Sixth Form Dilemma following GCSE results - please help!

(20 Posts)
Etaina Thu 25-Aug-16 10:15:57

A few months ago, Dd was offered a means tested scholarship at an excellent independent school. She was told that she would be expected to get 7A*/A grades at GCSE (although apparently this is not a conditional offer - I don't really understand what that means). I accepted and paid the deposit, although I must admit that I've had many sleepless nights wondering how we'll pay the fees (we're a low income family). I also told her to apply to another sixth form as an insurance just in case.

Dd just picked up her results and got 7As and 4Bs. She was predicted all A*s. She already has two A grades from early entry exams, so she has attained the grades required for the independent school. However, I don't know what to do because she did bugger all work for her GCSEs. She spent the entire year holed up in her room lying in bed with her headphones on watching every bloody TV series and film available. Every time I gently nagged her to revise, she screamed at me. I feel very guilty about this, but in the end I gave up and just let her get on with it. The only revision I saw taking place was the evening before the exam, and even then for 2 hours max (she said they were revising at school so it wasn't necessary). She has long dreamed of going to the independent school and has bragged to everyone she knows about the fact that she is going there, but has made sod all effort.

So now I'm faced with a dilemma. Do I send her to the good independent school even though she's been bloody lazy or should I send her to the local sixth form (also appears to be good, although it is fairly new)? The fees will be a huge sacrifice for us, it will mean absolutely no luxuries or holidays or clothes etc for the next two years, but if it meant good A level results, I'd be happy to go without those things.

I'm really pissed off with her. Tbh, I didn't ever think she would get all A* grades, but she was certainly capable of a handful and the B grades were all in relatively easy subjects.

Mindgone Thu 25-Aug-16 10:23:47

I wouldn't send her to the private school. Because she has no clear work ethic, or good study habits, I believe you would be wasting your money, and everyone would or could end up very resentful. A good private school is absolutely no guarantee of good a levels. And they all find year 12 a huge shock to their systems! Good luck with whatever you decide.
I would make it clear though, that's it's not a punishment in any way, but a sensible choice for the family, who would benefit more from that money in other ways.

Etaina Thu 25-Aug-16 10:34:20

Thank you Mindgone for your reply. This is exactly my line of thinking and even before the GCSE results, Dh was very annoyed with me for accepting the offer because it's a huge sum of money for us. As I said, if I thought she would work hard and take advantage of all the opportunities that they would offer her and fully throw herself into school life (co-curriculars etc), then I'd be more than happy to make the sacrifice. But I can't see her changing that radically. Dd1 is already resentful of the fact that we'd be spending all that money on Dd2, especially given her work ethic.

I don't know where we stand contractually either because I've signed up to the independent school and paid a deposit etc.

Mindgone Thu 25-Aug-16 10:39:24

You're in a tough position and have my sympathy. I would expect you to lose your deposit, but have no further obligation, just as they would have the right not to accept your DD if she totally flunked her exams. I'd ring them to check, but be firm about what you want, don't take any pressurising.

Abloodybigholeintheground Thu 25-Aug-16 10:57:05

We have all of ours at private school and my eldest has just got his results. He didn't work much-did a bit towards the end but was pretty slack most of the exam time and we had an awful year 11 and not much better year 10 because he was being incredibly lazy.
I would say not to send her private. It is the most frustrating thing to know you are paying for an education that the child is not making the most of. We can afford to pay but if you are making huge sacrifices to allow her to go there it will grate even more if she doesn't work as hard are you expect her to and may cause huge rifts and fallouts.
We are considering pulling our DS out now-he knew what we expected from him and he didn't achieve that (realistic targets for him). But I think his DF will fold and let him stay on which doesn't really teach him any life lessons....hmm

isthatpoisontoo Thu 25-Aug-16 10:58:23

She's much more likely to work hard if she is surrounded by other people doing the same, though, as she would be at an independent school. As someone who worked much harder on my a levels than my GCSEs, I have to say it's easier when you are doing a few subjects you're interested in, so the change doesn't feel that radical! I think you should give her the chance.

Etaina Thu 25-Aug-16 11:17:20

isthatpoisontoo that is the dilemma isn't it, because I'd expect that the pupils at the independent school will be hard working, especially as they're expected to have good GCSE results in order to join the sixth form. Maybe they'd watch over her a bit more (small class sizes) and give her the push she needs. I don't know what the new local sixth form is like in terms of the intake, but I'd imagine it is a mixed bag. The independent school is girls only, the local one is mixed. But as Mindgone and Abloodybighole have said, resentment would build if we were all making sacrifices and she still wasn't putting the effort in.

I just don't know what to do. I'm absolutely torn (but still pissed off with her). I need to make a decision today really as we are sitting on two offers and I know that the local sixth form was highly over subscribed, so I feel bad about not letting them know what she is doing in good time.

Karoleann Thu 25-Aug-16 11:39:14

No, I wouldn't send her there, especially if the cost is going to be an issue. You may spend all that money and she makes no effort for A levels either.

Put the money towards uni instead.

Somerville Thu 25-Aug-16 11:50:50

You need to check the terms with the Indy - you would have signed them alongside paying a deposit. For many independents you would be liable for the autumn term's fees at this stage - you have to tell them you don't want the place before the first day of the trinity term if you want to pull out of the place without paying michaelmas term fees.

Work this out before you think about it anymore, because if you've got to pay terms fees anyway it might make the decision for you.

I would think about making some kind of responsibility agreement with her, whichever 6th form she goes too.

Tissunnyupnorth Thu 25-Aug-16 12:02:01

Absolutely not. Good A levels can only achieved through hard work and she can apply that equally at the sixth form college. How on earth could you explain to your eldest DD that you have decided to sacrifice family income for her sister who has shown no work ethic or commitment to her education ?

Etaina Thu 25-Aug-16 12:05:43

I think the contract said we'd be liable for the first term's fees and that would be the full fees and not the discounted figure. Full fees almost £7,000 per term. We would have to pay not much more than that for the year with the scholarship, although we'd also have the minibus to pay on top which would be £1, 500 pa. But I could be throwing good money after bad if she doesn't work hard.

derektheladyhamster Thu 25-Aug-16 12:07:34

I imagine you'd be looking at paying a terms fees anyway. A good independent school will not let her sit on her backside through a levels, so it could be a good thing for her?

NEScribe Thu 25-Aug-16 17:26:50

It is a really difficult decision. The whole family will suffer (loss of holidays/luxuries) and if she isn't putting in the effort, you will become very resentful.
If you decide to let her go then you need to INSIST on set times for homework/revision/reading - and make it clear that she can't mess about as she has done for GCSEs. Personally, having scrimped and saved for years for our older DDs to go to independent school, I am pleased we did it.
Find out how committed she is - tell her it will be a huge burden, you will all be making sacrifices and you can only do it if she gets a part time job to help with finances. Doesn't have to be something huge - Saturday job in a shop for example - but if she refuses, then she has made the choice !

Etaina Thu 25-Aug-16 20:53:36

She's promising everything at the moment NEScribe but whether she actually does any of it is another matter.

After every exam, she came home saying it was easy and that she'd 'nailed it'. I think she knew that this would keep me off her back and she'd have a peaceful summer holiday, although I didn't really fall for it because I knew she'd been doing sod all revision. However, in truth, a part of me thought that she might just do a lot better than she deserved to because she is always such a lucky girl!

She was tearful when she first came home, but since then seems pretty happy and laid back about things. I emailed the independent school with her results but have not heard anything back.

Haggisfish Thu 25-Aug-16 20:58:51

If you have to pay for the first term anyway, why not let her start at private and tell her she has that time to prove herself?

Lucyelph Sat 27-Aug-16 20:00:40

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

PNGirl Sat 27-Aug-16 20:18:33

Nice ad Lucyelph. I'm sure the OP is definitely in South West London despite mentioning nothing about her location.

Dozer Sat 27-Aug-16 20:21:38

You'll be unlikely to get out of paying the £7k if you pull out.

caroldecker Sat 27-Aug-16 20:28:56

An independent will be much better at pushing her. Most 6th form colleges expect a lot of independent study, whilst private school will make sure she does the revision in class.

Dozer Sat 27-Aug-16 20:39:11

Is the place at the independent still on offer given her lower grades?

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