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Friend has asked for advice on her DS's exam results

(33 Posts)
MaximiseProductivity Thu 13-Aug-15 21:32:04

I'm the only person in her circle who has any A-Levels, so I'm the one she asks for anything to do with school, but it was a long time ago....

Her DS has just finished his 2nd attempt and the 1st year of sixth form. He was originally taking 2 A-Levels and a BTec (equiv 2 A-Levels?) but struggled and dropped an A-level, still didn't pass the AS Level at the end of lower sixth, so repeated the year.

Just has the results for the end of his 2nd 1st year (IYSWIM!) and he's failed the AS level. In the Btec he's got merits or distinctions for 4 our of 5 modules, but a fail in one of them, which I'm told = fail overall.

He's had poor attendance at school due to anxiety, often friend can't get him out of bed until evening, then he stays up all night.

So, he has to decide what to do next. My "advice" would be to do something completely different for a year and see what he wants to do then. Maybe a year of NMW jobs will motivate him to actually work next time. Friend says he's still saying he wants to go to Uni so they will look at him either repeating school again (if the school allow it) or continuing the BTec at college. I don't think the BTec alone would get him on a degree course?

What would you advise? Where can they get proper advice? Personally I don't think they were best advised to let him repeat the year at school, he's been very unhappy seeing his year group progress without him.

FuzzyWizard Thu 13-Aug-15 21:39:16

That's really tough. My advice would be to get a job, even if at NMW, and spend the next year just working out what he wants to do. I don't see any sense in continuing to do the same thing over and over.

homebythesea Thu 13-Aug-15 21:49:02

There may well be funding issues preventing retaking yet again. He needs to get the message that perhaps A levels are not for him. Why the determination to go to Uni- to study what, and to what end?

RandomMess Thu 13-Aug-15 21:52:24

To fail in a module in his BTEC takes quite some doing IMHO.

He really needs to work for a while and gain the motivation to work at the things he doesn't like.

MaximiseProductivity Thu 13-Aug-15 21:54:12

Yes I've asked all those questions homebythesea, without any proper answer.

That's how I feel Fuzzy, but I fear the local college is going to advise him to do it again

MaximiseProductivity Thu 13-Aug-15 21:55:30

Yes, Random, I though that might be the case. The failed module is one where there was a lot of messing about and missed/extended deadlines because of the anxiety.

Essexgirlupnorth Thu 13-Aug-15 21:57:24

You can do access courses for degrees so A levels are not the be all and end all. Though does sound like he would be best taking some time off from education.
There is a good article on the guardian today about people who didn't get the a levels grades they needed and what they did instead.

Charis1 Thu 13-Aug-15 21:59:07

I would say return to school and continue with the Btec. He has no option of doing this later, it is now or never. If the school, or another one, will have him, he needs to get as many Btec units as possible, and get a qualification ( not all combinations of units lead to a qualification) yes he can go to uni with a Btec, normally one that is the equivalent of 3 A levels, but some courses will accept 2.

When you say failed the AS, do you mean actually got "U"?

headlesslambrini Thu 13-Aug-15 21:59:32

He needs independent careers advice. They will go through the full range of options with him.

guzzlewump Thu 13-Aug-15 22:04:23

If he does go back to school or college again, will it have any impact on his funding for uni or college later on?

I have no idea if it will or will not - but think it's definitely a question he needs to find out!

Charis1 Thu 13-Aug-15 22:13:28

no impact on funding for uni. However, he is only entitled to one more year of free education, and he isn't where he wants to be, so it is a no brainer to use that year, if the school accepts him, or if another school accepts him. There is no option to defer, or think about it, or take a break from education, or any of the things suggested on this thread. He has next year, then that is the end of his state education. He would be a fool not to take it.

EvilTwins Thu 13-Aug-15 22:27:53

BTECs have changed this year. It used to be nigh on impossible to fail a BTEC unit but now it's a lot tighter and if deadlines are missed there is no wriggle room. If the failed BTEC unit was one of the mandatory units for the course AND if he has already been given and missed the opportunity to re-submit, then it's perfectly possible he has failed overall. BTECs do get students into university.

What subjects was he doing?

MaximiseProductivity Thu 13-Aug-15 22:32:05

Maths A Level and BTec Engineering. Wants to do something with computers but IT (or something, forget the actual subject name) was the A Level he dropped

PUGaLUGS Thu 13-Aug-15 22:52:12

My son has just done a BTech. He is going to Uni.

EvilTwins Thu 13-Aug-15 22:53:28

It's a BTEC. Not a BTec and not a BTech.

Sorry, but it really gets on my nerves.

EvilTwins Thu 13-Aug-15 22:54:40

It stands for Business and Technology Education Council.

PUGaLUGS Thu 13-Aug-15 22:57:36

Sorry blush

ImperialBlether Thu 13-Aug-15 22:59:34

He doesn't need IT to do an IT degree.

I wonder about someone's anxiety that makes them stay in bed until lessons are over. Missing college would lead to more anxiety, I would have thought.

A degree (if he got onto one) would be more of the same, but much harder. It doesn't sound as though that's what he wants.

I'd persuade him to try to find any old job until next summer and then spend three months or so travelling. Throughout that year he may get an idea of what he wants - or more likely, what he doesn't want. I doubt if another year in school/college now would do much good at all.

ImperialBlether Thu 13-Aug-15 23:02:08

The thing is that a Merit or a Distinction in a BTEC (well, the one I taught on, which was IT) does not indicate the student is more academic, in the way an A* might. Certain assignments were Pass assignments, or Merit or Distinction. If they worked fast, they got through the Distinction assignments.

I think the A level results indicate he's not ready for university.

Charis1 Thu 13-Aug-15 23:05:42

The thing is that a Merit or a Distinction in a BTEC (well, the one I taught on, which was IT) does not indicate the student is more academic

How bizarre, the pass merit and distinction work is of a completely separate standard in every Btec I have ever taught.

noblegiraffe Thu 13-Aug-15 23:08:35

He doesn't need IT to do a computing degree, but he would probably need maths. Given that he has failed maths twice now, that's probably not the right direction for him.

A bigger issue is the anxiety preventing him going to school. Has he ever seen anyone about that?

EvilTwins Thu 13-Aug-15 23:12:58

They differ.

I teach BTEC Performing Arts, in which the marks come from the standard of work. Each separate assessment criterion cones in Pass, Merit or Distinction. So to get an M, a student has to get M1, M2, M3 and M4 in a given assignment. However, others, for example Health & Social Care, have different assessment criteria for different grades - so for a Pass, a student might need to complete 2 criteria to P standard but the to get M, they would need to complete a further 2. Not sure that makes sense, but they might achieve P1, P2, M3 & M4 in an assignment, where M is not actually an available mark for assessment criterion 1.

ImperialBlether Thu 13-Aug-15 23:33:19

Yes, EvilTwins, that's what I meant. An assignment might be P1, P2, P3, M2 and D2. They could complete just the P tasks or continue on to do the M or the D tasks. However, there wasn't a standard they had to meet in order to get the tasks, as there is in an A level. So in an A level they might write an essay and get graded from A to U.

Charis1 Fri 14-Aug-15 06:17:50

well, obviously, there is a different standard required for each level, roughly pass = E-D, merit D-C-B and Distinction B-A. The standards required for each level are totally different. getting a merit in a unit isn't equivalent to just completing more pass standard tasks, you need to pass all the pass standards tasks, and then all the merit standard tasks, and the merit standrd tasks are significantly harder. Then if you pass all those, you get the distinction level tasks taken into consideration, and they are often very difficult, detailed and involved indeed.

titchy Fri 14-Aug-15 08:08:42

It doesn't sound like he's ready for university. He'd just be missing university classes, and the loan entitlement is such that he really can't afford to fail - it will mean he's unable to access loans for the rest of his life (some exceptions - computing is one ironically....).

He needs to take time out of education, sort out the anxiety, and work for a year or two. If he's still determine to go to university he can get a loan for an Access course which he won't have to pay back as long as completes his degree.

But right now, studying doesn't seem the right path.

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