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Is there a support thread for parents of struggling year 12s?

(58 Posts)
Freddorika Thu 09-Feb-17 10:00:37

Hi. Dd is struggling with A levels and it would be lovely to hear from other parents with teens that are finding it difficult too!

She's doing biology, history and RE. Regretting choosing such weighty choices! Is predicted Cs but got a U for biology in recent mock test and an E in history.

She's a lovely girl but admitted yesterday she's working hard but feeling hugely out of her depth. Even the conversation is above her she says! 'Everyone' makes intelligent, articulate conversation and she feels stupid sad

Anyone else?

catslife Thu 09-Feb-17 10:38:15

The Y12 support thread is in further education. Link is here www.mumsnet.com/Talk/further_education/2759873-Year-12-first-half-term-DONE

Draylon Thu 09-Feb-17 13:17:57

Fred-

My DS dropped out of A levels at sixth form after his AS's; he started with Maths, Physics, Geog and Economics. By 6 weeks in he'd dropped Maths to Use of Maths; at Easter he dropped Physics altogether.

He got D for Geog, E for Economics and U for Use of Maths...

He's now much happier doing a two year, 3 A level equivalent 'Level 3 Extended Diploma' in Computing at a Tech.

Could a similar change of direction help your DD?

TheSecondOfHerName Thu 09-Feb-17 19:43:43

I'm also on the general support thread. A lot of the current discussion is about UCAS and university applications, whereas I'm focused on getting DS1 through Y12!

So far:
- By mid-October in Y12 he was really struggling with two of his subjects so swapped to two different ones at half term. School was accommodating and helpful.
- Then in December he decided he didn't like either of the new subjects and asked to swap back. School (unsurprisingly) said this wouldn't be possible and he nearly dropped out completely.
- He is now on more of an even keel, currently working at CCD level. Mocks in three weeks, so we shall see.

Draylon Thu 09-Feb-17 21:45:28

Second - we had to go off piste for DS, so the 'regular' boards didn't help that much!

knittingwithnettles Thu 09-Feb-17 21:45:32

Me, ds1 keeps changing which A levels he likes..and the Drama teacher has suddenly told us he isn't any good at Drama shock Drama was the one thing he seemed to quite like, but he evidently didn't do the right work/research.

Music and English he is just about managing. He received a U in Business and dropped that.

He keeps saying life would be more fun if he could just watch telly all day. I feel this is a cry for help? irony Seriously veer between thinking he is just about managing everything and thinking he cannot manage anything. He is not very sociable but enjoys seeing people in college. No-one outside.

A Btech doesn't feel right for him either. I think he just needs to start Year 12 again next year when he is older and more focused.

knittingwithnettles Thu 09-Feb-17 21:51:19

I actually feel reallly cross with the Drama teacher. No communication. B grade for an essay, then suddenly, oh he is not really understanding what is required on this course, this is A level. I know it is A level you patronising person

What I hate hate are teachers who treat your children like responsible adults and don't communicate with you, and suddenly turn around and say...oh such and such isn't a responsible adult. I know, why not communicate this to me a bit earlier.

Ds is taking A levels over two different campuses, and the second campus is not familiar, and I do not know this teacher at all. Which makes things worse. She didn't tell us what the issues were until he was really behind in the coursework.

Trying to sort this all out before half term is going to be hard, and then half term will be spent grinding our teeth not quite knowing what we say to ds, what to tell him to work on, what the party line is. He seems quite chipper really, I think he wants to give up Drama, to him it is a relief to be let off the hook.

crunched Thu 09-Feb-17 21:55:34

DD in year 12, not sure she is finding it difficult, she is just generally far more interested in keeping her Snapchat chains (if that is what they are called) and other things to do with her social life looking good from the outside...
So frustrating that you can't get them to understand doors are slamming if they don't focus ...
And the main board is full of Oxbridge interview techniques etc. so just makes me sad because she could be a star
and it must be my fault.

knittingwithnettles Thu 09-Feb-17 22:07:57

I think some children are late developers crunched
We are so geared up to thinking we need to tell them this is their chance andt hey are going to blow it, that we forget they will have quite a few years of chances. For a start, I think social life IS important. Certainly ds doesn't have one and I wish he did, I think it would open lots of doors for him to go out and see more people and learn stuff from his peers. So your dd is not really wasting time there.

I focus a lot on ds more lovely qualities. He can be so merry and funny, and he still loves to go to films with his Dad. It will be sad when he is so wise and sensible that he has a job/goes to uni and leaves home, I don't know why I am wishing this life to pass so quickly, when 16 is a rather special stage for all its faults untidiness, sloppiness, laziness

knittingwithnettles Thu 09-Feb-17 22:10:54

All I know is, no way am I encouraging ds to do UCAS in Year 13. I don't think I could take the strain, whereas if he concentrates on A levels that year and applies in a gap year he will be properly ready for uni/college/further training

Iamastonished Thu 09-Feb-17 22:18:58

Can I join as well. DD and her friends are all feeling the strain. Life for them is just so joyless at the moment. DD is managing to keep her head above water, but she is just so tired all the time. She gets hours and hours of homework and only manages to see her boyfriend once a week outside of school.

At her age I had a Saturday job, but with all the homework for 4 A levels she would have no down time at all, and I think she needs at least one day a week off.

TheSecondOfHerName Fri 10-Feb-17 08:38:12

she is just generally far more interested in keeping her Snapchat chains (if that is what they are called) and other things to do with her social life looking good from the outside...

Ah yes, the Snapchat streaks. Unfortunately they don't lead to a recognised qualification, despite the effort DS1 puts into his.

TheSecondOfHerName Fri 10-Feb-17 08:41:46

All I know is, no way am I encouraging ds to do UCAS in Year 13. I don't think I could take the strain, whereas if he concentrates on A levels that year and applies in a gap year he will be properly ready for uni/college/further training

I'm thinking the same about DS1. In some ways he is quite mature, but not in his studies. I'm not sure he feels ready to be thinking about higher education yet. Plus he has absolutely no idea what he would study.

TheSecondOfHerName Fri 10-Feb-17 08:44:16

I cannot fault the school's communication though. They realised he was struggling after only four or five weeks of Y12, and they have been in regular contact since then.

BackforGood Fri 10-Feb-17 08:50:15

My dd is in Yr 13 now, but has struggled hugely with A-levels after 'walking' through Yrs up to 11, incl her GCSEs - all good grades, without ever learning to work or what it feels like to not 'get' something straight away. She too felt she was the only one. When I went in to see the Head of 6th form just before Christmas in Yr12, turns out - despite dd's perception - the HoY reckoned 75% of those doing physics were really struggling.
Reassure your dd she is no alone.
Also, tell her that if she will let them, the staff will help her. I think that was dd's main problem in Yr 12 - the fact she was all calm in lessons, and was able to contribute the odd fact, the teachers had not grasped how much she was struggling. Sadly it took her to AS failure and the start of Yr 13 to agree to accept some help.

Freddorika Fri 10-Feb-17 10:33:52

I'm sorry to hear that some of our children are struggling but strangely reassured! The main board just makes me feel a bit miserable, especially when posters refer to 'former polytechnics' instead of calling them university!

We finally have a report from learning support and dd has slow processing speed. So, extra time in exams and a bit of reassurance that she is not completely stupid!
Draylon I am so happy that your ds is enjoying his course. Yes, we have considered that as an option. If she manages Cs at AS level we'll probably crack on. Or Ds actually.

knitting it's infuriating when you think everything is going OK and then you get knocked back. This happened to dd with gcses. Working at A grade level throughout year 10, then got B Cs in mocks and school just said oh yes she's a B C student. Thanks! Not helpful.

Backforgood our HOY has also been great. Dd is similar, very calm and masks the fact she is struggling. She was reassured that her friend (who is apparently applying to oxbridge) got 27% in his chemistry exam!!

Dd has been doing a leadership course and doing really well, in fact she's hosting the welcome day for the new 6th form intake today! She looked really pretty and confident going in today. She's very resilient, wish that was an A level confused

knittingwithnettles Fri 10-Feb-17 20:44:53

Ds went in to school in a good mood, strangely happy that some of his fellow students in the group emailed him to say they thought he should stay on the course and that they would miss him.

However, then we got a very curt letter from the teacher saying that ds was not attending today and so it was clear that it was his decision to leave the course..aargh. Crossed wires or not. Unfortunately today I was at a funeral and it was the last day before half term so was unable to sort it out. I think he is well out of the course though; her reaction is not very encouraging, she obviously finds him a mediocre student or she would have tried harder to reassure me when I suggested getting him extra help/private tuition, instead she basically said there was not much chance of him improving his grade at the present rate of progress. I think his performance affects those of the other students which may have coloured her response, I do see that. But a week ago, she didn't suggest this. What happened? To misunderstand her so completely I must either be a complete idiot (which is possible) or she was quite passive aggressive in her tone, implying stuff that she claimed later she never said directly.

Enough of that, just pressing on. Hope ds just gets through the year and makes some acquaintances friends, learns how to concentrate. He will certainly have learnt something by the end of it, even if none of it leads to a decent grade. I am seeing this year as a experimental year and that he could possibly start again next year and do Year 12 over again.

When you go to a funeral it puts things in perspective, you begin to see that people's lives can be full of false starts.

knittingwithnettles Fri 10-Feb-17 20:48:53

Ds has dyspraxia, and very low processing speed, but refused to have extra time in the last exams. I don't know how to bring the subject again with him, he hates the thought of even going into the SEN testing room and being "labelled". Again school mishandled this last year, I went along with it, to see what ds could achieve by himself. Maybe now he will see it affects everything and he can come to terms with ways to live with his dyspraxia rather than just denying he is affected.

knittingwithnettles Tue 14-Feb-17 09:09:43

Ds has a tutor for two subjects now. Incredibly expensive but it is making an enormous amount of difference to his engagement and motivation. They are both fresh out of uni - I think the fact that these cool sporty young people are interested in the subjects makes him think there is a point to doing A levels in the first place.

Ds has started composing for his Music A level. I'm wondering when he is going to start reading for pleasure. He has started playing classical music for pleasure, tiny baby step. But if you ask him about dystopian fiction he is just is ....bleugh... The spark is just not there at the moment.

TheSecondOfHerName Tue 14-Feb-17 09:25:13

knitting DS1 also has dyspraxia and minimal working memory. He doesn't qualify for any exam adjustments and probably wouldn't accept them anyway (doesn't like being singled out and hates going to the Learning Support Department for his 1:1 sessions).

He did the dystopian literature unit last term. He eventually managed to read the whole of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the first few pages of The Handmaid's Tale and the first few pages of The Road. During the Christmas holidays I sat down with him and watched a load of dystopian films, in the hope that this might help.

TeenAndTween Tue 14-Feb-17 10:36:47

knitting Is there no way you can sell the label and extra time to your DS as a way for him to be able to show what he can do, on a more level playing field? My DD1 has dyspraxia and the extra time at GCSEs made all the difference. When we finally got the 'label' in y11 it also helped teachers be more understanding and helpful with her.

Mary21 Tue 14-Feb-17 10:59:31

Both Ds have extra time and use laptops for exams. Ds2 has found that lots of others have the extra time, so much so it's almost the norm. Not quite but certainly not unusual. It also has the added benefit of being able to do the exams in a different room so without the distractions of the big hall.

BertPuttocks Thu 16-Feb-17 11:26:36

This is definitely the thread for me.

DS has ASD and is struggling through this year. The main issues are group-work (a nightmare when you have difficulties with social skills) and understanding that he needs to put in more work at home.

He's happy to do work that he's been set but is away with the fairies when it comes to any kind of independent study. His school have been pretty good at giving him a nudge in the right direction, but he's always been extremely passive and it's hard to get him motivated to work at home. confused

Fourmantent Thu 16-Feb-17 17:35:25

This is the thread for me too. DS has dyslexia and gets laptop and extra time. He was 50:50 school vs college and even enrolled at college but then decided on school at the last minute. I think he's suited to something in-between. He's enjoying sixth form and likes learning, he is doing Gold DofE AND business enterprise. BUT he is doing no independent study and as little homework as possible. I've never seen him do anything at home at all. He's made no effort to find work experience. I've no idea if he's doing what he is meant to be doing regarding the DofE but I suspect not. He has no clue what he wants to do at the end of it. He spends every spare minute gaming. Predicted grades are C, C, D and he got a U in recent Drama mock. I nagged and pushed and bribed and dragged him through his GCSEs and I am now trying to take a step back in the desperate hope that he will change his ways.

knittingwithnettles Thu 16-Feb-17 19:13:20

Fourmantent. My ds got an E in his Drama assessment smile [sigh] Am I right in thinking that the drama teacher had no right to kick him off the course at this point in the A level, just for getting an E? Do you know why your ds got a U? was it the coursework bit..ds really failed to understand he was meant to be underpinning the devised piece with serious research, and a day by day account of how the devising was working.

Steeling myself for the Monday discussion with two schools, and sort this mess out. Atm all is calm, ds is so much happier after 4 days away from school, it is horrifying how stressed he was last Saturday, now he is really affable again.

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