DD2 is an average grade C with possibly a couple of B's at GCSE, did foundation core science last year & got a D, doing higher Additional Science this year & on target for a C. She would like to work with children in some format but is split between studying Childcare at level 3 or doing A levels, with the options of History, Health & Social Care, Sociology & either English Language or ICT OCR National. It doesn't help that big sister is telling her that childcare is a dead end job (I'm a childminder studying for my BA Early Years with OU) & she should do A levels at her old 6th form college not go to the other (more vocational college in a different town) for the level 3 childcare. I think dd2 really needs ideas of what she could do with those A levels with regards to child based degree but has concerns that she would get the right grades at A level to do a degree.
If she goes the A-Levels and then uni route then she'd probably be looking to do either an Early Years/Child Development/Childhood studies sort of degree where the normal entry requirements are something between 240 - 320 ucas points (240 points would be equal to CCC or BCD from 3 a levels and 320 would be ABB from 3 A levels - the different combinations can be worked out here www.ucas.ac.uk/students/ucas_tariff/tarifftables/). It would be worth your DD talking to her current teachers to see if they think this would be achievable for her at A-level.
Going to college to do a level 3 vocational course may suit your DD more if she performs better in coursework assessments than in an exam environment. If she passes a level 3 qualification and gets good references from her placements then she should be able to get a nursery nurse role in most nurseries. T would also not necessarily exclude her from going to university as well if that is what she chooses she would like to do. Many universities accept qualifications that are equal in breadth and depth to A-Levels, particularly for the more vocational degrees such as the ones your daughter would be looking at. It may be she would have to do a foundation degree (2 year degree) first and the do a years top up to get her BA or BSC but it certainly can be done.
If she has decided that university definitely isn't for her then it would make much more sense to do a level 3 vocational qualification as it will enable her to start work in the childcare sector straight away. If she isn't sure about A-levels and feels happier about the vocational qualification then I would advise her to go for the Childcare qualification now because I see many students who decide they're going to do A-Levels when they're not sure and then drop out midway through their first year.
At the end of the day she has got to be happy with what she has chosen to do - she is the one who is going to have to do all the work and be in all the lessons, not her big sister!
I wouldn't encourage a C grade student to do A Levels to be honest. Many A+ grade students struggle with the leap between GCSE and A level - I imagine that would be incredibly disheartening for a C grader. Definitely go for the BTEC - you all realise kids can still get to university with btecs don't you? If she wants that option of course. And tell her sister to stop bein such a know it all!
Many sixth forms won't let a student begin the A Level course without having obtained a B, or sometimes even A, grade at GCSE in the relevant subjects, so I would check that with the sixth form college she is considering.
My daughter worked really hard to get C grades - hundreds of them! But, realistically, any academic subject A level course she took she would be in with mostly A and A* students and what chance would she have?
She has her heart set on a vocational career and there is a level 3 Diploma dedicated to it. She is now banging out distinctions.
I understand where her big sister is coming from but she may not be cut out for careers involving high levels of academic study. Just applying to do an A level and turning up won't get you a good pass - ability and hard work will. If she is already working hard at GCSE and gaining C grades maximum, I think there is a chance that she will find the academic A level route soul destroying.
My daughter is absolutely flourishing now she achieving well. and, whatever anyone says, she is doing a practical course which is employable (or self-employable even). It may not be the most high-flying career in the world but a job is a job - and who knows where that might lead to?
Thank you for your input everyone, you have put what I have already thought, I believe she would be better in the more vocational childcare course, I am a childminder myself currently studying for a BA Early Years with OU and knowing my dd2 think she is more suited to a vocational style course. However wanted other peoples views who are less biased than myself & don't know either of my dd's. She has already done assessment tests for the Childcare course and gained a C in maths & a B in English, is studying Child Development as one of her GCSE's, she has an interview next week for her A Level choice 6th form (current school doesn't have 6th form so they all go on elsewhere so will see what they say as well & then wait for her GCSE results in August before she makes a final decision.