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Please help. My DD doesn't want to start college...

(11 Posts)
KitKats28 Mon 05-Sep-16 20:31:59

My daughter is 16 and has done GCSEs. She did pretty well, better than expected, after working bloody hard in the last term before the exams. She got 2 Bs, 3 Cs and 2 Ds as well as a Merit 2 and a Pass 2 in her BTECs.

Initially (before the exams) she had decided to stay on at her school and do A-Levels. She had an interview and got accepted. Then she changed her mind and decided she wanted to go to the 6th form college in the next town, as they offered a much broader range of subjects. Again, she had an interview and was accepted.

She isn't especially academic, but she proved that hard work brings good results. She suffers terribly from anxiety to the point of throwing up when she is scared about something. It only takes one small thing to set her off. She has absolutely hated school for the past five years, to the point that I've literally had to force her to go.

We went for her induction day at the college today, and a lecturer said that they didn't really think her results were that great and she would struggle with A-Levels. Unfortunately I didn't hear this, as I had gone to track down her bus pass.

She went off to town with her friend for the rest of the day, and when she came home, I could see she was a strung out mess.

She burst into tears and sobbed for the best part of an hour. The upshot is, she can't face starting college. She wants to be able to, but she just can't. I suggested she goes back to school instead, but she says she realises that it is letting her fears get the better of her. Plus, she will still hate school so nothing will have changed.

I'm at a loss to know how to help. I want to take it all away and make it better for her, but I know it is unrealistic.

She has seen/is seeing the GP about her anxiety, but I'm not pushing her to talk about that, as I feel it's private. I know she isn't on any medication though.

What can I do, practically? Would trying to get a referral to CAMHS/educational psychologist help? Can she do her A-levels at home online?

Thank you if you've read this far. I just really need some help.

TeenAndTween Mon 05-Sep-16 20:41:27

To be blunt, my research leads me to believe she would struggle with A levels with those grades.

I would strongly urge you to look at level 3 BTECs (or even Level 2) or Apprenticeships. We have a BTEC Support Thread running which could give you some information.

What A levels was she wanting to do? What interests her? You might be able to get some ideas as to suitable BTECs.

(My DD worked very hard for GCSEs and got 5Bs and 3Cs, she is a year in to college now. No way would she have coped with her preferred A level subjects).

TeenAndTween Mon 05-Sep-16 20:43:12

Oh, and doing BTECs doesn't rule out university entirely.

MrsSellors Mon 05-Sep-16 20:43:43

I had a similar experience after A levels faced with uni (just for ease for the rest of my reply i will refer to it as panic if thats ok as thats how it felt to me)

So shes panicking about going to do these A levels could she look at colleges with btecs and nvqs instead? Or even an apprenticeship.

The other option is if she can get past the panic to at least do the first few days/weeks of A level then she will either relax a bit and settle into the rhythm and if not and she ends up dropping out its not the end of the world (would that re assurance make it manageable enough to have a go?)

I personally wouldn't recommend a home learning approach for A levels if she isn't very academic and has anxiety as you don't get as much support as you would at a college or 6th form

In regards to pushing on the anxiety info i would only push on things that would really help you to guide her on her decisions and talk to her about if she wants a referral or not, if she doesn't want to talk you can't make her as long as she knows she can talk if she wants

At the end of it all she could always do A levels in the future if its too much for her at this stage or if she tries other options and then regrets it. Its not a final decision smile

titchy Mon 05-Sep-16 20:44:17

She sounds an ideal candidate for a BTEC. Continuous assessment so no final exam, continuous feedback. Various subjects. I agree about with her about A levels by the way - she isn't academic enough, sorry. Does college offer BTECs?

LIZS Mon 05-Sep-16 20:51:10

What was she hoping to do and what subjects did she take at gcse? It would be difficult to successfully progress to A level from a c or even b at gcse. btec level 3 might be a better option.

cricketballs Mon 05-Sep-16 20:58:25

titchy and others who are not aware BTEC course have now changed, there are now exams/externally assessed units for the specs starting this year.

Level 3 Business has a very difficult exam based on personal and business finance that is a double weighted unit for the AS equivalent qualification

KitKats28 Mon 05-Sep-16 21:12:51

Yes she did 2 BTECs with her GCSEs. I did think that a BTEC level 3 would be more suitable, but then I heard that they were changing how they were assessed.

I did a BTEC Nat Dip in Business and Finance instead of A-levels and I loved it, but she won't even entertain the idea. I agree that she may struggle with the A-levels, but I thought it was a bit mean of the lecturer to point it out so bluntly, especially when they knew what her grades were going to be when they interviewed and accepted her.

I don't want to make her out to be a spoiled brat, because she really isn't. She's just a scared little girl. She has agreed (tentatively) to go in tomorrow. Her dad has said he will meet her at lunchtime and take her for a coffee if she wants to go. I'm just fairly sure she won't go back on Wednesday!

TeenAndTween Mon 05-Sep-16 21:51:48

I think blunt talking now, giving you and your DD the chance to think what would suit her best, is preferable to struggling on until November and it then being too late to swap courses.

Presumably the new style BTECs aren't all exam cricket and still have chunks of assignments?

I think you should dig around and see if you can find a short list of possible BTECs at reachable colleges, and then maybe you and she could contact them.

Did she get her Eng Lang and her Maths or will she be needing to retake one of them?

cricketballs Tue 06-Sep-16 02:09:52

Tween - externally assessed units are subject and weighting dependant.

lacebell10 Tue 06-Sep-16 07:13:02

It's a case of what does she want to do afterwards as a career ? A levels may not be the best and uni might not help or she needs to work out how to get there by another route.

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