQA, Edexcel and OCR exam boards
Summer exams only
Deadline for summer 2016: 21st Feb 2016
Single admin fee of £45/£55, depending on number of exams being taken, plus the exam board entry fees

Wallace College:
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, CIE exam boards
Exams in Jan and May/Jun (also Nov for CIE)
Fees £105 per exam

Basil Paterson:
Edexcel IGCSEs
Register by 15th Feb 2016 for summer 2016 exams
Some exams available in Jan 2016: Maths, English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics
Register by 15th Oct 2015 for Jan 2016 exams
2016 fees not available yet, but fees for 2015 were £115 / subject

Hope this helps anyone looking into exams in Scotland.

If anyone has used any of these exam centres I'd be interested to hear about it!

What would the exam situation be like in an independent Scotland? Would independence further cement in place the SQA qualifications and make GCSEs and IGCSEs even more foreign in Scotland than they are now? Would a two-tier system result where state schools use SQA qualifications and private schools and HE children use IGCSEs? Will IGCSEs be recognised and valued more outside of Scotland than SQA qualifications?

Ulster is less integrated into the UK than Scotland is but its schools uses GCSEs and probably would continue to do so if it became independent.
Thanks for all the info, Michaela. My lot are nowhere near contemplating any of it but I'll pass it onto my parents. Hopefully it'll stop them asking about qualifications (like they have been since my oldest was four!).
Sapna x
Riaz - interesting points! I have no idea! At this stage I'm just concerned about keeping doors open for my son.

Sapna - yes, it's all I've been getting from my parents too for 8 yrs!! (my mum is still saying "but wouldn't it have been easier just sending them to school?"!)
I don't think the situation surrounding qualifications in an independent Scotland has been sufficiently thought through on both sides of the border.

An extreme example of what could happen is that anybody who holds GCSEs or IGCSEs in Scotland will be looked at like a Campbell, and SQA qualifications will be unfamiliar and unrecognised outside of Scotland in a similar way that around 90% of people who live in the south of England are unfamiliar with Scottish banknotes.

An interesting sideline is that US High School Diplomas (which are the American equivalent of GCSEs) are not recognised qualifications in Britain.
My eldest is 12, and I am in the process of trying to work out what route we will take for exams. From what I have managed to work out, the new National 5's in Scotland will not be possible to sit as external candidates, due to the amount of course work assessment involved. Therefore, igcse's are the only real option unless he goes to school.

Out of interest, I had a look at our local International School, who offer the International Bacclaureate. I love the sound of this qualification, but again, he would have to attend the school in order to get it. I guess my biggest problem is that I don't like the exam system, but want to keep as many doors open for him as possible. Sad to say, that although I got into uni with an 'alternative' qualification, it took an awful lot of leg work from my mum, and involved a lot of stress!

If anyone has any idea about exam centres in Aberdeen, I would be grateful for information. I haven't quite managed to get round to inquiring about it yet!