Very, very bright but hates academic work - post GCSE suggestions pls

(26 Posts)
basildonbond Mon 25-Mar-13 20:36:20

Ds is exceptionally bright (top 0.2% on IQ tests, CAT scores sky-high) but due to a mixture of fairly mild ADHD and hormones is currently underachieving and is unlikely to get the results he should be getting (on track to get mix of As, Bs and C's when apparently capable of straight A*s)

After a painful weekend trying to get him to focus on his English coursework when the only time he wrote anything was when he was sitting in the kitchen with me, I'm now wondering if an academic path in sixth form is going to be sensible, feasible or survivable (for me!).

He's not particularly good with his hands so anything practical which involves crafty, mechanical or technical skills is out. He veers between wanting to join the army (but as an officer) and being a lawyer but what he really wants to do is go to the gym a lot and look good hmm

Any ideas of where to start with him?

creamteas Mon 25-Mar-13 20:41:44

What about a BTEC Nationals in sport or public services? Lots of practical stuff and no exams (although coursework to be done

Could get into uni with both if he wanted to do that later, but also good for the army as well I should think

FlatsInDagenham Mon 25-Mar-13 20:44:08

Is he an outdoorsy type? Could he do a course in countryside management or something like that?

Bilbobagginstummy Mon 25-Mar-13 20:46:35

Apprenticeship in accountancy?

mnistooaddictive Mon 25-Mar-13 20:49:35

Google psychomotor over excitability. Also look at potential plus.

Laquila Mon 25-Mar-13 20:50:18

I sympathise. Is he in the Officer Training Corps and if not, could he join? It certainly sounds as though he's bright enough to be a lawyer but there's no denying that the study and training for that are bloomin' hard work, and require quite a bit of self-discipline. Has he done any work experience and could you get him a placement in a law office, to give him a taste of it? (And at least rule it out, maybe)

NewFerry Mon 25-Mar-13 20:50:57

I have a friend with a DS who is very similar. Having going/gone through the A level route with 2 boys, I feel they do have to be motivated, and willing to buckle down to get the decent grades.
In my friends case, her DS has a place at the local college to take up a btec computing course. Her DS is quite disengaged from school and I think a change of environment is the right choice for him.

Wishiwasanheiress Mon 25-Mar-13 20:54:04

YMCA do great fitness tutoring courses. He could then get interested maybe and then do a degree. De Montfort do a fab pe degree. Could he do a year out maybe? Camp America etc to slow the constant schooling down? Give him a breather?

Wishiwasanheiress Mon 25-Mar-13 20:55:19

Re lawyer, go to public gallery at old bailey. Get his interest piqued maybe that way?

Theas18 Mon 25-Mar-13 20:57:28

Sounds like the army could be a good route to give him a focus whilst allowing him to go to the gym and get buff!

Gee seems like officer training material..

meditrina Mon 25-Mar-13 21:01:49

The minimum academic qualification for joining the Army as an officer isn't particularly high: 7 GCSEs and 2 A levels. But in practice nearly everyone has a degree these days. But it might be useful to get him to look serious at he Army as an option - which bit does he want to join, does it have any additional entry requirements? Goingin some acquaint visits might be a useful step too.

Laquila Mon 25-Mar-13 21:12:21

I second the Camp America/gap year idea but suspect you have to be over 18 to be a camp counsellor or similar. He does sound, though, like the kind of boy who could flourish after some time away and a change of scene (I've seen this happen and it's great to see!)

The YMCA fitness course sounds like it's worth looking into, too.

basildonbond Tue 26-Mar-13 06:43:42

Thanks for the suggestions - he's never been particularly outdoorsy but is very physical - v sporty but not great at team sports

I'd never heard of psychomotor excitability before but it's exactly him!! He's always felt physically constrained by school and even though his school has lots of sporting opportunities there's still obviously a lot of sitting in a classroom which he finds painful...

Despite my misgivings I suspect he would do very well in the army but he would need to be an officer and the problem is getting him through the next few years until he can apply to sandhurst - at this rate I don't see him getting through a degree course successfully

Being honest although he could be a brilliant barrister - v good at arguing and v persistent - I can't honestly see him putting in the amount of work and attention to detail needed to get there - hmmm

Will look into some of those courses with him

My mum keeps saying we ought to send him to Australia for a year on a sheep farm ... It might not be such a bad idea ...

2fedup Tue 26-Mar-13 06:51:05

What about an apprenticeship? Out local college runs a scheme with businesses where they spend 3 days at a job and 2 days in college, courses include business, science, it, accountancy. Money isn't great but the course gives them points they can use to apply for a degree.
My friends son got a place last year and loves it, they are taking applications for a sept start, so it is worth looking into now.

2fedup Tue 26-Mar-13 06:55:04

Have a look at the apprenticeship website, and the matching service to see what is in your area here

Mondrian Tue 26-Mar-13 06:59:42

He reminds me of myself when going through college. I did get down to study hard post college when I managed to get something I liked between my teeth so don't give up on him just yet, find a topic that he is really interested in - motivated by. How about sports science, does that interest him? Any chance you could arrange for him to spend a few days observing a sport scientist at work with a sports team, it might kick up his motivation by a few notches.

insanityscratching Tue 26-Mar-13 07:04:00

Ds sounds similar extraordinarily gifted, but very easily bored. He stuck out A levels (well technically.... he rarely went to school turned up for assessments passed them anyway) and went straight into Local Government where his abilities were soon noted. He now at 24 has a management role, he earns more than his peers who went to university and got their degree in fact he manages a team of graduates all older than he is and he is being funded at university now on day release. Those six years have seen him grow up a great deal and he is enjoying studying now where he didn't see the point before. That said he has a day off today to complete an assignment he has had for six weeks that is due tomorrow, he hasn't looked at it yet but it will be at least at merit standard because that's how he is.

happygardening Tue 26-Mar-13 08:11:42

Have you considered Wellbrook College? Not sure about entry dates etc but might be worth thinking about. A neighbours DS went there and I think the grade requirements are high but it might inspire him to pull his finger out at the last minute.
Alternatively our 6th form college runs a level 3 Btec called preparation for the uniformed services or some similar title I'm sure others do the same.

MrsExcited Tue 26-Mar-13 10:42:28

If he wants to be an officer the btec route to public services won't help much as it is more aimed at Non commissioned side.

Is he in cadets of any sort, has he done any army work experience? He is too young for OTC atm.

He needs to decide for himself as the 2 routes he has chosen so far are quite academic, needs to realise that both of these will require school type work for the next 5 years.

happygardening Tue 26-Mar-13 11:00:44

"If he wants to be an officer the btec route to public services won't help much as it is more aimed at Non commissioned side."
The two boys I was talking to at our 6th form college were on line for the top grade in their Btec in uniformed services which apparently is equivalent to 3 A's at A level one had been accepted on officer training at Sandhurst the other was in the process of applying. I know little about it so don't know if this is the norm. Another had been offered a place on the apparently notoriously difficult to get on paramedic degree.
I thought the course if it lived up to its description had the potential to develop excellent work skills leadership working as a team etc etc that an potential employer might like.
My DS1 was unmoved by it.

MrsExcited Tue 26-Mar-13 11:22:09

Ok probably being unfair with this, my local college offer a level 2 course worth 4 gcses and a level 3 course worth 1 a level, it will depend on the course.

Sorry the level 2 course is very much aimed at squaddies, I train some of the modules within the ACF and have seen how simple it is.

goinggetstough Tue 26-Mar-13 11:25:02

I also know of one DS who has done the BTEC uniformed services course that is equivalent to 3 A levels and been accepted at RMA Sandhurst and another who has been accepted to do nursing.
It is important to remember that 84% are graduates at RMAS and that the average age is 23 on commissioning. ( figures from the Daily Telegraph). So although they will take 18 year olds they are becoming more of a rarity. Plus there is also quite a lot of classroom time too even at Sandhurst and arguing is maybe a skill he would have to put on hold whilst there!!

So if that is what your DS really wants to do then as HG suggested a sixth form like Welbeck might be ideal. It would provide the academic side needed and also develop leadership skills etc.

happygardening Tue 26-Mar-13 13:06:41

The neighbours DS is now at a fully funded place at uni. I don't think Wellbeck is a walk in the park with lots of early starts and army stuff he came from a state school loved it but found it quite a shock at first. Those who've boarded of course might find it more like home from home!

Mendi Tue 26-Mar-13 20:34:35

I wouldn't bother with lawyer unless he's prepared to get his head down and study hard for several years - it's incredibly competitive now and you need top grades to get a training contract. And the studying part is very dull.

Is he interested in computer programming or anything like that? Something more focused that you can get on at quickly just by being good at (not by having to jump through academic hoops)?

basildonbond Wed 27-Mar-13 07:51:21

We looked at Wellbeck - only problem is it's very heavily weighted towards technical officers so need to do maths and physics A-levels and although he could do science subjects if he put his mind to it his real flair is for writing - and PE (his PE teachers' reports are always a beacon of loveliness in the wasteland of frustrated 'could do so much better' comments from all his other teachers ..)

We should really have been having this discussion this time last year as all the decent 6th form colleges have now closed applications for September but we've all been assuming he'd just sail into 6th form and keep going

He will still get the grades he needs to stay on at 6th form so it is always an option but unless he really matures I can't see it being a happy, fulfilling or successful experience for anyone involved ...

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