to expect it to be simpler than this for additional needs support?(8 Posts)
Posted for traffic and because I AM AT MY WITS END! My daughter is a very gifted and talented young person. She is also autistic. She was predicted mainly A*, A, B, and a few Cs at GCSE level. However it rapidly became apparent that typical GCSE style exams are not working for her and she did not do as well as she hoped due to this. However, she got the results needed to get into a very good college. Now, she is failing her two strongest subjects and it turns out that she only enrolled on these as her high school teachers said that she had such a gift it would be wasted . I had no idea about this. I wanted her to do what she wanted for HER to be happy, not her teachers.
Anyway, its 3 months into the start of A levels and she is constantly breaking down in class, is miserable at home and is sorely missing her friendship groups at school. After much talking and trying to figure out what to do, she ideally wants to drop to do 4 A levels over 3 years with this year being 2x AS levels, next year being two AS levels and 2xAlevels and the final year being 2xA levels. So ultimately, she would leave with the four A levels she was predicted as being easily able to get, but over a longer period to help ease her transition. College have said a flat out NO to this but can not tell me why it is not possible. They have said they can finish this year in the subjects that she now hates and re enrol next year on the ones that she wants to do. Or she can leave. They wont even allow her to do just two AS levels this year, they have said she must carry on with the 3. or leave.
SO, AIBU to expect for our young people to have some more support in things like this? change is HARD on everybody, let alone vulnerable teenagers. Does anybody know who colleges are answerable too? What their legal obligation to young people are? By law she has to be in education until she is 18 and this nightmare is causing clinical depression and is even putting her off university despite her wanting to carry on to do sciences to PhD level. Doesn anybody know of any autism groups that could potentially advise on this?
Are they actually offering AS levels in all these subjects? Many schools and colleges have dropped them altogether or will do so imminently as they no longer count towards the full A level . 4 A levels is excessive if she is struggling to cope, 3 is more typical anyway. Would she be better do BTec/ NVQ ?
National Autistic Society is the main one. They have a website and telephone helpline. IPSEA is an excellent parent support charity.
Have you heard of EHCPs? These are like statements but cover young people up to the age of 25 and I know of young people who have been allowed more flexibility than the norm because of it being stipulated in their EHCPs. You would have to apply for one through your local education authority and it takes a load of form filling and evidence gathering and meetings and fighting your case but it might work.
Also, maybe explore other colleges in your area. Sixth form colleges are judged on exam results league tables, hence the strict policies. A general further education college may be more flexible (though many don't offer A levels any more, only vocational subjects).
I thought AS levels weren't a thing anymore?
EHCPs take 6 months and will categorically not dictate to the college which subjects your DD will take or how many years she has to do them (FYI)
Does she have a statement or EHCP? The college should have a SENCO, have you contacted them? A good organisation to contact is IPSEA, they have a helpline and loads of useful information on their web pages.
Why is she doing 4 A levels when she is struggling so much?
Doing a PhD is renowned for exacerbating mental health issues, I would be careful about encouraging her down this path.
She does not have a HCP and yes, currently she is doing AS levels and then the second year is a top up to A level. She is easily capable of doing the 4 as opposed to the 3 , its the transition that she is struggling with along wth choosing the subjects that she was told by school she should take instead of doing the ones that she she wanted to take. She is incredibly intelligent and was predicted 14 As in GCSEs but sitting n an exam hall was a disaster, she couldn't concentrate "on order" and barely even filled in some of the papers as she just couldn't cope with the subjects that didn't hold her interest and buckled under the pressure. But she did very well in the subjects that "come naturally".
We have been very lucky in that primary school was a nightmare but we found a wonderful highs chool that really turned her around, she found friends and started extra curricular activities and truly blossomed. Now I feel her sliding backwards, becoming a recluse and I just feel that instead of the college enabling her to make a slower transition by spreading the course over 3 years, to enable her to catch her breath and learn to deal with it, they seem reluctant to even want to help never mind work with us. Its a flat out "NO , we do not do programmes with just 2 Alevels. No, we will not spread 3 or 4 A levels over a 3 year period." so they will allow her to carry on in French for the entire year, even though she is already failing it and its making her extremely depressed..... just to keep her doing 3 A levels ( the French she hates, she just never realised it before). It just seems so much more logical to me to allow her to drop French immeadiately and carry on with the two current ones she loves and is doing well in , and then next year she can enrol in the extra two subjects she is incredibly interested in and would likely excel and thrive in. It has been very very difficult to get her to open up to us on this and to talk but now its all out in the open I need to fight for her to A-be happy B-fulfil her potential
Thank you for the links. I will get in touch with them on Monday and see what they have to say. I have been told that a student did indeed spread their studies over three years but that was due to illness and not additional needs/neurodivergent adjustments.
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