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HELP!! DS has failed his AS levels and his college will not let him restart or continue.

(13 Posts)
CryingforCadburys Mon 22-Aug-11 14:10:35

After 6 months of deteriorating attendance and effort, DS has failed 3 out of 4 AS levels with an E in the fourth. His 6th form college will not have him back to continue or restart. What on earth do we do now?? He has the ability and did OK in GCSEs with four As and nine Bs, but just hasn't got to grips with self-motivated learning at college. Has anyone got any good advice?! If he can't get in somewhere to restart, what's the best thing to do if he has to wait until next year?

Sparkletastic Mon 22-Aug-11 14:12:57

Are there no other colleges in area? Round here they vary greatly in how laissez-faire they are towards students - the strict ones that take register twice a day and require notes from parents if lessons are missed get the best results of course. Does he actually want to stay in education though - perhaps his lack of motivation means he'd rather get a job or try for an apprenticeship?

PotteringAlong Mon 22-Aug-11 14:18:16

I agree with sparkle - deteriorating effort and attendance would tell me he doesn't want to be doing that kind of study. I'd sit him down, tell him that doing nothing is not an
Option, but ask him what he wants to do.

twinklytroll Mon 22-Aug-11 14:22:20

I think this is a standard response especially if the failure is the result of a lack of effort and attendance.

If he goes in and convinces them he is willing to make a fresh start they may let him in on a trial but I doubt it. At some point young people need to learn that there are consequences. I would imagine he has been spoken to already in the previous academic year.

Otherwise he could work for a year, perhaps in something related to his long term ambitions and then see if he wants to try again.

whenIgetto3 Mon 22-Aug-11 21:56:30

You need to tell him to find a college that will accept him if he wishes to continue or get out and get a job you can't keep him. Know it sounds harsh to say that but it is what my parents did to my brother and all of a sudden he was in college all the time, not partying, went to uni and got a 1st in physics and maths!!!

Tough love works at his age

goingmadinthecountry Tue 23-Aug-11 07:44:42

Hi Cadbury
Think I remember you from way back (Y6) - was Swedishmum back then. Does he know what he wants to do when he finishes at college? And how was he doing with coursework? I know at dd's school a number of people have been told not to come back. It's a huge step from Y11 to 12 and many of them really haven't got to grips with it despite good GCSEs. Equally in dd's y12 there have been a few of them a year older who have started with a clean slate. It's also a time when they suddenly seem to become adults - so much to take in/do/fit in. I know dd shouldn't have taken one of her subjects - has found it really hard despite getting almost 100% and an easy A* at GCSE (Physics).

Sorry, not much help!! I'm just beginning to realise how tough all this stuff is as children grow up!

CryingforCadburys Tue 23-Aug-11 13:35:56

Thanks all - much appreciated. DS needs to work out what went wrong and what he wants to do about it. As parents we want it all to be OK and it's hard when things don't quite follow the plan!

puddingbasin Tue 23-Aug-11 13:44:54

I totally lost interest in the sixth form. People kept trying to persuade me to switch courses but I was convinced A levels were for me and kept restarting and leaving.

What does he want to do? What subjects does he enjoy the most? A levels aren't everything. University could still be an option for him (if that is what he wants) via alternative courses i.e NC and then HND.

TwinkleTops Tue 23-Aug-11 15:33:05

Sorry about what is happening. It is not uncommon for something like this to happen to young people especially when starting 6th form college or A levels.

I'm sad that your local college is not being more accommodating. I personally would always give a student a 2nd, 3rd or 4th chance. People develop differently and there is always a reason why someone who clearly has the ability is not achieving their best.

1. Find out the reason why his attendance and effort went south. There is always a reason. Is he doing the wrong courses? Does he have friends? Does he need a tutor? Is he being bullied by students or staff? In my experience as an teacher and tutor, young people do not flourish at A level if they are unhappy. Why is he unhappy with his A level courses and/or the college?

2. What are his career plans? Does he have a clear idea what he would like to do after A levels? Does he want to study?

3. What are his old school friends doing? Are they motivated? At A level and beyond it is important to have a (small) group of friends to help spur each other on.

4. In my opinion, once he and you understand the reasons his lack of interest for the last 6 months, (and since the college is being unhelpful), it may be better for him to restart the A level course elsewhere - even if it means extra travelling. It wil be a fresh new start for him with no extra baggage

5. Since you believe that he may need some extra - motivation, try to find a place for him in a school rather than an 6th form college. The small and more personal environment should help him. In a few years time - he will be more suited for a college/university environment.

6. Remember that repeating an extra year or 2 is not an issue. However it is better to do it now rather than in a few years time.

7. *My bottom line*: Try to make sure your son is happy and then he will start to achieve. All of us flourish when we are happy - this is especially true of young people.

Good luck. smile

picnicbasketcase Tue 23-Aug-11 15:39:30

This will make me sound crap but if I had gone to college I wouldn't have passed my A levels either. Judging by friends who went to college I get the impression that the staff don't really give that much of a toss about whether anyone does well, they put more emphasis on getting students to go off and do it all on their own. This is of course better preparation for university but some people just need a bit more involvement. Staying at school for the sixth form where the teachers made more of an effort to help got me through mine. Is there any option of going to a sixth form in a school?

marriedinwhite Mon 29-Aug-11 07:54:24

Two thoughts really - funding for 2012/13 is presently linked to 16-18 enrolments this year and most FE colleges are facing enormous competition from schools and need desperately to keep the numbers up. There are likely to be many alternatives out there, possibly of a more vocational nature than straight A's, ie, BTEC etc., and this may be more suitable for ds. He is also likely to be received very positively and this may be the reception and support he needs.

Secondly, why did he leave school for 6th form college, was the transition a difficult one? Although many years ago, I remember some girls who did brilliantly at O'Level, just not settling to A'Levels even though they stayed at school. Is it worth having an upfront meeting with the 6th form college to find out what has really been going on and what they feel ds's strengths are so you can play to them.

Lastly, this might just have a been a one off year, changes, too many new people, girls, a few knocks, a bit of a learning curve and a bit of trouble growing up and meeting change in a new environment.

Good luck OP - it will probably all turn itself round once he realises he won't have education spoon fed to him any more.

SlackSally Mon 29-Aug-11 10:34:35

Picnicbasketcase, I find that midly offensive (I work in a college).

All of my colleagues and I care very much about our students and are very heavily involved in making sure the work is done and that they are achieving.

Our hands are tied to a certain extent because they have no obligation to be there, and also because we are inclusive and allow anyone to join the college (we have lots of courses below the level of A level for those that didn't achieve the requisite GCSEs).

We are Ofsteded just like schools, so even if interest in the students wasn't enough (which it definitely is) then we have great motivation in ensuring they achieve, attend and so on.

Unfortunately, some of the students, and a large minority of the parents, treat college like an optional activity to take up their spare time.

MigratingCoconuts Tue 30-Aug-11 09:05:23

I wouldalso suggest that he leaves and gets a job, earns some money and pays you a small rent (which you could secretlysave up for him for a future need?)

It sounds to me like he is on the great conveyor belt of education with no clues as to where he is going. It would be a huge surprise that he therefore has no motivation to suceed.

Get him in the real world, earning a bit of money for a year and then see what he wants to do. He could then go back to A levels (using the money you secretly saved?) once he has worked out his future.

I have one of these (now in my A2 class). He stacked shelves for a year after GCSE grades and has realised that is going nowhere....

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