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Very disappointing but not unexpected - what to do?

(40 Posts)
mears Tue 10-Aug-04 17:13:38

Scottish System.

Well DS1 got his results this morning and passed 2 out of 4 exams. His commitment to school has been non-existant as he has more concentration for his guitar playing than anything else (has dreams of being a rock star).
His course work was below standard so he was not allowed to sit his higher chemistry. He had got a D for higher physics and computing. He has passed his Maths (Intermediate 2) but got a B, so he is not allowed to sit the higher course this year. Looks as though he has passed higher English but he needs confirmation of passing a unit that he sat post higher exam date.

So all-in-all, a very poor result. He is staying on for 6th year but is devastated today. I have tried not to say 'I told you so' but I did let that slip out. He is adamant that he does not ant to resit any subjects because he hated most of them. For 6th year he has selected subjects that interest him. He hasn't a clue what he wants to do in the future. I haven't a clue how to support him really. He is not daft - he was capable of doing these subjects but he just wouldn't put in the work.
I think he is really shocked and hopefully it will give him a kick up the a**e. He has had a difficult year with his best friend being treated for cancer. I am not sure if that has any bearing on it because his marks were on the decline before his friend became ill.
I am trying to be posistive and said that it is not the end of the world and that he will probably do better this year doing the subjects that he likes. He will get an appointment next week with the depute head to discuss his options. Feel so bad for him now. Feel bad about being a parent too. Should we have got him a tutor? Don't think so because his heart was not in it. School said not to waste the money!!!!

What to do..........

mears Tue 10-Aug-04 17:14:49

Rant over - come on folks - give me the success stories........

mears Tue 10-Aug-04 17:15:07

Will he have to stay at home forever?

hana Tue 10-Aug-04 17:20:00

with physics and math what about something in Architecture? Did he like art? Draughting, atchitecture....hmm...all those things need maths and physics. Sorry not really much of a help

Galaxy Tue 10-Aug-04 17:20:49

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mears Tue 10-Aug-04 17:23:02

The D 'passes' in Maths and Physics actually are a fail - should have made that clear

mears Tue 10-Aug-04 17:23:24

Sorry, computing not maths.

bundle Tue 10-Aug-04 17:26:05

mears, if he likes the music stuff, how about being a recording engineer, if he can make the science/engineering stuff work this time round? what subjects is he doing this year? how have his other friends done? poor you..

bran Tue 10-Aug-04 17:27:21

I don't think that this will be very helpful to you Mears, but I was a very lazy student at school and for my final 2 years I changed school and was a day-boarder, basically I was there from 9am-9.30pm and only went home to sleep. My grades improved because I had to sit in a classroom with a supervising teacher for 3 hrs every evening and boredom made me do the work.

The bad news is that I continued being quite lazy and doing the minimum up until my final year at uni when I actually studied hard for the first time ever because I was living with dh (then boyfriend) and he made me.

I have no idea what would make your ds study, but I suspect that only working towards a goal that he wants will make a difference.

kalex Tue 10-Aug-04 17:28:50


I was listening to Radio Scotland today, thinking OMIGOD, one day that will be me waiting 4 my kids results.

And if they are anything like me they will be dreadful - well not dreadful, but I scrapped by, and did no work, I dorve my mother up the wall, but I have a good job, nice home, and 2 wonderful children.

Yes, it's important, but believe me I have neer used my higher Latin again!!!!

You never know - he could be the next big thing in the popstar world.

But he may never move out

mears Tue 10-Aug-04 17:32:32

He is doing Higher music , modern studies and history. He will need to pick something else to replace the maths. Depends what subjects are in the right column to select from. He didn't do music before because it clashed with one of the other subjects that he failed.

mears Tue 10-Aug-04 17:35:26

His friends have all done much better than him. His friend who was ill only sat one exam and that was Higher music which he passed. We are all delighted for him. He was not fit to do the coursework for his other subjects, so in a way they are both returning to school in the same boat. After typing that line I have just realsied, what is important? Exams or your contest. Mears get a grip

tabitha Tue 10-Aug-04 17:43:01

hi mears,

no great ideas for what to do but lots of sympathy. My dd1 also got her results this morning and it looks like she is bucking the trend of girls doing well in their Highters
Out of the 5 she sat, she has failed Maths (and we paid for a Tutor for this) and Chemistry completely and got 2 Bs and a C for her other subject. Fair enough it's not awful - we had all thought she would do worse after her Prelim results - but after getting 7 As and 1 B in her Standard Grades, it's not very good either.
Unfortunately, between sitting her Standard Grades and her Highers, she discovered parties and drink... Like your ds she says that she studied subjects she wasn't really interested in. She has also, I think and hope, got a kick up a the a**e and will work harder in 6th year.
Don't beat yourself up about it and don't worry about whether you should have got him a tutor - we got dd one for Maths and she still failed miserbly) and don't be too hard on your ds either (I'm sure you won't). It really isn't the end of the world. Tons of people do much worse than him and still make huge successes of themselves. I'm sure he'll do much better in 6th year and with a bit of luck you'll be posting about his successes this time next year.

bundle Tue 10-Aug-04 17:46:04


would this inspire him?

ScummyMummy Tue 10-Aug-04 17:50:24

Hi Mears. Sympathies to you and your boy. It is such a horrible shock not to get the results you want, isn't it? I don't have any advice subjects wise or even short term but just wanted to say that lifelong learning is more than just a buzzword, IMO. I really am a great believer in people being ready to study at different points in their life and I am aware of research indicating that results at 16/17 are not necessarily good predictors of life/learning/career chances and, most importantly, happiness. I think you're absolutely right that this is not the end of the world by any means. He has plenty of time and family support on his side and sounds like an enterprising young man who will flourish once he finds his niche. Don't feel you're a bad parent- I don't believe that for a second. I think, au contraire, that this is a chance to show what a brilliant and supportive parent you are in all your glory. It's easy to be a good parent when children come home with a million highers at grade A- this is the sort of less obviously great but salvagable situation where your abundant support and love will make a huge and valuable difference to your son. Do your damndest to swallow your disappointment as soon as you can and reiterate what he knows anyway; namely, that you think he's a fabster who will go far. HTH.

enid Tue 10-Aug-04 17:59:58

mears - I really disappointed my parents (and myself) with my A level results but I ended up getting a good degree and have always had great jobs.

I think what SM has written is absolutely brilliant

Tiggiwinkle Tue 10-Aug-04 18:11:03

Hi Mears I fully sympathise and understand-I have a 15 year old DS who has just finished the first year of his GCSEs. Like your DS he is much keener on his guitar than doing his coursework and studying-I suspect his results next year will be pretty disappointing.
But he will not listen-typical 15 year old who "knows everything"!
He does actually have added problems in that he has dyspraxia and associated dyscalculia so Maths is really difficult for him. But he is very bright and should really be doing well in all the other subjects-if only he would do some work!

bran Tue 10-Aug-04 18:17:43

Fab posting SM, could you go back in time and tell my parents that please?

Mears, I didn't say that I did end up with a good job, and I'm very happy with my life, and to be honest if I could go back in time I would still choose having fun over studying harder.

suedonim Tue 10-Aug-04 18:21:22

Mears, I think your ds's experience is so common with boys (not that I'm sterotyping!!). Although not disasterous, our boys could certainly have done a lot better at that stage if they'd cared to pull their finger out. I think the frustration we, as parents, feel is almost the worst aspect, in some ways. We *know* they have the potential and it's so annoying when they seem to be throwing it all away. But all is not lost, I could quote you plenty of stories from my friends that would cheer you and ds up, but I'll just relate this one. A friend's ds went to uni with mediocre Highers, dropping out in second year. He eventually did a music/sound system course in Glasgow and is now with BBC R4 in London, producing and editing on shows with such people as Mark Lawson. Maybe your ds would be interested in that sort of thing?

Dd also had her results today, getting an A and three B's, plus a D for chemistry. We were very pleased but all she could focus on was that she only got a B for history when she'd expected an A. The A instead of a B in Modern Studies didn't seem adequate recompense. Kids, huh, they're never satisfied!!

biketastic Tue 10-Aug-04 19:01:15

my dh left school no exams, did guitar stuff, became despatch rider, photographer, cab driver. Then at 40 he did a degree in programming and now has a very nice job thankyou.
He was happy and still is happy....
not sure quite what the moral is, but with some people it takes time to know what you want out of life.
On the other hand I wanted to do the job I do since aged 8. It is vocational and I had to work hard to get into uni at first.
It has been a hard job, but I am glad I've done it....
It takes all sorts. Your son hopefully will have a bit of time to think and then maybe in a while come up a plan. All you can do is be his mate while he is trying.

bundle Tue 10-Aug-04 19:02:39

suedonim, well done to your dd!
(who's the R4 person btw? I work there too...)

kalex Tue 10-Aug-04 19:08:29

I live in Scotland, but did my schooling in South Africa, the results are at the school and you have to pick them up, I was so scared 'd failed ( the system is you sit 6 "highers" and have to pass them all to get a pass) So I sent my mum - saying if I've failed - don't come home - where exactly she was supposed to do I don't know.

Anyway she arrived at the school to a huge banner saying 100% pass ( private girls school - so that was expected)

She was so releived. I now feel really bad that I put her through my schooling.

mears Tue 10-Aug-04 23:10:06

Thanks for the link Bundle - he is reading it through as we speak (printed it off).

Thanks for the posts - excellent one ScummyMummy - I habe quickly got over the disappointment and am trying to be encouraging.

He may be 17 yrs but he is just a babe really - very scary time of your life making plans for the future when all you want to do is sit and strum a guitar and grow your hair long......

JanH Tue 10-Aug-04 23:36:28

mears, I can't offer any encouraging examples or useful information - we are currently waiting on DS1's GCSE results and I can't say I'm looking forward to those - but would just like to say that your DS sounds like a lovely lad and a good friend and that he has loads of time to decide what he would like to do and then study for it.

It makes me quite cross really, how they have to decide on their initial subject options at 14 (13 in some cases, ffs), instead of having time to spare to learn who they are and where they want to go...I bet he will do much better at school next year, but if he doesn't and decides academic study isn't for him just yet, it's not a huge loss - he can easily take some time out, work for a bit, save some money and travel maybe, grow up some more and then think about it.

Lots of luck to all of you.

JanZ Wed 11-Aug-04 09:08:58

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