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Starting A levels again?

(33 Posts)
IrianOfW Thu 20-Apr-17 13:58:23


I posted a thread recently called 'a a bit of a mess' about my DD struggling with A levels because of depression. She had now dropped out and although that is the best thing for her health, she doesn't want to give up on her plans for her future.

There seem to be two potential routes:

1. Do A levels again - she would keep two subjects and change the third.
2. Do a BTEC extended diploma.

She would prefer to do A levels again but is open to either course.

She hasn't spoken to her college yet - she needs a bit more time before that - but from what she has been told she 'can't' do A levels after 19. As I have found out that isn't true I guess it just means they won't be funded. Does anyone have experience of doing A levels independently, or via distance learning. And the costs of possibly redoing them in college?

She will get just under £3000 for her 18th birthday from an investment I set up for her - she is willing to use that to pay to her the qualifications she needs but we will also help her as best we can (which probably won't be much)

Any advice appreciated.

LIZS Thu 20-Apr-17 14:04:34

As long as she is still under 19 by September 1st of the year she starts her level 3/A level course it would be funded. What was she proposing to study and with a view to what afterwards, if she has thought that far ahead?

IrianOfW Thu 20-Apr-17 14:08:56

Thanks Liz

She was doing geography, biology and maths. She is planning to do geography, biology and A N Other as she was struggling with maths. Her plan was to do vet physio and she had two interviews lined up. Her long term goals haven't changed but she has accepted it's just going to take longer

IrianOfW Thu 20-Apr-17 14:09:30

She will be 19 next April

EvilTwins Thu 20-Apr-17 14:10:50

If she was still at school, would she be yr 12 or yr 13?

Gannet123 Thu 20-Apr-17 14:19:25

If she's still intending to apply for the same university courses, the first step should probably be to speak to the staff at the institutions she applied to to get their advice (Try to find details for an admissions tutor rather than an administrator). For a fairly vocational course, a BTEC may be fine for admission - I would ask them not only about admissions requirements but also about suitability as preparation for the programme - how many BTEC students are there on the programme and how well do they do. Often BTECs are accepted but the learning curve into university is greater than from A levels, which might put more pressure on her.
A levels will keep more doors open for her, but she also needs to check with them about the implications of restarting 2 subjects and whether they would have any issues with that (I would have thought not given the circs, but it's worth asking).

IrianOfW Thu 20-Apr-17 14:24:05

Thanks gannet - a Btec is acceptable according to their admission criteria but I take your point about the learning curve. I know she needs to get in touch with them but speaking to people on the phone is a huge source of anxiety atm - maybe she should email.

twin - I guess she would be in yr 13 now

LIZS Thu 20-Apr-17 14:33:54

Did she pass any AS levels?

IrianOfW Thu 20-Apr-17 14:37:33

Yes, she got a B and two As

EvilTwins Thu 20-Apr-17 14:39:52

If she would be in yr 13 now then you'd have to look at the funding for the second year of whatever course she decides to go for. 6th form courses are funded until the end of the academic year in which the student turns 19 but your DD would be older than that which means the school/college would not be eligible for funding for her - that might well impact on them being able to take her at all.

LIZS Thu 20-Apr-17 14:47:52

Do check that with the college, as I understood that you could still get 2 years more funding if not yet turned 19. If not an Advanced Learning Loan could be used for second year. Also would she be able to carry over any of the AS work ( as syllabus and structure has changed but some subjects/boards do still offer AS/A2. Geography is potentially one such.

IrianOfW Thu 20-Apr-17 14:56:45

That was my fear twin.

Liz - I think we need to go into the college with all these suggestions and speak to someone face to face. Too many unknowns.

thanks everyone. I think it's a question of taking the bull by the horns now. If DD isn't up to it we will have to do it for her.

Gannet123 Thu 20-Apr-17 17:03:09

In terms of how to get in touch, I tend to think emailing is always better than a phone call, particularly if you want to speak to an academic. Emails let you get everything down clearly to explain your situation, and you get a response in writing so you don't forget what you've been told. Emails are the standard way of communicating in universities, which means academics may not be prepared for long phone calls - there is nothing worse than picking the phone up 5 minutes before you have to be somewhere else, or before someone is due to come and see you, and hearing an applicant or potential applicant start on a long and rambling account of everything that's happening in their life, which you will have to unpick and analyze to get to the relevant points. It's much quicker to read an email.
Also, I suspect that anxiety around phone calls is higher amongst academics than in the general population - we're an introverted bunch - so your daughter is not alone!

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 20-Apr-17 17:32:49

You can do A levels as distance learning - e.g. - for their science subjects I think they run practical courses as well.

titchy Thu 20-Apr-17 19:55:06

All A levels starting this September are the new style end of second year exams - there are no more AS as half the overall grade now.

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 20-Apr-17 20:19:58

She wants to restart anyway, so that shouldn't be an issue.

bigbluebus Fri 21-Apr-17 20:22:50

Just wanted to give you an idea of fees for studying A level independently. My DS is currently studying History A level independently (long story as to why).He paid around £400 for the course material and access to an on-line tutor who is available for advice and marks essays. He then had to find and independent exam centre to enter for exams. Cost him around another £400 to enter the exams plus another £100 to get coursework marked. They then dropped in that in order for them to mark coursework, the exam board (Edexcel) required the student to have 10 hours tuition with a tutor fro the exam centre - presumably so they could check that the student had produced the work themselves - another bill for £400. Not to mention the fact that the exam centre is 1 1/2 hour drive away and all 3 of his exams start at 9.00am meaning he will need to book a hotel the night before each one as he will stand no chance of getting there in time in rush hour traffic and actually being awake enough to sit the exam He'd better bl**dy pass with a decent grade after all that.

catslife Mon 24-Apr-17 19:51:51

I would recommend "cashing in" the Maths and Geography AS levels that are the old format.
Is an Access course a possible option?
These are only 1 year courses and they are suitable for older students. Although they are usually aimed at 19+ year olds, some colleges may take slightly younger students.

IrianOfW Tue 25-Apr-17 13:54:55

Hi catslife, not sure what you mean by cashing in? We looked at access courses and they are horrifically expensive.

catslife Tue 25-Apr-17 15:27:10

Hi Irian For the modular subjects i.e. maths and Geography you need to make sure that your dd is withdrawn from the A2 exams and tell the college that you would like her AS results to be accepted as a stand alone qualification. That way the awarding body will be able to issue her with AS certificates which will contribute towards her UCAS points.
You also need to make sure that she is withdrawn from the linear exams (biology) so that she doesn't receive an unclassified grade for being absent.
i hope this makes sense.

IrianOfW Tue 25-Apr-17 15:31:24

Yes, it does makes sense. THankyou. I am waiting (still) for a call back from college. It seems like they don't want to talk to me....

catslife Tue 25-Apr-17 15:45:46

I think that's colleges for you irian it takes ages for my dds sixth form college to reply to emails and phone calls.
I would ask to speak to the exams officer (or department) who should be able to let you know what to do.

LIZS Tue 25-Apr-17 15:53:20

You really need to meet college support staff to discuss her options for next year, in particular which would be funded, possibly including access courses and level 3. Agree the AS should be used as standalone qualifications in the meantime, it might help her to realise she hasn't wasted that work.

IrianOfW Tue 25-Apr-17 16:45:54

I'm trying Lizs.... they appear to be a bit busy.

catslife - the chap I've been trying to get hold of is the A-levels administrator.

kdasani Wed 26-Apr-17 17:18:25

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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