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Disagreement between DS & Us on Sixth Form choice.

(17 Posts)
Ujjayi Sat 03-Sep-16 23:07:57

DS did relatively well in GCSE's & wants to attend Sixth Form at current school. DH & I believe another school is a better option. Whose decision is it at this stage? Do we need to step back & leave it up to him?

Reasons are:
DS wants to study BTEC Ext Dip in Performing Arts with A level Eng Lit. He has talent but lacks commitment (ie predicted D* for BTEC PA but achieved MM...Ditto GCSE Drama - predicted A* but achieved C). Lit grade was B. In addition, he attends ballet & singing classes but doesn't put in any additional practice, would rather play FIFA than watch a musical etc. Puts in minimal effort with coursework etc.

Alternative choice of school has offered him A levels in Drama & Theatre Studies, Govt & Politics, English Lit & Lang (combined A level). We feel this would be a stronger set of qualifications & still enable him to pursue PA (assuming he keeps up extra curricular classes) but also allow him the option of English and/or Drama at Uni which he has also expressed a strong interest in.

Pertinently, current school refused to accept diagnosis of ASD for DS in Year 10 & then stalled significantly in making provision for his needs, leaving us to pay for additional private support. Alternative school were on the case as soon as made aware & we have been given solid plans for support if he attends there.

DS refusing to engage or see our perspective & we are stuck not knowing how to resolve the situation.


neonrainbow Sat 03-Sep-16 23:11:59

His choice.

Bigfatnope Sat 03-Sep-16 23:13:41

Think unless he is going to try go to a very competative arts uni, then if he wants to pursue a career in PA they look more for experience and extra activities you've done as well as qualifications. Doing an arts degree myself, alot of people ive seen who have done very well are people who have very very commited and gone out of there way to do extra things and get involved. I would say it wouldnt make a huge difference in the long run where he does these studies, but would say to him if he really wants to do it as a career in future now is the time to be building his experience, do some volunteering with the running of shows etc and building a good portfolio of relevant experience. Good luck to him flowers

TheSecondOfHerName Sat 03-Sep-16 23:16:39

He is 16. I think he needs to take ownership of this, and your role is to support him once he has made his decision.

And I say that from the point of view of a parent of a 16 year old with additional needs who pushed me nearly to my limit this summer regarding his post-GCSE education options.

SueDunome Sat 03-Sep-16 23:21:48

You should let him make his own choice, sorry.

Bigfatnope Sat 03-Sep-16 23:22:33

Yes would add, you obviously are there to guide him and offer support but its ultimately his choice

t4nut Sat 03-Sep-16 23:22:52

He's old enough to make his own choices now.

dodobookends Sat 03-Sep-16 23:27:56

If he is interested in a career in the performing arts, then it might be worth you looking on - a forum for parents of young performers, where there is a lot of information and people might be able to advise on the best choice, and what his options are for future training. He will need to tailor his options to the requirements of where he would like to train in the future.

Most of the top performing arts training providers will look at your exam results and qualifications when you apply, but all of them will ultimately base their final decision on how you perform in the audition.

dodobookends Sat 03-Sep-16 23:37:39

Forgot to mention - if he wants to do Performing Arts/Musical Theatre then he needs to be taking jazz dance classes as well as ballet & singing, and possibly contemporary dance as well.

Ujjayi Sat 03-Sep-16 23:50:03

Thanks for the replies. You've all confirmed my gut feeling that ultimately it is his choice. However, I honestly believe he doesn't have a realistic expectation about succeeding in the arts at either a college or professional level - despite my best efforts (I was a dancer so know how competitive & driven you need to be, together with a "grab it with both hands" attitude towards any expereience - no matter how loosely related).

He has had a good deal of experience in school performances (school fortunate to have own theatre) & also was a member of local youth theatre. I just find it frustrating that he's so indifferent towards other opportunities outside of school within a field he claims to be passionate For example, I offer to take him to the theatre (or pay for him to go) offer to pay for NYT courses etc but he just shrugs & says no.

Sorry. Just ranting now blush

Ujjayi Sat 03-Sep-16 23:52:46

Dodobookends - Hurrah! I've been telling him that for 2 years but he wouldn't listen (what would I know...[thinks fondly of days of working towards equity card...]. I will be showing him your replies.

dodobookends Sun 04-Sep-16 00:27:11

Get him to look at the websites of some of the vocational colleges/schools and he will see what he is up against, and what he will have to do at auditions. The competition is really tough - hundreds and hundreds audition at every place, and they only take a few each year. You need to look into funding and the qualifications offered as well. Some are degree courses with student loans, others are NVQs and Level 5/6 Diplomas and may be funded by the DaDa (Dance & Drama Awards) scheme. Others are private institutions and you have to pay full fees although sometimes scholarships & bursaries are offered.

Most of them offer short courses and workshops, and sometimes audition insight days as well, and it would be useful if he could go to as many of these as he possibly can, to get a 'feel' of the places, and to also get an idea of the standard expected, and the level the other potential auditionees are working at.

If anything, drama courses are even harder to get into than MT/dance and he will definitely need a Plan B if things don't pan out.

Good luck!

noblegiraffe Sun 04-Sep-16 19:26:05

DS refusing to engage or see our perspective

If he has a diagnosis of ASD then he is going to struggle with this anyway. If you do end up getting him to take your preferred courses, then he may well end up failing them anyway because they aren't what he wants to do.

I think you have to accept it's his choice, but can you make an agreement that if his first year goes badly or he realises that he isn't going to make it in performing arts by the end of Y12, that he will reassess and possibly make a fresh start with new subjects?

bojorojo Sun 04-Sep-16 20:19:45

C at Drama at GCSE is pretty poor for someone considering Drama and Theatre A level (I am surprised they will let him do it) and Politics is quite hard as it is rarely studied at GCSE. My DDs both got A*s in Drama at GCSE and only dropped one mark in the acting component. If he is any good at English, he should have done well enough in the written part of the Drama exam to get better than a C. English courses at university are pretty competitive so I would think his idea is more realistic. If you push him into something, will resentment build up? I thought the best way to get into PA was via a stage school? Is this a possibility?

Crumbs1 Fri 09-Sep-16 22:53:31

I'm going to disagree and say he is, at 16' still a child and you remain his parents. It is not his choice alone - although he should be involved in shared decision. Performing arts is all very well but as you say unlikely and most end up as waiters. A wider breadth of qualifications is better base. I would discuss with current school about range of options and where they can lead. If he is ASD moving will be very stressful so probably best to stay but with best possible package.

tiggytape Sat 10-Sep-16 00:01:06

The "still a child" consideration may just about apply at the start of 6th form but it certainly won't apply for very long. Realistically a 16, 17 or 18 year old pushed into something they don't want to do is not going to end successfully.
This is especially the case for anyone who finds rapid transition difficult and who may or may not feel motivated about the subjects that their parents prefer.

It doesn't have to be a totally hand-off approach though. It is sensible to talk over all options, jointly research future opportunities with each set of qualifications etc and perhaps even strike a deal as noblegiraffe suggests.
But at 16, if he won't be persuaded, I don't think there's anyway you can (or even should) insist.

Crumbs1 Sat 10-Sep-16 12:01:39

I'm not suggesting pushing anywhere, I'm talking about parental responsibility to work with child to reach right decision. My youngest is off to uni tomorrow but was only 18 last week so remained a child throughout sixth form. Her uni choice, her subjects, her socialising are all something we maintained a good degree of control/involvement in all decisions. Our eldest is a doctor now but we still remained involved in decisions through uni - although less about control, we were funding the place and that came with certain strings/expectations. Too easy to say " It's up to them" and allow them to walk into misery and failure.

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