i cant talk to DD...she has decided not to do A level...but!!

(49 Posts)
ThatVikRinA22 Fri 22-Mar-13 23:08:24

ok - so DD struggles with exams and has dyslexia - but she really does put the effort in and does ok.

she is expecting Bs and Cs from her GCSEs. She was going to go to college to do A levels, but in last 2 days has changed her mind and says she is going to do a BTEC in health and social care - even though she has no idea what she wants to do when she leaves college.

ive tried to talk to her but she just gets horrible, sarky, annoyed, shouts, and i now give up. there is no speaking with her at all. ive no objection to her doing absolutely anything she wants - but she doesnt seem to know where anything leads.
she hasnt researched at all possible career options from doing a btec in healh and social....

she has no idea what she wants to do.

she was originally going to take A levels in English, psychology, business and media. I felt this would have kept her options more open but she has decided the stress is too much (which is fine....but i felt that her initial choice would have kept her options more open)

what can she go into with health and social care? she has no desire to go into nursing.
but she wont even discuss it with me. shuts down the conversation as soon as it starts and storms off - DH was going on about it earlier, but when she got home and i asked he clammed up and didnt say a bloody word....so i was the bad guy yet again for daring to ask what she intended to do with this BTEC....he just sat in silence and really really annoyed me. He was really not happy with her choice unless she knew what she wanted from it - but he didnt back me up at all when i asked her. So ive told him he can deal with it and im not getting invloved any further - she resents me as it is. i ask too many questions.

what does health and social care lead to career wise?

Chopchopbusybusy Fri 22-Mar-13 23:16:23

I have no idea what health and social care can lead to, but having a DD of the same age who is completely frustrating me I felt obliged to reply!
Would that take up her whole timetable? I'm not sure but suspect it's two choices. Leaving two or three more.

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 22-Mar-13 23:29:10

she seems to think she will just do one BTEC and nothing more....but she wont even discuss it with me.

im trying not to push it because she is so stubborn and may talk to me if i leave it alone - or she may talk to DH. im the enemy you see sad im the nag. im the one who asks all the questions while DH keeps silently in the back ground so he is the good guy.....

im a bit pissed off with him. he raised concerns. i voiced them. he didnt back me up.

ive decided to leave it.

i always do the wrong thing (i ordered her a strapless bra from john lewis for her prom dress but typically she hates it and wont try it - i suspect because i had a hand in it.

im getting to the point of not asking anything anymore. she is being the biggest nightmare she has ever been in her entire 15 years....

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 22-Mar-13 23:37:23

I work in youth employability and actually think this is a great stepping stone into lots of things! She could do that and then go on to do a social work degree, which although depressing in some ways, can also lead to lots of interesting things- not just child protection. For example, lots of programme managers for charities or community development schemes have social work back grounds. It could also lead to care home management if she wanted to stay in the care field.

mowzer Sat 23-Mar-13 00:01:08

Are her choices related to what her friends are choosing?
Can you plan a night out/away just the two of you to try to reconnect? Maybe agree not to discuss her options for a couple of weeks to give her some space.

So hard trying to make important choices at that age, I think making a compromise between enjoyable right now and practical for the future is the way to go. If she finds studying difficult, she may enjoy the BTEC more than A levels.

Chopchopbusybusy Sat 23-Mar-13 00:14:03

Is there a 6th form open evening you can gont

Chopchopbusybusy Sat 23-Mar-13 00:15:32

Sorry!! Go to with her? I really can't see that 1 BTEC can fill her timetable.

cory Sat 23-Mar-13 09:35:57

Is it one single BTech or is it a BTech certificate (which I believe is equivalent to several BTechs)? I seem to remember seeing something like this in dd's catalogue.

Would it be possible for you to visit the college together and talk about what kind of thing students go into after this course, what good combinations are etc etc.

LIZS Sat 23-Mar-13 09:39:51

Check what level they offer as it may only add to GCSE equivalent and be taught at a very basic level. If she can achieve B and C at 5+ GCSE then I'd suggest she looks into something slightly more advanced, as level 2 is more of the same, or perhaps an A level or two to build around it.

RandomMess Sat 23-Mar-13 09:43:22

I'm assuming it's a full time BTECH course, the equivalent to the old OND.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 23-Mar-13 09:48:29

Do you think she feels scared about A levels?

At the end of the day though, if she does this Btec - it's not her only shot at education/training. She can take other courses.

I would suggest that you just support her in this. She can do other things afterwards, if that's what she wants.

People think that you have to make your choices Right Now, like it's the only chance you'll get. But that's not true.

I left school without any qualifications (didn't take them). I went to college, got some there. Stayed on, did some A level courses and applied to uni, switched to a performing arts course, and then a health sciences, then quit altogether, went to do a f/t business admin course.

I faffed about chopping and changing for about 3 years but I got there in the end.

KelleStar Sat 23-Mar-13 09:55:50

Clarify if it's a BTEC National (level 3, same as a-level) or First (level 2, same as GCSE).

A BTEC National Award is equiv to 1 a-level.
A BTEC National Certificate is equiv to 2 a-levels
A BTEC National Diploma is equiv to 3 a-levels

BTEC's are a good qualification and can still consider going on to do a degree from. The assessments vary by module, you should be able to find specific course data on the edexcel website, it will list all the compulsory modules, and what optional modules she can choose.

The style of assessment may be more suited to her, if she struggles with the pressure of exams.

Health and Social Care isn't just about nursing, I've seen students go onto sociology degrees, teaching and healthcare management.

I am on my phone, otherwise would give you the links.

lljkk Sat 23-Mar-13 09:57:02

I think you have to let go a bit, OP, sorry, I know that's easy for Me to say.

I know with Dd the best I can do is drag her along somewhere insisting that final decision is hers, but how can she know she made the decision properly without being open-minded about all the possibilities, which means exploring them properly.

sashh Sat 23-Mar-13 10:05:49

I really can't see that 1 BTEC can fill her timetable.

It does, it is equivalent to 3 A Levels. and takes as much time.

Most of the students I've taught over the years have gone into nursing but also

operating department practitioner
care home manager

It is a very good course, lots of practical things like hand washing and first aid but lots of academic work as well.

All students have to take one or two research modules, so they learn Harvard referencing before uni.

There is also a work placement, so one day a week at a care home or similar.

Some students take an A Level along side, but not many.


BTech is an Indian qualification.

BTECs come in levels 1, 2, 3, HNC/HND. I'm assuming the OP's daughter is looking at Level 3 as she will already have GCSEs.

All levels come as an award, a certificate and a diploma. Which you obtain depends on which units you take and how many.

A Level 3 Diploma is 18 units and takes two years full time study.

mrsjay Sat 23-Mar-13 10:07:01

she could go on and do social work with her BTEC she could become a carer support worker HC assistant all sorts off things , I did Health and social care a million years ago , I work with children and parents now as a support worker , let her decide for herself higher education isn't for everybody,

campergirls Sat 23-Mar-13 10:31:09

You have my sympathies, my dd is exactly like this when anyone tries to give her advice... I can't comment on the health and social care BTEC, it's outside my experience. But as a university lecturer whose job involves working closely with VI forms, I'm afraid I think that if she's on course for Bs and Cs at GCSE, she would be likely to find the suite of A levels you mention extremely challenging. So looking at alternative courses might be very sensible.

insancerre Sat 23-Mar-13 10:48:39

I think you should let her choose her own path.
BTECs are a very good alternatives to A levels and are a much better introduction to degrees as they are modular and not so exam based and usually involve work placements which is great for learning practical workbased skills.

nickstmoritz Sat 23-Mar-13 11:55:18

Doing a level 3 BTEC is an acceptable alternative to A levels and in your situation I would congratulate your dd in investigating her options post GCSE. Those A levels might be horrendously pressured for your DD and there might be a possibility of her either struggling or dropping out especially if she does not have a goal at the end of them or a real passion for the subjects.

My DD with dyslexia (younger than yours) has chosen practical subjects as options to take the pressure off written core subjects and DD1 doing GCSEs is predicted to get 10 or 11 with a few predicted A/A* and is going to do a level 3 BTEC instead of A levels. I am fine with it but she knows she wants to do an art based degree so the BTEC will lead to that.

I would start by saying well done to DD and say you will support her decision BUT ask her why she has chosen that particular BTEC and is there any other BTEC that might suit her? Is she creative, enjoy working with children, teens, older people etc what I mean is go at it from a positive stance and visit the colleges in the area. Some BTEC courses have an option of taking one A level too which would give your DD equivalent of 4 A levels. Or take BTEC and get pt job so your DD has work experience and a qualification. These days a uni degree is no guarantee so a practical route might get your DD on the work ladder debt free and most universities will snap up a young person with experience and a BTEC.

If DD agrees to investigate the BTEC options with you and can justify her choice then be happy with it. There is time to change her mind so even if she does start the social care BTEC and decides it isn't right she can go back to A levels the following year and you have been supportive so she will have nothing to come back at you with. As it stands, if she does the A levels and struggles you will be blamed for it (ifswim).

nickstmoritz Sat 23-Mar-13 11:58:36

As Kellestar said above check it is a level 3 extended diploma which is the A level standard BTEC not level 2

ThatVikRinA22 Sat 23-Mar-13 12:11:19

thanks every one this is extremely helpful.

it is a level 3 - so seems like it could be a good alternative to A levels - the only thing i wanted to discuss with her was indeed why health and social care....but she just wont discuss it.

i will support her in anything and i agree that i think A level would be a struggle for her - she does ok in exams but gets so stressed its just not worth it.

anyway - will see if DH can talk to her.
thanks all.

nickstmoritz Sat 23-Mar-13 12:45:30

Have a look at the BTEC website which might help you get your head round that side of it. I would say nothing for now but if there are any open days coming up at colleges you could suggest visiting together.

specialsubject Sat 23-Mar-13 13:08:29

no-one really knows what they want to do at this stage.

however everyone can act like a human being, conduct a civil conversation and not sulk like a toddler. Sounds like that's what really needs addressing.

SanityClause Sat 23-Mar-13 13:19:43

Do you need to discuss her choice?

It's a useful and worthy thing to do, and can lead to lots of different and interesting careers. And as others have said, she could change her mind when she gets older and do some other qualification later in life.

Perhaps you just need to trust her on this?

Signet2012 Sat 23-Mar-13 14:07:01

I did a btec in health and social care and went on to do a sociology degree.

EvilTwins Sat 23-Mar-13 14:23:25

Have a look at the Edexcel website. You want to look at BTEC Nationals since 2010 in the qualifications section. H&S will be there. Very likely it's a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma, which is the size of 3 A Levels. Oxbridge won't take students with that as entry qualifications but other universities will if that's what she wants to do. We do the Subsidiary Diploma (1 A Level) and Diploma (2 A Levels) at our school and students have gone on to nursing, paramedic courses, primary teaching courses, into nurseries, into old people's homes and other areas of the care industry with it.

unlucky83 Sat 23-Mar-13 14:25:57

I think you have to step back and let her do what she wants...you can lead a horse to water and all that...whatever happens it isn't the end of the world...
I stopped going to school regularly at about 14 ...drove my parents insane - scraped 6 O levels...wanted to do a YOP (Pre YTS - youth training scheme) in farming....school, parents etc said - you're too bright for that ...so went to college to do 5 A levels (sciences etc to go onto agricultural college) - dropped one after the other and dropped out completely by the Easter of the first year....
Decided I wanted to be a chef ...catering college - by that stage parents had given up and thrown me out - wouldn't let me do just chef qualifications (I was too bright!) - had to fight not to do the management course -but was still put on a course that was more than I wanted...dropped out after 1yr and finished chef qualifications part-time...
At 24 -after being quite successful -(Head Chef of a big, good restaurant) I was seriously ill etc and had to have a life rethink...(and TBH I was a bit bored by then - friends said I'd burnt myself out)
At 26 part-time I did 2 A levels (Chem & Biology) -enough to get me into a really good uni where I got a 2.1 BSc hons and went on to get a PhD in biochemistry.
(And now I'm a SAHM and almost unemployable... but that's another story ...)

Faxthatpam Sat 23-Mar-13 14:43:03

My DS2 is in yr 12 and doing a Sport BTEC which is worth 2 ALevels, he's also doing AS Psychology and AS Photography and will take one of these on to A2 next year. He also got mainly Cs and a couple of Bs at GCSE and has a language processing problem which makes learning for exams hard. He was gutted at first as he wasn't allowed to do English A level because of his results... But he is absolutely loving the BTEC now and doing really well in it, getting lots of Distinctions for the modules - this has been fantastic for his confidence and self esteem as academics have always been hard for him, and this way of learning suits him much better.

Hope this helps - you have my sympathies - my DS1 would never take any advice from us and it drove me crazy, but he made his own mistakes and is finally learning from them. He's now at Uni on a course he loves despite some bumps in the road. There is light at the end of the tunnel I promise!
Good luck!

noddyholder Sat 23-Mar-13 14:46:55

My ds started A levels and dropped out mid year one. He has done a BTEC and done really well. This week he has had an unconditional offer from very good uni in his subject. 700 applications and only 70 places and 30 of those for students on the university's foundation course. He is the 1st person from his 6th form ever to be accepted on this degree course and it is an absolute miracle considering his antics when he was 16. It is not the end of the world fr them to make a few errors initially Many of ds mates with very good A levels were turned down for the course so things can work out smile.

LineRunner Sat 23-Mar-13 14:48:42

Hi Vicar

I sent you a PM because the info is a bit specific, but just want to say that sometimes it is possible to compromise on a BTEC and an A level combination that is what one's DD (or DS) wants to do and which keeps some good (but clearly not all) university chances open.

ImperialBlether Sat 23-Mar-13 14:54:22

I think four A levels would be far too much for her if she's getting Bs and Cs. If she doesn't like exams, then she should avoid A levels. (I'm an A level teacher.)

The problem with full time BTEC courses is that they limit your future options, because they assume you know what you want to do.

If I were you I'd step back a bit (I know how hard that is to do) and remember she doesn't have to make a final choice in most colleges until the day of her results.

Why is her father not more involved if she'll take notice of him? Couldn't he suggest she sees a careers officer?

ggirl Sat 23-Mar-13 14:58:58

My friends dd is doing btec in health and social care along with photgraphy Alevel and has been given conditional offers to do a degree in social work

GetOeuf Sat 23-Mar-13 15:02:38

Vicar I had A very similar situation with my dd last year. She got a selection of mostly B and C at GCSE, I strongly encouraged her to take A levels as opposed to the BTEC extended course (the one equivalent to 3 A levels) which she wanted to do. She is dyslexic and apart from that has a real anxiety at taking exams.

Anyway she started her 3 a levels I'm September, and was very unhappy and stressed from the start. Real panic and a sense of failure, and she found the increase I'm difficulty from GCSE very hard to handle. She decided to leave sixth form and go to college to do the BTEC she originally wanted to do. Very, very luckily the college had a January intake so she didn't have to waste a year. She has started her course now and absolutely loves it. It is a full timetable, she gets a day off I'm the week, but its not like school where lessons are timetables and you have x number of free periods scattered through the week.

I really wish I had backed off a bit and let her start the course in September. Luckily it has had no ill effect, but it would have been better for her psychologically to not have had those 3 months of A levels she she felt overwhelmed and a failure.

She has gained distinctions in all her assignments so far, if she gets distinctions all the way through it will give her the same Uncas tariff points as a decent clutch of A levels (cannot for the life of me remember the equivalent grades but they are good). No she will never get into Oxford with a BTEC but that is the last thing she would want to do anyway.

I feel like a cow for pressuring her last year. I know she only went to sixth form to keep me happy. I should have realised that although I find academic stuff enjoyable and easy, she is not me and she has different strengths. The BTEC is just as good for what she wants to do in life anyway. And the most importAnt thing is that she loves college, is genuinely thrilled with what she is studying and is determined to succeed. If she had stayed doing A levels the story would have been a different one.

It's a bloody stressful time for them. I'm sorry you feel that she is not talking to you and has not given you any reasons for why she wants to study the health social care course. Hopefully you and your DH will be able to slowly coax it out of her.

GetOeuf Sat 23-Mar-13 15:06:11

Sorry for the terrible typing - fat fingers on a new ipAd I am not used to yet.

titchy Sat 23-Mar-13 15:07:53

Maybe she actually IS interested in this area as a career, but wants you to butt out so doesn't want to discuss her reasons with you! Maybe she feels you only want her to do A levels and you'll nag her if she engages with you, because you feel the BTEC is inferior (which you did initially).

She seems to have made quite a sensible choice tbh given her predicted grades, so maybe you shoul just say that sounds sensible, well done. An leave it at that!

EvilTwins Sat 23-Mar-13 16:07:43

Distinction in BTEC Extended Diploma is 360 UCAS points- same as 3 A grades at A2. Distinction* is 420 points.

mrsjay Sat 23-Mar-13 16:27:05

t is a level 3 - so seems like it could be a good alternative to A levels - the only thing i wanted to discuss with her was indeed why health and social care....but she just wont discuss it.

why? why not it is something she has looked into she may fancy being a nurse or something My co ordinator left school at 16 did a similar course and is no a co ordinator a family project, your dd can advance as i said before it isn't all about further education and university smile

ThatVikRinA22 Sat 23-Mar-13 23:55:33

she hasnt looked into it at all - she was either going to do health and social or business.
i asked her why,
she shrugged. i asked her if she fancied nursing? "no"
social work then "no"

im backing off. entirely. ive had enough of the silent treatment for simply attempting to take and interest.

i am happy if she is happy. she just doesnt seem happy with anything these days.

she isnt speaking to me and ive no idea why - other than i asked her what made her choose health and social care.

it was a genuine question. not loaded. i couldnt care less if she is happy doing that - but she clams up and wont talk to me. ive no idea what ive done to deserve it. and her father asked the same questions, but when i voiced them, he let me take the flak. he is her buddy. so he kept quiet.

ive backed off. truly backed off. no longer want to know as causes to much ill feeling - she thinks im snooping. so ill stop snooping and wont ask anything anymore.

i actually think A level would have been a bad idea. DS was very academic and found A levels a shock to the system. Im not a snob. it doesnt bother me at all what she chooses. i just wanted her to talk to me about what her thoughts were.
but she clearly doesnt want to. so thats fine.

bluebump Sun 24-Mar-13 00:07:16

On the BTEC Health & Social Care course run at the college I work at there is an amount of placement expected so it isn't just classroom based - they don't pass the course if they don't do the hours in a variety of settings. It might be worth her checking if the course she is interested in requires the same, if she has no intention to work in a care setting or school etc this may not suit her. As far as I know the BTEC in Business doesn't have placements as a requirement.

sashh Sun 24-Mar-13 06:53:21


One last thing, this is a qualification in its own right, as in you can use it to find work, rather than A Levels which don't lead to any job/career without a degree.

Maybe she is thinking of not going to uni and for whatever reason doesn't want to tell you.

A certain number of credits can be carried over if she decides she doesn't want to do HSC and wants to change to Business.

TheRealFellatio Sun 24-Mar-13 07:29:50

I have no idea about the BTEC health and social care thing, but I will say that in all honesty if she has to work really hard get C grades at GCSE and may get some Bs in the easier subjects if she is lucky then she is unlikely to cope well with the academic rigours of A levels. Many sixth forms will not even entertain A level candidates that do not have at least a C in English and Maths, and at least a B in the subject they wish to study, for example History. If they could not get a B at GSCE they'll probably be looking at a D or lower at A level - if they finish it at all. And depending on the result at AS they may be advised/forced to discontinue. You have to listen to her, as she may already know this and feel overwhelmed by the pressure and the fear of not coping.

A levels are not just an extension of GCSEs, they are much, much harder. There is no equivalent of the foundation level so if your DD is going foundation level English or Maths to get a C, then English and Psychology particularly will be very tough for her indeed. And when it comes to finishing A levels, then what? She is unlikely to get onto a decent honours degree course with Cs and below at A level.

But if she goes down the non-A level route and gets good UCAS points she may end up doing a very useful foundation degree which will be less academically rigorous and more practical/geared to a specific job/industry.

I wish you luck - it's a very stressful and confusing time, and I know what it is like having teenagers who just put up a defensive wall and won't talk to you!

Incidentally, for those thinking ahead to uni, when my son did his applications, many of the courses he looked at specified a minimum of B at GCSE maths, even though he was applying for English and Philosophy degrees! In fact most of the courses specified minimum B in English and maths, except the maths degrees which didn't seem to care about the English, but assumed A* maths!

So unis DO look at GCSE results to an extent, despite what teacher at school may tell you - I think the more rigorous unis specify this to weed out applications from students who studied either English or Maths at foundation level. So if you were hoping she might do a traditional, purely academic degree then chances are she may be barred from that anyway, so pushing her towards A levels may be counter-productive.

GetOeuf Sun 24-Mar-13 09:33:01

I'm sorry that she won't talk to you vicar - you sound really down. Can you enlist your DH to help present a united front? I expect backing off is the best solution, but its not exactly joyful is it. Could she be unhappy or stressed about something else and taking it out on you?

Millais Sun 24-Mar-13 09:49:04

Could she be worrying that she won't get the GCSE grades needed to do A levels so this is her way of dealing with that without losing face? There is so much stress for exam pupils - just read a Guardian article about the constant "booster" classes .
Has she communicated this change of options with the college?

RandomMess Sun 24-Mar-13 09:51:52

Ah Vicar it's so hard when you want to be supportive of her yet she's shut you out sad

Perhaps in passing sometime you could say that doing a BTEC sounds like a great idea which ever one she chooses. That way you are being supportive, not questioning her - she may still be silent/reject the support but it will have been given.

EggyFucker Sun 24-Mar-13 13:47:05

Vicar, you sound just like I did this time last year, with my dd

Try not to let your relationship with her suffer. It sounds like it is going that way, like mine did. When communication breaks down completely, then you have a real problem.

I couldn't agree with many of my dd's choices at the time (mainly around not doing any work for her gcse's basically and completely burying her head in the sand). Too many evenings were spent screaming at each other or in an uneasy kind of stand off.

But one year on...things are tons better. She is also doing a BTec (not the same one) but has knuckled down, completes all the work, has good attendance and her tutors think highly of her. She is considering a vocational course at Uni, or going straight into employment. I even like her company again !

Hang in there, love

EggyFucker Sun 24-Mar-13 13:48:56

Sorry, meant to say a level 3 Btec, which if you get get merits or distinctions is equivalent to B's and C's at A level....enough to facilitate a good career when she discovers what she really wants to do with her life.

TheRealFellatio Sun 24-Mar-13 13:53:59

Everything that Getorf and Eggy said, YYY so true. grin

TheRealFellatio Sun 24-Mar-13 13:54:28

that was meant to me a smile not a grin


eatyourveg Sun 24-Mar-13 16:19:25

If it is the subsidiary BTEC which up thread was equated to 1 A level, could she not do another one in business and another in media? (Not heard of BTEC Psychology or English) That would keep her options open for a bit longer and she has already expressed an interest in business and media so it shouldn't be hard to sell it to her.

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 24-Mar-13 22:59:29

thanks everyone.

she has not informed the college of her change of heart - she has had an interview and been accepted for A levels.

i cant even find the BTEC in health and social at the college she wants to go to.

ive not mentioned it again. ive asked her if she thinks she could go and see a careers adviser at school if she wont discuss it with me.

i dont get why she wont - i wouldnt disapprove. im not disappointed. i really dont mind what she does - but it seems she is just choosing blindly with no thought behind her choices.

she is very good at media - she had originally wanted to do a BTEC in media but now says she doesnt.

all im concerned with is that she is happy and that she has some knowledge of what her choice can lead to.

We (dh and i) had a full blown row yesterday, DH wouldnt back me in asking the very questions that he had asked me - she threw a hissy fit, he told me to stop causing arguments. (she was actually being vile to me - not the other way around) and he sat and said nothing.

i cant do anything right at the moment. i said something about her prom dress costing £225 and she screamed that she didnt ask me to pay that....

but she did. she chose it. who did she think was paying? i walked out last night.
i stayed in bed today. She went out to her boyfriends. i picked her up at 9 and she has gone to bed. ive decided to avoid anything other than pleasantries and DH can step up. Ive done it for long enough anyway. DS was all mine. DD has been all mine up until now. He can get stuck in now. im backing off. i dont mind what she does. ive made that clear. But im not here to abuse just because she feels like it.

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