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Pulling out of A levels and repeating A2 year: any experience?

(14 Posts)
BirdintheWings Thu 30-Jan-14 11:06:09

Going round in circles with this on my son's behalf.

He has Asperger's, with a full-time support statement, so I might put this in both Sec Ed and SEN for advice.

He was originally predicted high A-level grades (three straight A*) and has four A at AS. He has university offers on that basis, but is currently struggling to work at all and has seemed on the edge of breakdown for months -- missing lessons and meals, way behind on project work and homework, crying, rocking, breaking things....

He's been diagnosed with moderate to severe depression, plus OCD. No help available for this till at least June, unless I can find (and fund) it privately, but I haven't yet found a practitioner who deals with teenagers, Aspergers and OCD simultaneously.

If he was at work, he'd have been signed off. But A-levels don't allow time for someone to vanish for a while and be depressed.

He says he can't just stop, because he would lose all the project work he has already done, and 'then he'd feel even worse'.

School don't think it's an option either, and aren't really willing to have the discussion. So are we just left with him battling on, getting low final grades and missing his uni offers (obviously not the be all and end all, just what he thinks he's aiming for at the moment)? Or is it in fact possible to take a break and re-start a second year of A level?

Does anyone know if work can be carried over rather than wasted?

lljkk Thu 30-Jan-14 12:45:06

Weird! Friend (local 6th form) was allowed to repeat AS year. I don't know all the details, but he ended up getting distinction & honours, got on the Uni course he wanted, etc. I think I would phone around to other colleges.

BirdintheWings Thu 30-Jan-14 12:52:20

Yes, they would have allowed him to repeat the AS year, and several of his friends are doing that, but they don't seem willing to let him restart the A2 year. Maybe I need to be more forceful , but I'm not sure if what I'm asking is feasible.

Not wanting to out him completely, but he's doing Product Design. Currently it's miles behind BUT already has a massive amount of work invested in it, including finding a mock 'client' from the industry itself and persuading them to critique his work. That's the part he doesn't want to go to waste.

Other local options are a bit thin on the ground. There is a different, massive and highly selective college -- not sure how interested they'd be in a student who had dropped out midway through his second year, but maybe the despairing feeling is rubbing off on me now!

lljkk Thu 30-Jan-14 12:57:03

Could you stamp your feet and tell them how things will be?

BirdintheWings Thu 30-Jan-14 13:30:19

Might have to! will probably burst into tears at them though as I'm a bit on the weepy side after months of this

Somehow I need to find out about the carrying-project-work-over thing, don't I?

hellsbells99 Thu 30-Jan-14 13:41:09

Could he cope with only doing Product Design this year and then redoing A2 year for the other 2 subjects? Would that be an option?

lljkk Thu 30-Jan-14 14:26:47

Waterworks are fine if it gets you what he needs. I think I'd be too cheesed off to go wet but tears can come out of nowhere.

crazymum53 Thu 30-Jan-14 14:47:11

Am not sure about Product Design, but I used to teach Science students retaking A levels at college. If they had completed the Science investigations, the marks could definitely be carried forward and the exam taken at a later date. If there is a medical reason for being unable to continue the course, it may be possible for the student to be assessed on incomplete work, but medical evidence will need to be sent to the exam board to support this. This would have to be done by the school, but it may be worth contacting the exam board and saying that your son is too ill to complete the course (or words to that effect) and see what they recommend.

BirdintheWings Thu 30-Jan-14 14:49:22

Thank you -- some good advice here.

creamteas Sat 01-Feb-14 09:56:54

My DCs school have previously allowed students to repeat year 12 or 13. Not just for health reasons either.

But the government has just massively cut the funding for 18+ students, so it could be that this could be part of the reluctance.

BirdintheWings Mon 03-Feb-14 13:55:15

Oh bugger. It's not going well so far. The other local sixth form won't take a student for just one year, or for a single subject, and their nearest equivalent A-level is a different syllabus anyway. Current sixth says they won't be running the course at all next year (though given he hasn't been to a single lesson this past term and they seem to be expecting him to cope with it, I fail to see that he could be much worse off).

I haven't yet contacted the exam board, so that's one to try, I suppose, but I'm not sure what I'll be asking them by now.

I feel like saying 'Sod the A-levels entirely', but that might not be in his best interests either.

TheBeautifulVisit Wed 05-Feb-14 09:04:29

Is he possibly stressed about the move from school to university?

I would tell him it would be fine to take a gap year after his A levels and to regather himself then and for now to just concentrate on getting the best grades he can. He can hold onto his firm and insurance offers for now and ask to be released after results, they may even agree to defer his place.

He's clearly a bright boy and will likely do well in any case. I wouldn't worry about repeating the year yet. My son's doing A2s this year and I've yet to see any sign of homework but he said his first exam is 100 days away.

Could you get a tutor to help him organise his outstanding coursework/ project so that particular anxiety is removed?

BirdintheWings Wed 05-Feb-14 11:42:49

Yes, he's worrying about that, but we have said we're happy to support him through a gap year (phrasing it as a 'life skills training year'!). The problem with the coursework is that it is very, very near the deadline, and requires physical manufacture (castings, mouldings, specifications to lab staff) of something he hasn't yet finished planning, because of the earlier delays. The others in his group are at the stage of polishing and photographing the final article.

I've contacted all the universities that have made him offers, and without exception they've been sympathetic, flexible and helpful. I just need to find some way of allowing him to submit this year's coursework a month or two late -- that would probably be all he needs to make up for lost time, and it's very frustrating that Computer (and that lovely Mr Gove) Says No.

MrsBright Wed 05-Feb-14 14:01:55

Friend (local 6th form) was allowed to repeat AS year. etc.

I think that one of the latest League Table 'rules' is about retakes or exams over three years not being counted? Anyone more certain about this?

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