Ensuring DD works at A levels

(15 Posts)
becomingmadder Tue 02-Apr-13 16:10:10

Hi my DD is in year 12 at College taking 3 A levels. The annoying thing about her is that she is very able but she will not put in the work and is content with Ds when her teachers say she could easily achieve Bs and above. We were very laid back with her GCSE preparation trusting her to put the revision in (as she had always done) but this backfired somewhat and her grades were well below what was expected or predicted. She is a party animal and as she is retaking her January modules in May and also taking the regular ones as well we have said that she isn't going to party from next week until after the exams. Two of her lecturers actually suggested this to us when we were at parent's evening a couple of weeks ago. She says that if we do this all it will achieve is that she will really hate us. I have told her that if the results in August contain any Ds she will not return to college in September to do A levels because she's obviously not cut out for them. She is very well provided for with mobile contract, driving lessons etc etc and all we want is for her to have sufficient education to be able to make choices about her future life. Help please!

Chopchopbusybusy Tue 02-Apr-13 16:20:31

I don't think it's a good idea to try to be so dictatorial. Negotiate. Help her with a revision timetable, including time off. My DDs are doing GCSEs and A2s this year. They really can't revise solidly, so they may as well schedule time off for things they really want to do.
I'd advise against threats of no more college if you get Ds etc. sometimes they need a bad result or two to show them they need to work a bit harder.
What does she want to do after college? What results will she need?

webwiz Tue 02-Apr-13 18:07:49

I think its very difficult if they have got to the A level stage and aren't interested in studying. Yes you can lay down the rules to a certain extent and I would be withdrawing driving lessons and mobile phone contracts for a DC who isn't making any effort at college.

Has she chosen the right subjects and what does she want to do after A levels? Maybe she needs to try a job for a bit and come back to education later.

senua Tue 02-Apr-13 18:28:14

What's next - is she aiming for university or similar? Would it help to look at courses and let her work out that she will have a lot more choice with B grades than she will with D grades.

What are the college's rules for allowing progression to Year 13? In some places, D grades would not qualify.

MTSgroupie Wed 03-Apr-13 09:38:55

'she is very well provided for'.

Probably a bit simplistic analysis on my part but there lies your problem. It sounds like you are financing her lifestyle.

We've drummed it into our kids that we aren't supporting them so if they want 'stuff' then they need to get a part time job to pay for it and if later on they want a nice car and holidays and a house then they need to study hard and get a good degree/job and that living at home is not an option (I'm a firm believer in tough love smile )

Psychologically, your DD knows that she has you to fall back on so her main preoccupation now is having fun and not studying. At this age there isn't much that you can do except to exercise some tough love. After all, its a bit silly financing her lifestyle and then complain that it's stopping her from studying.

MTSgroupie Wed 03-Apr-13 09:39:35

'she is very well provided for'.

Probably a bit simplistic analysis on my part but there lies your problem. It sounds like you are financing her lifestyle.

We've drummed it into our kids that we aren't supporting them so if they want 'stuff' then they need to get a part time job to pay for it and if later on they want a nice car and holidays and a house then they need to study hard and get a good degree/job and that living at home is not an option (I'm a firm believer in tough love smile )

Psychologically, your DD knows that she has you to fall back on so her main preoccupation now is having fun and not studying. At this age there isn't much that you can do except to exercise some tough love. After all, its a bit silly financing her lifestyle and then complain that it's stopping her from studying.

BeckAndCall Wed 03-Apr-13 09:43:00

Is it possible she's really trying to tell you, through her lack of work ethic so far, that this is not for her? If she's not working now, it's too late, I'm afraid, to expect good results.

I think you need to have a talk with her about other options - something vocational or a job or some work experience?

A levels are not for everyone - the are other paths to follow

Phineyj Wed 03-Apr-13 09:44:48

I agree with senua and it might also be worth pointing out that a crop of Ds could mean repeating year 12 with the year below if she wants to continue with A levels. You could look at her options if she did leave just with low grade ASs? My DSis became a lot more devoted to studying after our DM explored the alternatives with her -- apparently it was watching pigs being inseminated at the local agricultural college that made up her mind A levels were not so bad!

becomingmadder Wed 03-Apr-13 15:22:57

Thanks everyone. Have had further discussion with her today and gave her some home truths. She doesn't want to leave College and told us last night that we couldn't make that decision for her and that she is too old (17) to be grounded and if she wants to go out she will!! However when I pointed out that even to get to College she would need £400 for her bus pass she seemed to understand. It's strange because in other ways she is very mature but at the present she is so pig headed and keeps saying but a D is a pass. We have looked together at Uni requirements and she has seen that pretty much no Uni accepts a D and in fact Bs are what she needs but is adamant that she wants to do a degree and become a Social Worker (perhaps a sign of insanity????). She says we're over reacting. This morning she and I put the dates of her retakes and next module exams on the calendar and she has 5 weeks before they start. I suggested we put together a revision plan/timetable as if we have that then we could also schedule in some free time (though not to include any overnight sleepovers). Apparently this is part of her homework for these holidays but she just turns her nose up at the prospect. Again I've explained that if she had a plan we could negotiate going out time but all too much trouble for her. So I'm sticking to my guns.

Aigle Wed 03-Apr-13 20:04:28

Don't get too mad, gettingmadder. You seem to have explained and encouraged her to make a strong effort (albeit late in the day). If she chooses not to, it might be better in to let her experience the ramifications of failure while she is young, and she can return to study in a year or two when she has greater maturity and a real drive to succeed. Ideally she will get on with it now, but equally if she is "pig headed" then maybe it is her way of saying she simply isn't ready. With a weak job market the delays may even play in her favour.

Happymum22 Thu 04-Apr-13 19:39:05

I'd really listen to her saying she wants to be social work, yes it is a tough career and social workers are often critisised but if it is what she is interested in, it is clearly something she has put thought into and she could have a very long, successful and worthwhile career.
Focus on this, re,ind her of the grades she needs. Maybe there are some related careers that she could look into e.g. working for a charity like NSPCC.

Put an action plan in place with her to achieve this goal (even if it isn't what she ends up going into, what she needs is motivation for now). Sit down and be positive and supportive of her ambition. be glad she has this ambition and it is a respectable and not an 'easy option' in any way.

Come up with a list of courses and what she needs to achieve.
A plan for if she fails (repeat the year, different courses, a college vocational course in something related)
A plan for her to get work experience relevant for her application (this will show her you take her choice seriously and give her the confidence to believe she can achieve it, hopefully making her work harder)
A plan for THIS holidays how she can maximise the time, what will motivate her to revise, how you can help her revise, I think at this stage she needs to be learning material and looking at past papers and mark schemes to understand what the examiner is looking for. Reassure her it isn't too late (it possibly is, but telling her is just going to demotivate her further) and that if she really wants the Bs you are happy to do whatever to help her and that you believe she can achieve.

Moaning at her and getting cross is just going to piss her off and make her put up more of a stand. You've tried the strict tactic so now try the encouraging and motivating tactic!
Good Luck

Dozer Tue 09-Apr-13 13:34:48

You could give her some facts and figures about wages for different jobs (ie "average" wage is pretty low and won't provide the lifestyle she's accustomed to!); entrance requirements for degree courses; A-level stats (so she can see that with Ds or below there will be many, many people with higher grades than her and she won't be able to compete);employers' requirements for social workers etc. Employers will have pretty high requirements.

point out that she gets just one chance at A-levels (unless she stumps up £££ for college again) and if she doesn't do as well as she could she may well regret it, and earn much less and all that entails when she's older.

I had a friend like this at school, what spurred her on was doing much less well than the rest of us, when she was as clever.

Given the tight deadline you could remove her mobile and require her back early from any parties too!

Dozer Tue 09-Apr-13 13:35:40

Another option would be bribery, £X for every B! This worked with my BIL.

TheSecondComing Tue 09-Apr-13 14:07:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hatsybatsy Tue 09-Apr-13 14:38:38

This must be massively frustrating as a parent - and my kids are way younger than this so I have no direct experience.

But - I would say that motivation at sixth form (and at uni) has to come from the individual. Grounding her/getting involved in drawing up revision timetables are not realistic solutions for a 16/17 year old.

I would echo the idea of the reducing the goodies that she gets - no need to be so generous with phone contract/driving lessons - but other than that all you can do is encourage and support IMO. Punishing her harshly and being too helicoptery will only make her resent you in the short term and may still not achieve the goal of improved grades.

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