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Post GCSE choices for the non academic child

(53 Posts)
jo1166 Mon 23-Jul-18 14:09:56

My son's school ( he is going into Yr 11 in September) has told us that he will not be accepted into their sixth form for A Levels. He may scrape through with half a dozen GCSEs at Grade 4 or 5 , if he's lucky he might get a 6 or 7 in Drama or Geography and he is dyscalculic so won't get Maths, he works hard but is not an academic; the school require students to have at least a 7 to be able to study for A Level. The problem is he has always seen himself going on into 6th form with his peers and it's a shock. He is a gifted actor, a member of the NYT, and he is good at sport. To be honest the academic slog of A Levels probably doesn''t suit him but what other choices are there out there?

OP’s posts: |
Soursprout Mon 23-Jul-18 14:16:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TeenTimesTwo Mon 23-Jul-18 15:40:03

Vocational courses, such as BTECs or an Apprenticeship.

Vocational courses can be at Level 3 (A level 'equivalent').
But if GCSEs aren't quite high enough they can be at Level 2 whilst retaking Maths & English.

There are Drama BTECs and also Sport ones and all sorts of other things. Extended Diplomas are the 'equivalent' of 3 A levels and if you do well enough (e.g. Distinction-Distinction-Merit) they can be enough for a related course at University.

Apprenticeships can either be all work based with time for study, or more likely day release to college. With an apprenticeship they get paid (~£4/hr) but you lose child benefit. Depending on where you live, there is of course an issue of travel to work. Apprenticeships are all year round - so no long holidays.

(DD did a BTEC at college, and is now doing an unrelated Apprenticeship).

TeenTimesTwo Mon 23-Jul-18 15:42:26

Forgot to say, Apprenticeships lead to a qualification. But check whether the 'qualification' is needed/useful.

jo1166 Mon 23-Jul-18 16:13:57

Thanks, there are a couple of sixth form colleges and an art college locally that does performing arts. Hopefully he will be happy to do something he enjoys and is good at ( along with re-taking the Maths).

OP’s posts: |
TeenTimesTwo Mon 23-Jul-18 16:21:32

There will probably be open evenings towards the start of next term, make sure you don't miss them!
Better to do a BTEC and succeed, than A levels because it is the 'done thing', and struggle/fail.

user1471450935 Mon 23-Jul-18 17:02:21

Just to add, your Ds could even start on a first diploma or Btec level 1 course, or our local Fe colleges and universities do facilitating courses which are set up to allow every one who passes the chance to go on to further courses or degrees.

Please don't forget Dc now have to stay in Education, Training until 18, unless they can find a full time job. Also they have to continue to sit Maths and English until 18 to get a level 4 or 5. So in our area there are 2 sixth colleges, 2 Fe colleges and numerous work base schemes. Like one in Garage services, our 2 local theatres take on apprenticeships, and some access North perform arts courses.

Our Ds is going into tear 11, and is stuck on 2+ for maths and English, no major SEN, just can't cope with exams and the course work. But he is brilliant with kids, work experience in local school. So we are looking at nursery and early childcare options.

I lurk and avoid must mumsnet education threads, Ds1 going to non RG uni, on unconditional offer, low grades, and Ds2 is just not academic, here makes me feel my kids are total and utter failures and freaks, and we as parents are useless. I thankfully know from our RL, they are like 100s of their friends, luckily.

GOOD luck to your Ds

TeenTimesTwo Mon 23-Jul-18 17:08:32

I ran a 'BTEC' thread while DD was doing hers, but there weren't that many takers!
I will need something similar in 3 years when DD2 leaves as she won't be doing A levels either.

It is great OP that school have made things clear now rather than in 6 months, as you all have your time to think about better options for your DS.

MarchingFrogs Mon 23-Jul-18 18:20:29

Ds1 going to non RG uni, on unconditional offer, low grades, and Ds2 is just not academic, here makes me feel my kids are total and utter failures and freaks, and we as parents are useless. I thankfully know from our RL, they are like 100s of their friends, luckily.

They're not - and you're not. Well, they might be and you might be, for all I know, but not on the grounds of their academic abilities and aspirations and your views on thesesmile.

Back in the Dark Ages (pre 1944 Education Act, anyway), my 'County Scholarship' mum's best friend at grammar school was a non-scholarship girl whose sole ambition was to work on the till at Woolworths. She may have been the local branch's poshest and best educated till operator- but she was also one of its happiest. The world needs happy till operators just as it needs happy investment bankers.

Ducks back down below parapet...

EvilTwins Mon 23-Jul-18 20:45:43

If he wants to act, get him to look at BTEC Performing Arts courses. Where in the country are you? Some are amazing, some are a bit mediocre. Something like this is good for keen performers. Courses like this ask for 5+ GCSEs at grade 4+ and all 16-19 courses have to offer students resits in Maths/English if they didn't get the Grade 4 in Year 11.

LooseAtTheSeams Tue 24-Jul-18 10:08:21

MN threads can be very unrepresentative! I'm particularly depressed by the ones where they don't seem to understand the value of vocational non-RG degrees. Anyway, I teach English in a Further Education college ranging from entry level to GCSE to Access to Higher Education. A lot of the college's students do diplomas in fashion design, interior design, fine art, music, childcare, digital design etc etc. They are really interesting people, many go on to vocational degree courses and do very well. The retakes for English and maths are completely free if anyone needs them.
I can't advise on acting as we don't offer it (although one of my students is doing it at another college) but I would agree the BTEC performing arts would be a good qualification.

jo1166 Thu 26-Jul-18 21:24:15

What really annoys me is the obsession with Maths GCSE when a child has really no hope of passing it. I realise that now we have a system where you are penalised to the extent that essentially anyone incapable of passing either Maths or English is denied entry to any profession however irrelevant to the subjects. But DS has been diagnosed with dyscalculia, I cannot emphasise how much help and support he has been given from a very young age when his difficulties were identified and despite having extra private tuition and endless hard work on his part he is now predicted a 2. He has a disability in this area, and yet he is still tortured with continuing to do this subject until he is 18, an exercise which only guarantees reinforcing his low self esteem. This seems to me discriminatory in that concentration on this subject which he is bound to fail meant that he had to drop one GCSE (Art) which he would probably have got a reasonable grade in so that he could have yet more extra Maths. I know numeracy is important but even in the foundation level Maths there is so much concentration on algebra, geometry and other conceptual matters which a child like him has no hope of passing, he might have a chance if it concentrated on pure numeracy but even then he struggles.

OP’s posts: |
TeenTimesTwo Thu 26-Jul-18 21:47:36

I think (someone will correct me I'm sure), that if he only gets a 2 he can switch to 'functional skills' maths at college rather than trying again for the GCSE. It is still hard but is more practical so it might suit him better.

EvilTwins Thu 26-Jul-18 21:59:45

Teen is correct - functional skills can be done instead post-16. Frustratingly, that can have an impact on ucas applications, even in unrelated fields.

LooseAtTheSeams Fri 27-Jul-18 13:03:52

You can indeed switch to functional skills. At our college a 3 means doing GCSE resit but below that we probably would advise functional skills. There is a test to help establish a level. Some universities accept level 2 as equivalent to GCSE but you have to check with them. It can be used for apprenticeships as well.

EllenJanesthickerknickers Fri 27-Jul-18 13:25:49

At my DS2's college you could get on to a level 3 BTEC with either a pass (4) in English or maths and go on to the retake classes for the one you didn't pass. For performing arts which is all about communication I'd guess English would be more important than maths. Have a look at the website for requirements but also talk to them about your DS. It may not be as black and white as the requirements suggest. The colleges want students. Just take care they don't put them on courses to fill places when they are not actually able to access the work.

lljkk Mon 30-Jul-18 20:35:22

Some kind of coaching role or physical training role? I'd look for those career paths.

Piggywaspushed Tue 31-Jul-18 22:17:29

Please don't feel that half a dozen GCSEs above grade 4 is no good . It makes me sad that you -and he- think that, perhpas a persepctive created by the school?. His school's A level requirements are very high! Is it a selective? In my school, he'd access sixth form with those grades (not that I am saying this would be his only -or even best -option). Lots of good advice upthread about choices.

Lots of 15 and 16 year olds won't achieve a 4 in any of the 9 - 12 subjects they do!

Piggywaspushed Tue 31-Jul-18 22:19:53

And I totally concur that MN does not represent a cross section of real life ...

LooseAtTheSeams Wed 01-Aug-18 06:07:28

The school's attitude is very odd - if he's about to go into Y11, it's too early to judge. Also, he's clearly very talented at performing arts. His projected GCSE grades would get him into the sixth form my DS is planning to go to but it may well be A levels aren't the best route for him. I presume his current school doesn't offer alternatives?
I work with a lot of students who will be thrilled if they get 4s in English and maths on August 23!

Piggywaspushed Wed 01-Aug-18 07:15:29

I had overlooked that he is year 10! Why on earth have they already got him dropping GCSEs to 'consolidate' his maths? This sounds like a very results driven, rather than child driven school (although I accept they would tell you maths makes a huge difference to anyone's life chances).

OP , do you have any actual objective predicted grade for maths (we call thme indicator grades: based on prior attainment ast KS2 , or on CATs tests) What the school says he will get in year 10 is not necessarily accurate or reliable for a whole host of reasons....

Btw, reported spam above!!

Piggywaspushed Wed 01-Aug-18 07:51:10

The spam disappeared so please don't think I meant you loose grin

LooseAtTheSeams Wed 01-Aug-18 08:00:17

Piggy not at all!grin

LoniceraJaponica Wed 01-Aug-18 08:31:46

I agree that there seems to be a disproportionate number of mumsnetters who have high achieving children. The further and higher education threads are full of them. Most of them are lovely but there are one or two who have several very high achieving children and who have no idea what it is like to have children who didn't go to/won't be looking at Oxbridge/RG universities.

My nephew was an unmotivated and unengaged student (he didn't have discalculia though), and has just graduated with a 2.1 in an art degree.

Good luck to your DS, and I hope he manages to find the right course for him.

Piggywaspushed Wed 01-Aug-18 08:38:01

I did also mean to say if your DS is in the NYT he must be an amazingly accomplished actor! Lots of people can get 4s or 5s or more , or get inot Oxbridge, but hardly anyone has the talent to be in the NYT! I can't imagine it holds many actos back that thye aren't that great at maths...

Lonicera, say, for example , 8 children <cough> , all at Oxbridge<cough> ? grin

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