To not make my DD go to sixth form/college

(81 Posts)
LetsTryThisAgain Sun 13-Apr-14 12:23:59

and instead let her do an apprenticeship instead?

My DD is 16 and in Year 11. She's very bright and is predicted mostly A's and a few B's for her GCSE's but she's not academically motivated IYSWIM. She is adamant that she doesn't enjoy school or formal education at all and wants to leave as soon as possible.

Career wise she's very arty and wants to do something involving art and design. She's been applying for apprenticeships over the last month or so with the aim of starting one once she's finished school. I should add that she's done that entirely off her own back without any input from me and she's secured a graphic design apprenticeship to start in late July/beginning of August which seems the perfect fit for her. She will get paid £100 a week for it, obviously not a lot but from a 16 year olds point of view that would seem a lot and she's very excited.

When I told my parents about this however, they were shocked. They said that she'd be "ruining her life" by not going into sixth form and "throwing her life away and not end up with a good job". They said that I should "make" her go to sixth form to do A Levels or at least college to do "one of those BTEC-y thingies" confused The worst thing is they've also expressed this to DD and she came home from a visit with them pretty upset. When I asked what they'd said, she said that "if they were her mum they would kick her arse into sixth form" hmm. A few of her teachers also want her to stay onto sixth form too. sigh

The thing is though, she really doesn't like formal education and can't think of what to study if she did stay on. She's said she'd study Art and maybe English literature or History but she doesn't know what else she would study. When I asked about BTEC's at college as a possibility she said they appealed even less than A Levels but she would probably do an Art & Design one if she had to do one. The thing is though, I doubt my parents would even approve of those subjects anyway as they are of the belief that only Maths/Science subjects are worthwhile and arts and humanities are pointless. So they would probably whine about her choices there.

I don't want to force her to do subjects she's not really interested in and would probably end up doing badly because she's not interested if you see what I mean. So probably pointless anyway.

A few other people think I'm mad too by letting her do this, but most have been supportive.

Please tell me MNetters that doing an apprenticeship won't doom her for life.

(I'm a name changer for this because some people in real life know I'm on MN and I don't want them snooping my other posts)

Doinmummy Sun 13-Apr-14 12:26:07

I would let her do what she's happy with. They are still young and there's many many years to train / learn new things. I went to uni aged 39 - there's loads of time.

fayrae Sun 13-Apr-14 12:26:57

Making non-academic kids stay on in education is far more damaging to them than letting them do something practical like an apprenticeship. The whole "uni for everyone" ethos is a MAJOR problem in this country and I see aspects of it everywhere, especially with parents - talking about "when" a young child goes to uni for instance.

FrankelandFilly Sun 13-Apr-14 12:28:07

Is say if she's found something she wants to do let her. My teachers tried to pressurise me into going to sixth form and Uni, I had some of the best GCSE results in my year, but I'd already decided I wanted to do a BTEC in horse care. Thankfully my parents were very supportive and 17 years later I still work in the horse industry, so my chosen course was valid for my career path.

Eebahgum Sun 13-Apr-14 12:28:33

Ignore your parents and her teachers. It annoys me that so many children are forced into further education against their will. It absolutely sounds like the best way forward for your daughter - the evidence is in how she's throwing herself into it. Well done for being brave enough to allow her to take the less trodden path. And tell her well done from me too for being mature enough to know what she wants and go for it.

OOAOML Sun 13-Apr-14 12:29:06

It isn't now or never for further education - there are part-time courses she can do whilst working, home study like the OU etc.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 13-Apr-14 12:31:29

My gut feeling is that I'd let her do the apprenticeship. There's so much unemployment at the minute, for graduates as well. So if she did sixth form and then uni she could struggle getting a job after that.

With this she's doing something she enjoys, getting work experience and there is some form of training to it as well so not a dead end job. If it doesn't work out she can do a-levels at college later or even uni.

Think of it like a gap year and reassess how its going at the end of the year.

I read a really good book recently called The Element by Ken Robinson. Its all about how people should find and focus on their passion rather than expected routes of education/employment. I think there's some good YouTube videos of his theories as well and I know its changed how I perceive the subject.

CarmineRose1978 Sun 13-Apr-14 12:32:38

Take it from someone who did a doctorate in History because she didn't really know what else to do with her life, and only started earning a living wage at 32... Let her do the apprenticeship. She'll be miles more employable and happier too.

ilovesooty Sun 13-Apr-14 12:34:16

You sound like a great mum and your daughter sounds sensible and grounded. Encourage her to do as she plans and tell your parents to mind their own business.

Indith Sun 13-Apr-14 12:34:26

to have researched and secured her apprenticeship herself she must be a bright, talented and motivated young girl. She knows what she wants and you are a wonderful mother for supporting her choice.

personally I think there is far too much emphasis on academic study. I think there are far too many people studying in the confines of classrooms and lecture theatres what would be better learned elsewhere. apprenticeships are great for manual and creative work, providing young people with the chance to study and to learn on the job with a mentor. I hope it goes well for your dd and the has the courage to stick to her convictions.

CbeebiesIsAboutToPop Sun 13-Apr-14 12:36:36

I'm not very academic, I scraped through my GCSE's with a B and mainly C's. I really didnt want to go on to 6th form or collage but was pressured into it. I hated every second, failed my forst year as I didnt have the motivation to do the work and ended up at a different 6th form retaking my 1st year. I did better, but still very low marks, my parents finally listened to what I wanted to do, but it was too late to go and do an apprenticeship (plus they were few and far between) and I went and got a job in retail for a few years. Worked my way up into management and was damn good at my job.

I left retail to have my children am 26 and this year started studying for a degree with the OU. If your DD doesn't want to go to collage/6th form, please don't make her. It will be a waste of 2 years. She may come out with good grades then what? will your parents force her into UNI? will she sabotage her grades so she doesn't have to go?

listen to what she wants, if she has an apprenticeship in mind go for it, if shes unsure keep options open and help her explore what she wants to do. 6th form/collage and UNI isn't the only path in life, ignore your parents and let her do what she wants with her life.

Nanny0gg Sun 13-Apr-14 12:36:47

Let her go for it.

My DS had a good time in the sixth form and a thoroughly miserable year at uni.

He left and went into a profession that didn't require a degree - you could work and take your exams which is how it was in the Old Days. And it seems (thankfully) to be coming back. Even law seems to be bringing back the equivalent of Articles.

She'll be earning, learning how her preferred career works in reality and gaining terrific experience.

And mixing with grown-ups in a work environment.

Can't see a downside.

fayrae Sun 13-Apr-14 12:36:55

With your parents, a lot of old people are still stuck in old ways of thinking where getting a degree meant you were pretty much guaranteed a good job. That REALLY isn't the case now, I would say a apprenticeship was a better chance of a good job than simply any old degree from any old university.

BrianTheMole Sun 13-Apr-14 12:37:30

Absolutely let her do it. She doesn't need to do a levels now, (or ever if she doesn't want). I didn't do my a levels until I was 22, went to uni at 24. Lots of time for your dd, sounds like she knows what she wants anyway.

specialsubject Sun 13-Apr-14 12:37:41

it's not some pointless 'meejah studies' course - it sounds a worthwhile thing that leads to work, she's good at it and she's interested in it.

where's the problem?

good luck to her.

BearPear Sun 13-Apr-14 12:38:22

An apprenticeship has to include an element of education - NVQs in my experience. My son took the apprenticeship route into IT and is happily settled in his career aged 21. Well done to your DD in choosing and pursuing her own path.

Doinmummy Sun 13-Apr-14 12:39:14

I'm having massive problems regarding my DD and school at the moment. She's in permanent seclusion and is very wobbly emotionally. I don't care if she doesn't sit ANY of her exams - my main concern is her mental stability. She has made no plans re college, there's so much pressure on teens these days, it's all too much for some of them.

SellyMevs Sun 13-Apr-14 12:39:37

I started 6th form but left after 6 months. It just wasn't for me. My mum was mortified, she thought I was throwing my life away and I'd never get anywhere in life.

It took me a few years to work it out, I tried a college course, but I've been in full time employment since I was 17. I did an apprenticeship. Realised at the end of it, I wasn't suited to that line of work. So I changed my career.

My mum is the first to admit now that I made the right choice for me and she is proud I did it without her support in the end. She regrets her attitude at the time and knows I've done the right thing for me. I've been working for the ambulance service since I was 18 and I'm now a qualified paramedic. In fact, I'm more settled than my brother, who decided after landing his first degree, that he didn't want to work in his subject area. It has taken him a few years or working in various roles to pursue the career he wants.

Neither decision is right or wrong, but as long as your DD makes her own choice about what she is happiest with, things will work out in the end. It's never too late to go to university if that's what she decides further down the line, and she will have such a strong working ethic from her apprenticeship.

Preciousbane Sun 13-Apr-14 12:40:12

I chatted to the very nice young check out assistant in the supermarket on Friday. She was working PT and training to be a hairdresser she was a lot happier and less frustrated than the one I spoke to a few weeks before. She had a degree but the checkout job was her job and no chance of getting a job in her field.

There is nothing the matter with apprenticeships. I'm not sure what % of dc attend University now but it was only about 10% when I was young. I don't suddenly see a huge hike in graduate level jobs having miraculously appeared though loads more people attend university. I know there was a target of 50% at one point but it wasn't reached.

Your parents will be in my generation, well probably about a decade older. It was so different obtaining a degree then. My mate is an academic his A level results were something like BCC. He wouldn't even get on the course at UG level that he teaches now!

LetsTryThisAgain Sun 13-Apr-14 12:40:13

Thanks everyone.

I guess I am proud of her because she's done this all herself with no input from anyone else. I had no idea she was even looking at apprenticeships and applying for them until I came in from work one day and she announced that she'd had an interview and got a "job". She seems really excited about starting it and doing something she enjoys as well as earning her own money. I think the fact she's done it all off her own back makes me more happy to let her do it. If she was just lazing around with no idea what she wanted to do then I might be more inclined to push her into further education.

She also seems to have given it lots of thought. She's admitted herself that it might not turn out the way she'd hoped and she might change her mind about what she wants to do but she's said she can always go back later if she gets the urge to be a doctor or a lawyer or whatever later even though it might be harder to do that.

GiddyUpCowboy Sun 13-Apr-14 12:41:23

I think you are right supporting your DD in her plans, and everyone else should keep their nose out. Degree's cost so much and are like a taxation once you graduate now.

CbeebiesIsAboutToPop Sun 13-Apr-14 12:41:28

(I'll add I didn't have to leave my job to have children, I earnt considerably less than DH who has a high flying career is away a lot, cant just jump on a train or get in his car and pick up sick children from school - on account of him being 100's of miles away while I work locally. We decided it made practical and financial sense (as it would cost more for childcare than the extra income so we would be worse of financially) for me to be a SAHM)

Tinks42 Sun 13-Apr-14 12:42:36

A childs happiness is far more important than academia.

The apprenticeship is something she actively wants to do and has arranged for herself. She can always go back and do A-levels later if she comes to think that they are something she'd benefit from.

Preciousbane Sun 13-Apr-14 12:46:30

To add I have had three distinct careers over 30 years and qualified to highest NVQ level or equivalent in each one. All whilst studying on the job and one was paid for in full by my employers. So whilst I have never been an amazing high flier on 75k a year I have had varied careers and haven't had to do the same job forever and a day which suited me.

I also did an OU course purely for fun once before they became so horribly expensive. Sitting in a lecture theatre only just wouldn't have suited me, though girls from my kind of background really don't tend to even finish school, none of my 4 sisters did.

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