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Advice needed. Daughter may have to leave 6th form half way through A levels.

(16 Posts)
marthabear Fri 21-Mar-14 07:30:53

My 17 year old daughter is struggling in 6th form. She suffers from a degree of social anxiety, doesn't get anywhere near enough sleep and misses the school bus regularly. Her attendance is terrible but she may just do enough to get something out of her AS levels. But of course if this carries on she will not be allowed to go back after the summer into year 13 and will only have AS levels ( if she passes them). We have a meeting with the school next week and I want as much information as possible about my daughter's choices beforehand. I guess the school have no obligation to keep a student on who's attendance is so awful? And she is so demotivated that i'm not certain that carrying on in these conditions is beat anyway. Are AS levels worth anything in terms of college courses/ next steps? ( It would seem that uni will be out of the question.) Is there any way that the second year of A levels could be completed at home due to the anxiety, either by linking with his present school or some other way? ( She has a tutor.) Any ideas welcome.

creamteas Fri 21-Mar-14 08:48:40

I'm sorry to hear that you DD is struggling.

There is no legal obligation on the part of the school to let your daughter continue. Some schools are much better than others at allowing DC to make mistakes. At my DC's school, they do allow pupils to repeat year 12 (and year 13) if they look like the second time round they may succeed, whereas, but I know a lot of other schools don't.

If your school is reluctant, then you might be able to make a case under the Equalities Act if her social anxiety is ongoing as this would be counted as a disability.

But if she is struggling with A level work, switching to a college and taking a BTEC might be a viable alternative. Most universities accept BTECs, but but do check the 'size' as she will need one equivalent to 3 A levels for uni entry if this is all she is doing.

mary21 Fri 21-Mar-14 08:50:46

Inter high now offer A Levels but I believe its in he evening.
Would she be better in a different type of educational environment or is that not the problem. If she restarts a 2 year program in September she could get funding untill she is 19.

ExcuseTypos Fri 21-Mar-14 08:52:50

So sorry to hear of her problems. Is she getting help for he anxiety?

yegodsandlittlefishes Fri 21-Mar-14 09:05:52

What help has she got for her anxiety? Does she see a school/NHS counsellor? Don't expect her to deal with it on her own. Help her to recognise professional help is available.

What help have you both tried to help with sleep? Has she been to the GP?

What happens if she misses the bus? Do you take her or is there another/later town bus she could take? If not, what steps have you both put in place to ensure she is not rushing around last minute in a mad panic and actually wakes up well before she needs to on a normal school day? We have to do this in our family as then, if one of us oversleeps they have time to get ready and not miss bus/school/work etc.

AntoinetteCosway Fri 21-Mar-14 09:21:38

I'm a private tutor and have tutored lots of teenagers in that position, at both GCSE and A level, where I've basically been their sole teacher for that course because they're no longer at school/College. It can be a bit complicated in terms of exam entries etc but it's doable. The downside is that it's expensive, of course. I usually do 4 hours a week at A level in this kind of situation, so if she's got three subjects that would be 12 hours with tutors, plus of course a lot of independent work. That may be easier for her to cope with though than going into school?

yourlittlesecret Fri 21-Mar-14 13:26:02

The question is not just about her health but whether academically she is capable? Has she perhaps chosen the wrong path in doing A levels? Does she want to carry on or would she consider a complete change of direction? A vocational course maybe?
How supportive have the school been of her anxiety issues? If it's a high performing / selective school they are often very results orientated. My DS has anxiety and his sixth form college have been hugely supportive.

ChocolateWombat Fri 21-Mar-14 14:25:36

The thing to consider is whether there is a benefit In Continuing into the U6th.
Students who achieve poorly at AS tend to perform poorly at A2. Achieving below C or D grades at AS across the board, means success at A2 is unlikely. There is no benefit to anyone of your daughter carrying on if this is the position, as it is simply a waste of her time and demoralising to study something beyond you and which you will not succeed in.
If you can show effectively that this year there have been extenuating circumstances which will no longer be present into the U6th, the school will look at her situation more favourably. If nothing will have changed, it is is no ones interest to continue.

Another option is to start the AS year again. This is only worthwhile if her attendance and performance is likely to be significantly better. Alternatively, other courses may suit better than A levels, which are not right for everyone. Good attendance is necessary for all courses though, so if this is unlikely, it may well be that education is simply not right for her at the present time.

It is likely that the school will set requirements at AS for her to return at A2. These requirements may also be based on attendance between now and the summer. You will have to seriously consider if she is likely to meet these requirements. Personally, I wouldn't be arguing about whatever those requirements are. Schools know what is needed to succeed at the next stage. Allowing students to continue to the next harder level, if they have not achieved at the sufficient level in The stage before, is not a kindness.....it just sets them up to fail again.

Hope you have a useful meeting and a way forward is found that works for your daughter.

marthabear Fri 21-Mar-14 17:59:15

Thanks for the replies.

I believe that the A level work is in itself not a problem, although of course it is challenging for most people. It's more the anxiety, lack of motivation that needs to be addressed. As much as I try I can't seem to consistently encourage her to eat/ drink/sleep well which makes her feel terrible and the situation spirals. She has previously turned down counselling from both the school and NHS ( she had an episode similar to this about 18 months ago). My daughter does have a tutor once a week. We find it hard to afford this but I believe it may be the only thing that gets her through her upcoming exams. Her tutor is fantastic and my DD responds well to one on one.

Are AS levels worth anything academically or are they pretty worthless in themselves without carrying onto A2? Just trying to give my DD all the information to make her decisions.

furlinedsheepskinjacket Fri 21-Mar-14 18:03:39

I don't think as levels are worth anything as a standalone qualification although of course they show your dd completed a year at 6th form

Carmen10 Sat 22-Mar-14 01:44:56

Depending on how bad you think the situation is and what she wants to do, there's always the option of forgetting about A-levels for now and focusing on improving her health before going back into full-time education. Your daughter could reduce the amount of A-levels she's taking (though she'll need at least two, usually three). Alternatively, one-year Access to HE qualifications are accepted nearly everywhere for the majority of courses. I think the age they accept students at is 19+.

NearTheWindymill Sat 22-Mar-14 10:47:59

I'd be more worried about my dd's emotional stability and health than the A'Levels in your shoes OP.

Did she change schools for 6th form? Does she have friends? What happened when she was taking GCSE's - what were her grades? Did she want to go to 6th form or would she be better/happier doing something more vocational?

It seems there is a lot more to this than AS/A'Levels to me. Your poor dd.

mumslife Sat 22-Mar-14 22:36:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

brettgirl2 Sun 23-Mar-14 07:49:29

What about an apprenticeship?

sashh Sun 23-Mar-14 08:40:25

There are 2 things here.

Education and health. Education you can complete at any age.

If she leaves with AS levels there will still be funding for her because she has not got a 'full level 3' qualification so she is in quite a good position to take a gap year or 2 to concentrate on her health.

Merefin Sun 23-Mar-14 08:50:23

Poor both of you, it's so horrible to watch your child struggle.

A2/uni entrance is such a huge pressure even for DCs who are coping and doing well. And the peer pressure is awful too..watching everyone else making plans for uni or whatever whilst you can't even manage day to day. (I began with MH difficulties at exactly this age).

I've known 2 or 3 DCs in your DD's situation and def agree that health is first, by a long way. Your DD may well have depression...this is very treatable but takes time and space and rest.

Some time out and good medical treatment first, then possibly a volunteering role or part-time job, before going back to FT education later. All of these things will be looked on favourably by employers/uni, IMHO. It shows maturity, self awareness, problem-solving skills etc to step away from a situation that isn't working and find a new way forward.

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