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DD got disastrous AS results - any advice appreciated.

(24 Posts)
FTFOAFOSM Fri 19-Aug-16 18:38:19

DD cam home yesterday to tell us that she got DDU for her AS-results, and so the college have kicked her off the A2 course that she got a U in, but she can at least continue on the courses she got D's for.
Naturally, DH and I are devastated, as is she, as she was really enjoying the course she failed, and she's never failed an exam - GCSE's were all A*'s-C's. We've tried to be supportive but she moved her primary address to her dad's a couple of years ago, so we've been completely pushed out of all involvement with her education. When we've asked her if she has any homework to do, she's said she's either done it or is going to do it at her dad's, and as she only stays overnight every other weekend, there hasn't been a huge amount we've been able to do with her. I've said that I can email and meet her tutor to discuss her options, but the college won't now let her do another full A-level, she will only have a limited choice of an AS-level to do, and they have a waiting list for a lot of them, as primary choice is given to those starting.
She has admitted to me today that she just didn't put the work in, and is disappointed in herself. We knew she'd been struggling, but as the college don't do grades until this point, so we didn't know how bad it truly was.
I wouldn't blame the college either - it's one of the best in the country despite being a state college.
I've said to DD that she needs to think carefully about what's going to be the best thing for her to do now, rather than think ahead for a future she can't envision. There have been a lot of family problems for her this year, with two relatives in her dad's family being severely ill, moving, and problems with DS not wanting to come and see me and the family here (long story, and too long to go into here again). She's only just gone back to her dad's to tell him her results, so I said that I would wait for the go-ahead, but that I'm happy to talk to the college if she wants, but I'm quite aware that her dad as the primary residential parent may well want to do that.
She certainly needs to get some proper counselling but in academic terms
I think her choices are:
a) to take a year off, and work a job or a volunteering post, before going back to college to redo A-levels from scratch. (If that's possible).
b) to try and argue with the college that with mitigating circumstances she shouldn't get chucked off the course, but I don't think they will. (They chuck off F students as well, and I think they'll likely say they can't do for one student what they won't do for all.)
c) She goes back to college to do the 2 A2 courses and another AS, and we try and find a way of getting her enough points to get to university.

Is there anything else anyone can think of? I think asking for a re-sit or re-marking may not be possible, and if she says she just didn't do the work, then I'm not sure a re-mark will come back any differently. If there's anything I'm missing, please let me know.

Lou2711 Fri 19-Aug-16 18:49:49

I did similar. In my first year I totally messed up my as levels and knew I wouldn't get to a uni I wanted. I also realised over the year that I hated my subjects. So I decided to pull myself together and work (looking back still not hard enough!!) but in the end it worked out and I went to a Russell group uni to do a subject I loved. I really think this was the best route for me, but you should get her to realise what she wants out of this. All my friends did well and had the pick of what unis they wanted, which made me feel jealous and determined. But she needs to think if uni is actually what she wants so time out might be good for her!! It only gets harder once you get there!

FTFOAFOSM Fri 19-Aug-16 18:57:45

Thanks for the reply Lou - When you say you 'pulled yourself together and worked', did you stick with the A-level subjects you'd done at A1? Or did you change subjects?

Lou2711 Fri 19-Aug-16 19:06:14

I changed my subjects. If I'd stuck with the subjects I did at as-level, I would have not been able to do my uni course. It was really refreshing. I went from sciences to social sciences and absolutely loved it and found myself interested in what I was doing!
Also I'm not sure whether this still stands but after 19, going to college can occur fees. So if she takes a year out she might be made to pay for some of her alevels.
Hope you can help her through! There's a lot to think about for hersmile

MrsWooster Fri 19-Aug-16 19:33:08

I did exactly the same 100 years ago and it was a MASSIVE wake up call for me; I'd coasted through school til then. School let me carry on and I upped my game considerably and got great results. Can she go to the tutor and put cards on the table and beg for another chance to prove herself? I don't think you can resit in Nov for AS but it is worth checking if the AS element is standalone and / or if she can still managed to generate enough marks for any kind of decent pass even if she does superbly in the A2.

Or, could she resit Y12 altogether but at a school rather than college if fees are an Issue?
All is definitely not lost and it may well have done her good- it did me!

FTFOAFOSM Fri 19-Aug-16 21:38:13

She's just spent the year adjusting to commuting to a nearby city to go to a sixth form college, so I'm not sure she'd be happy to go back to school, with uniforms etc! The colleges nearer are all nowhere near as good as the one she's at, but there's a free school that is starting their A1 class this year, but I'd be wary about her starting at an untried and untested brand new school, but yes, it's an option she could consider.
I think it's slightly unfair that, from what I can gather, because of this one result, she'll be excluded from going to university, and I know her tutor is very supportive. I've suggested that she might resit the year12, as I think that might be the most relaxing for her, but I'm not confident the college will allow this. It seems, from the slip of paper she brought home, that she can do a singular AS-level, different from the one she's just done, and the only subject she'd be interested in doing I think would be as tough as the one she's just failed. I hope it does give her a kick up the bum, as she does evidently need one now. I want to be as supportive as possible, but it's really difficult when we've been so distanced from her by having a lot less contact. I think it spoke volumes that she came back here and told us on the day, and has been putting off telling her Dad, but it does also kind of prove that we had a point that her grades would suffer for being at her dad's (where she's allowed to do what she wants, when she wants, how she wants, with no real supervision or guidance in studying.) However I wouldn't dream of saying 'I told you so' as it would really serve no purpose now. I can't even bring myself to suggest that she comes back home so that we can support her fully, as it would be conveyed as pressure - and that's the last thing we want her to feel right now, with all the troubles we've had with DS stopping contact with us, claiming that I've pressured him to return home (which I didn't, but that's beside the by.) I've said that if she wants me to take the driving seat with liaising with the college I'm happy to do that, but have left it for her to talk to her Dad first, and let me know if she wants me to email them and set up a meeting. It just all seems very harsh, because she's lovely, kind, funny, sweet, eloquent, smart and capable, so to miss out on university because of one bad performance in an exam (where she had tonsillitis, but didn't go to the doctor, because she just gets on with it and shows up when ill or not) seems very unfair.

ThinkPinkStink Sat 20-Aug-16 08:34:37

I also did the same. My first set of A-Levels (Biology, Chemistry and French) I got D,D,U at the end of the first year. This was before As levels 'proper' so those marks count for literally nothing.

Like pp my biggest challenge was that I didn't struggle to get good GCSEs, so I'd never had to work -at all- hard for my grades. I was also taking A-Levels in the sixth form of the same school I had studied in until that point and wasn't particularly happy there.

I then moved to a local college for my second set of A-Levels (History, Law and Art) where I got: D, E, N (after the full two years).

Epic failure and though I had a great time and made lots of friends, it didn't really help in any academic way.

When I left I got an internship at an advertising agency (friend of a friend's dad worked there), it was the best thing I've ever done and I wish I'd done it sooner. I worked my way up, finally starting an advertising degree a couple of years later (at a good and respected arts university) I got a 2:1 and went back into agency life.

18 years later I'm director level - I've earned a good salary for the last 12 years, I'm so so happy in my job and thee years ago started my own company (which is scary but exciting and, so far, seems to be working).

I guess what I needed to hear at your DD's age is just that there are options, she needs to think about what she wants and needs from a job, picture where she wants to be in five years and then start working out how to get there. I remember feeling lost and hopeless at that stage and I WAIDH someone could have told me that it'd all be okay xx

ThinkPinkStink Sat 20-Aug-16 08:35:01

WAIDH = wish

sablepoot Sat 20-Aug-16 21:32:50

If she can bring herself to work very hard, then all isn't lost I'm sure. It might be worth considering if there are other places she could restart sixth form completely, but if not, if she completes the two full A levels she's allowed to and also does well at her AS, then I think some university courses would still be open to her, or maybe she could complete the third A2 in a gap year independently? Or, might her college let her do a 6unit BTEC (equivalent to one A level, and accepted as such by a good number of universities). She might take some inspiration from this story

alphabook Sat 20-Aug-16 21:42:24

I was also exactly the same. Did well in my GCSEs (all A* to C), completely ballsed up my AS levels. I just didn't put the work in. I retook some of my AS levels at a private college while continuing with my A Levels and ended up with BBC, which was enough to get me into my uni of choice. I would speak to the college to see if she can continue while doing retakes.

Nyborg Sat 20-Aug-16 21:46:54

There is bound to be someone here with much more direct knowledge, but my understanding is that there are much stricter limits than there used to be on funding, so you'll have to talk to the college about whether she would be eligible for funding for a further year whether with them or another college.

GeorgeTheThird Sat 20-Aug-16 21:47:35

It's not just the one grade that is stopping her from going to uni, it's the two other low grades that bode badly for the grades she is likely to get at the end of next year, which is why the college will be reluctant to let her continue.

Best to talk to the college about options if you can.

ImperialBlether Sat 20-Aug-16 21:53:37

I used to teach A levels. The problem is that an awful lot of students get worse results at A2, so if they got a C at AS they're likely to go down to a D or hold onto that C by the skin of their teeth. Also, students who get mainly C's at GCSE will tend to get mainly Ds and Es at A level. A grade C at GCSE is a scrape through, so they're likely to scrape through the A level, too.

It's very, very unlikely that your daughter will increase those D grades, because to get a C overall, she'll need a B at A2.

She doesn't sound like she has the right attitude to do A levels at the moment - what sort of career does she want? Does she just want to go to university for the sake of it (as that will be even harder, of course) or does she have a particular career in mind?

It doesn't look like it's working out at her dad's, does it? Would she consider moving back to you (and could you cope if she did?)

FTFOAFOSM Sun 21-Aug-16 09:36:06

Yes, I could cope fine, but it's such a touchy subject I daren't even raise that yet, in case she does what her younger brother did and stop all contact - it's a very long story, but essentially (and you will just have to take my word on this one, as it's been much discussed over the years, and this isn't really the thread to tackle that subject), their father has been systematically alienating them from me over the last decade that we've been separated.
Her grades at GCSE were A*s, A's, and a few B's and C's - not as great as we'd previously expected, but not atrocious. But her grades (as we told her when she decided to move to her dad's) have, step-by-step, declined, but the situation is so difficult that if I say anything to that effect, she will clam up and just stop talking altogether.
So DH and I haven't been angry, we've not said 'I told you so', and we've not blamed the move to her dad's. She's said it's down to her not working, but there has to have been some effect of all of the events that have been going on at her dad's house.
My sister-in-law who works in academia has said that her best bet is to see if she can do 2 AS-levels this year, progress them into full A-levels, and then she'll have a shot at a fairly good uni. Her heart has been set on uni, but I also think a dose of real life, a year working in a supermarket, might give her the kick up the bum she needs to go back and do it properly.

sashh Sun 21-Aug-16 18:37:07

Have you (and she) considered BTEC?

Also what makes this college so good? If it is great results that could be because they 'cull' after AS.

The problem with doing two new AS this year is that universities can be sniffy about people taking qualifications in different years.

Also be careful she doesn't scrape three lousy grade A Levels, as soon as she does that she has a 'full level 3 qualification' which means funding for her stops.

BertrandRussell Sun 21-Aug-16 18:41:49

What makes this college one of the best in the country?

FTFOAFOSM Mon 22-Aug-16 08:58:37

They have a very high pass rate, and have a very high percentage of students attaining entrance to Oxford and Cambridge (about 36/37 per year, which is high for a state college - undoubtedly part of this is because they 'cull' at AS level - I've downloaded their results sheet for this year, and in the subject she got a 'U' for, 20% of the year group also got U's - 16 of them. I think that's quite a high percentage to be failing, so if she does ask me to step in and liaise with the college I'll be raising that question. The other two subjects I think were examined internally, as there are no results on the table for it at AS-level, so the D's I think are just the marks she was getting at the end of the year.
Apparently her tutor is very supportive of her continuing, but unless she or her Dad explicitly say I can get involved in talking to the college, I'm probably going to have to let him deal with it. I'll probably write him an email this morning to suggest he takes a look at the table himself and ask to be involved, although communication has completely broken down since the court case about DS.
Dh and I think that's little we can do right now other than to be here as emotional support - the last thing I want to do is to wade in and make things worse for her, as her Dad will (as always) turn it into a confrontation about parenting skills.
Does anyone know where I can find more information about funding for A-levels? I've looked on the local college websites, and can't seem to find much. Thank you to all of you who have posted so far - it's helping me to stay calm!

LittleJuan Mon 22-Aug-16 20:47:12

If your daughter wants to go to university but cannot take another full A Level, could she not look at a degree with a foundation year, or perhaps a foundation degree first and then a top up? I did a foundation year and many of the students had similar grades to your daughter so were coming in with few A Levels or poor grades. After the year they continued on to their chosen degree course and were fine, some even switched to other universities to do their chosen degree there instead.

FTFOAFOSM Tue 23-Aug-16 08:00:20

Thanks LittleJuan, I hadn't considered that for her. She STILL hasn't told her Dad, but I'll talk to her about it when she next comes round.

gettingtherequickly Tue 23-Aug-16 08:10:47

How on earth can her dad not know that she's got her AS results, you'd have to be walking about blind to any media.
I messed up my first year at college, it wasn't the right learning environment for me. I started again at a sixth form and got all As. It meant no gap year (which most of my friends did), but it meant I got where I wanted.

noblegiraffe Tue 23-Aug-16 08:20:08

What was her AS?

If she got a U at AS, the most likely outcome is a U at A-level. It would be irresponsible of the college to allow her to continue with a course that she will most likely fail.

FTFOAFOSM Tue 23-Aug-16 08:27:00

Her subjects for this year were English Lit (D), Art (D) - think these were probably marked internally, as the subjects aren't on the table of AS subjects, and the external one was Philosophy (U).
In terms of her Dad not knowing, I completely agree, gettingtherequickly, I was nervous for her for weeks beforehand, and on complete tenterhooks the whole day before up to when she got back and told me.
I think it speaks volumes that all the assurance he gave when they decided to move over there, that he would support their education and help them keep their grades up, was in fact, complete bollocks.
She fb messaged me yesterday to say it had been her dad's first day back at work, so she was going to tell him today. We also think it shows just how scared she is of telling her dad, but again, this is not something we can particularly help her with. She's just going to have to bite the bullet and tell him.

eatyourveg Tue 23-Aug-16 16:31:45

Would she consider one of the colleges nearer home and doing an intensive one year A level alongside the other two? Which part of the country are you in?

Sadusername Tue 23-Aug-16 19:01:52

Was far as I am aware you can get sixth form funding for 3 years, so she could start again. I would look into BTECs too, depending on where and what she wants to study they offer enough UCAS points to get into university.

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