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What are the best education/ preparation options for Alevels(maths, psycology,CS) during a year off due to illness after GCSEs?

(39 Posts)
J03sP1zza Thu 27-Aug-20 08:36:27

Doesn’t look like ds will be going to school this year and will be accessing hospital school at some point.

Just don’t know what to do to ensure he is ready for Alevels next year. Advice seems thin on the ground. 😩He’s bright and got good GCSEs but by the time he starts Alevels next year will have had a year and a half out of proper education. I know with maths in particular that could be an issue.

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10brokengreenbottles Thu 27-Aug-20 09:53:18

He could revise the GCSE content, past papers, bridging work. For maths CGP do a head start to A level book and there's UKMT questions/papers. If he is well enough and hasn't taken additional Maths in Y11 he could look at the syllabus.

For more general learning what about learning a language and short courses.

All of the above allow DS to dip in and out in short bursts when he is able to.

The hospital school will provide work. After Y11 there isn't a statutory duty to provide education (unless he has an EHCP) so it's likely to only be for the duration of any admission to hospital, and even then they don't have to (a couple of exceptions apply such as an EHCP).

noblegiraffe Thu 27-Aug-20 14:14:06

What did he get in his maths GCSE? That would decide where he should focus his efforts.

moosemama Thu 27-Aug-20 16:59:59

Could you manage to cover the cost of NISAI online? They are used to supporting pupils with medical needs, who may not be able to actually ‘attend’ lessons when they’re happening. With a laptop, he would the be able to access study both at home and in the hospital - if well enough obviously.

We are in a similar position. My son has been out of school for over two and half years, receiving EOTAS for GCSE’s. He’s still medically unfit, but without an EHCP (which they refused to assess him for - twice) he cannot access any more EOTAS support because he’s turned 16. We ended up going to tribunal, which they conceded. So now allegedly assessing, but of course deadlines are relaxed due to CV19 and face to face appointments difficult. So, he currently has no education in place at all come September.

We have had to accept that his education is going to take place over a longer period of time than is typical, but he will get there in the end. In the meantime, with the LA fighting us for the whole of last year, they have now effectively rendered him NEET until we can get the EHCP assessment done and a plan in place.

We looked into NISAI for him, but the subjects they offer, outside of the GCSE’s he’s already done, aren’t going to help with his chosen career path.

For now we have no choice but to focus on his health and keep trying to identify an alternative pathway for him.

The lack of statutory duty for LAs to provide an education, post-16, for pupils with serious medical issues, when they are required by law to remain in education, training or employment is disgusting.

loveyouradvice Thu 27-Aug-20 18:22:19

Totally agree re focus on Maths... and if there is anyway you can afford a tutor to work 121 with him online (zoom typically) that would be amazing... both to provide a relationship that builds his confidence and for the practical aspect of Maths. I know a very good but expensive tutor who has worked wonders with my DD, focusses on Maths but teaches all the sciences and is so emotionally literate and supportive that it bowls me over. PM me if you are interested.

Or alternatively there are plenty of Uni students who would like the extra dosh or even pre-Uni students like my DD who have done A level Maths and done a lot of academic/peer mentoring while at school, and wouldn't charge a lot.

And I suspect there are a lot of fun options online which others will flag up - where you are learning Maths while doing interesting exercises online, earning points and competing ... you could post on The Student Room and I think you'd get lots of replies? The only ones I know about are for younger kids but I'd be amazed if there isn't stuff for older ones

And on the Psychology front, I think you could both have fun preparing and he'll be ahead of the game, walking into his first class more confident if he watches experiments on You Tube and movies about key experiments (such as The Stamford Prison Experiment) and reading some reputable and not too challenging key books like Thinking, Fast and Slow - again there are Psychology strands on The Student Room and I think if you asked them directly about what would they recommend for a soon-to-be A level student to watch and read, you'd get some great replies. And hopefully many are things you'll enjoy watching with him and talking about.

It is hellish being that age and not being able to be move forward alongside your peers, let alone everything else that it sounds as if you are both coping with... Good luck to you and your DS.

ps Interesting group of A levels he's chosen - my DD is into Psychology too and will be studying it at Uni!

10brokengreenbottles Thu 27-Aug-20 18:46:42

Moose I agree, it is disgusting. Being generous I would say it's one section of the law that's not caught up with another, but sadly I think it has more to do with money.

Have you asked the LA some of the questions in this document from SOSSEN? They may need reminding the relaxation of the time limits only applies where it is due to coronavirus.

Punxsutawney Thu 27-Aug-20 19:03:52

I would also look online. Both my boys found You Tube videos really useful, especially youngest Ds who struggles to study 'normally'. He prefers watching an online explanation than reading a book to study which he tells me he can't do! I think there is plenty of A Level maths videos.

Moose and greenbottles it is pretty shocking that there is no statutory duty post 16. It's a real worry when your child is that age and you don't know if they will return to school.

moosemama Thu 27-Aug-20 19:24:05

10brokengreenbottles. I think you’re right about it being more to do with money. Which is frankly ridiculous, as how many medical needs pupils do LA’s even have to deal with at this stage of their education. The LA are very keen to tell me my ds is a unique case, so I doubt there are many more in his situation in our LA at least.

I have had trouble even getting them to engage with me. His original Plan Co-ordinator ignored my voicemail messages, then bounced my email back, saying he was no longer involved due to the case going to tribunal. Claimed to have passed it to a senior co-ordinator, but of course I heard nothing. I now have a name - of the person who officially conceded the tribunal - but no contact details, so that’s my next job.

I only found out they’d conceded when a Comm Paed called to say she wanted me to organise an OT assessment, as she couldn’t do it and as he was mid-transition to adult medical care, it was too complicated to go via his medical team. I did that, had a phone and face-to-face assessment, received the report. All confirming he needs to continue study at home and needs and EHCP. No involvement by LA or Comm Paed at all. They were allegedly contacting his specialist for specific medical advice and arranging an Ed Psych assessment - but no, nothing.

I have heard of a case where a parent of a child with the same health issues as my son challenged the head of children’s services directly and asked them why they were failing their sick child. On that occasion, in that LA, they then restarted EOTAS. Pretty sure that would never happen in my LA though! (Longstanding experience, as I have an older child with SEN.) I do have an excellent contact in my other child’s Plan Co-ordinator, who has helped me find out what’s going on before, so if nothing changes in the next few days I will contact her and ask for help.

moosemama Thu 27-Aug-20 19:25:49

Punx Sadly, nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to health or education.

Seems like we just get the healthcare side of things on track, then the education falls to pieces or vice versa. It never seems like both can actually work well alongside one another - or actually communicate with each other for that matter!

J03sP1zza Thu 27-Aug-20 19:28:26

Thank you so much for all the info.

He got 8s in maths and computer science, was aiming for 9s but has had a really shite time and been ill for a while now. Has done a fair bit of coding. Psychology wants a 6 in biology and he has a 7. He won’t have done any maths for over a year and a half by next year so think he needs to work on that over the year for sure as he wants an A at A level.. Not sure what to do re psychology as a new subject to him.

And yes it is appalling the way there is no automatic provision for these kids. They don’t choose to be ill and have suffered enough. You’d think they’d support them. I think we’ll get some kind of education hours but not sure if it will be Alevel prep which is what he’ll need.

OP’s posts: |
user1497207191 Thu 27-Aug-20 19:28:51

You could buy the CGP "revision" & question practice books, especially for Maths. Maybe not much use for topics not covered at GCSE, but he should be able to "self study" topics previously done at a lower level that have a natural progression to harder elements. You'd then also have the books for when he eventually goes back to formal study as exam preparation.

J03sP1zza Thu 27-Aug-20 19:32:26

We are fortunate in that it looks like he’ll get some kind of education hours at some point but not sure if it’ll be what he actually needs ie Alevel prep.

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Punxsutawney Thu 27-Aug-20 19:42:22

J03s this coming academic year is looking so different to normal anyway that it may not be a bad thing starting the year after. Hope you get the education hours he needs to help him.

I would be happy for my Ds to start his A Levels next year as well as he is struggling immensely but we have nothing else for him at the moment. So it feels like we need to try and get him back.

J03sP1zza Thu 27-Aug-20 19:42:48

I’m just worried as he won’t have all the teaching on the run up to Alevels which the others will have had.Its bad enough that this illness has robbed him of so much. Don’t want it to have an impact on his future too. That said I’m aware we need to just go with what the situation is.

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J03sP1zza Thu 27-Aug-20 19:48:47

Punx if I could get him in for this year I could but we’re just too late. He’s just not well enough.sad

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10brokengreenbottles Thu 27-Aug-20 19:51:40

Moose grin I too am told how unique/unusual/complex DS1 is. I am regularly reminded how unusual and expensive DS1's EOTAS package is. It is always stated in a tone of voice that indicates I should be grateful hmm. His EHCP is comprehensive, but it is all necessary and we had to fight for it. What our LA don't like is I know what they should be providing and will hold them to account.

I also agree about health and education not always working well side by side. When DS1 first got his EHCP the tripartite panel argued about who should pay for what provision.

Why should you organise OT assessments? Why can't the community paed organise them? DS may be mid transition to adult care but community paeds are able to see 16 year olds, especially those with additional needs. It sounds like a delaying tactic.

I do wonder if, in time, someone will challenge not providing education to pupils 16-18 medically unfit for FE. Perhaps one of you want to be a test case?

Punx I know we've 'spoken' on the SN boards. I really think you should apply for an EHCNA for your DS. Would assistive technology help? You can get software that would read a e-textbook. That way DS doesn't have to focus on the task of reading at the same time as processing information.

moosemama Thu 27-Aug-20 20:17:16

Comm Paed was totally confused herself. Initially she implied they were gathering evidence for LA for the tribunal. I pointed out how ridiculous it would be to do an assessment to prove he didn’t need an assessment and then she said - oh no, LA is conceding. Then went on to say they have no knowledge of his conditions, other than what I’d included in my tribunal evidence pack (which apparently was comprehensive and fascinating reading) so it would be pointless them seeing ds for an assessment, especially bearing in mind the whole CV19 issue and they needed his specialists to give evidence for his assessment instead. Specialist had agreed to be involved, but was then impossible to contact - allegedly!

I really didn’t get why they couldn’t organise the OT assessment themselves, but didn’t want to hold things up arguing. I think it was something to do with having to be a parent or professional that was already working with the child. Probably bull, but I wanted it done asap, so I just did it there and then, whole thing done and dusted in a couple of weeks, as everyone else was refusing appointments for fear of CV19. I suspect the Comm Paed could have got it done just as easily with one phone call.

Sadly I just don’t have the energy to fight the system anymore. Been going through it so long with my eldest and now with ds2, as well as having the same health issues myself and I am just bloody exhausted from it all. It’s taken 8 years to get a proper diagnosis for one of his issues and that only happened this week. Specialist in this week’s appointment was appalled at how he’s been messed around by medical, so-called’ professionals, when his diagnosis was so clear cut.

Punxsutawney Thu 27-Aug-20 20:25:38

J03s I can understand all your concerns especially as you are still dealing with his ill health, it must be incredibly stressful. 💐
Have they told you what the education hours will be?

greenbottles I submitted an application for a needs assessment about 6 weeks ago, so waiting to hear. In our area community paediatricians no longer see 16 year olds in mainstream education and our adult autism service starts at 18. Two years of nothing! Will have a look at the software. Ds just says he can't take in any information that he reads! The school argue that is not true as his grades are too high.

Punxsutawney Thu 27-Aug-20 20:27:40

Moose sounds really hard going. I'm not sure why they make this all so difficult for parents.

J03sP1zza Thu 27-Aug-20 20:29:52

Wondering if there are any online courses/ materials that prep for Alevels and you can work at your own pace.

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J03sP1zza Thu 27-Aug-20 20:34:56

No he has to improve on his health first. We have somebody really good supporting us who has looked into options and we’re starting to investigate the options but not sure any will involving prepping for Alevels although not out of the question.

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Punxsutawney Thu 27-Aug-20 20:56:36

Ds has watched a little bit of 'ExamSolutions - maths made easy' during lockdown. It's a You Tube channel that Dh found when we were trying to get Ds to think about Sept. My maths is appalling so I can't really comment on how good it is. Ds did watch a bit but he's difficult to engage, so he didn't give much feedback. Maybe worth a look?

10brokengreenbottles Thu 27-Aug-20 21:02:21

Moose I suspect you are right. They are just trying to make it as difficult as possible.

Punx I am glad you have submitted a request. I suggest you ask the LA the questions in the document I linked to in a pp.

Community paeds can see 16 year olds, even if they tell you it's policy not to. If you ask to be referred out of area due to there not being an appropriate service within the CCG an appointment may materialise when they are faced with the prospect of commissioning OOA services.

J03sP1zza if you apply for an EHCP the tutoring could be tailored to DS' needs. They could plug any gaps and ensure he's ready to hit the ground running for A levels, or even start covering some A level material.

BadlydoneHelen Thu 27-Aug-20 21:13:13

Try Mr Hegarty on YouTube- he has a whole series of A level Maths prep videos that your DS could work through

Tumbleton Thu 27-Aug-20 21:21:02

AQA have a Level 2 Further Maths course which has more advanced topics than GCSE Maths.

DS has taught himself the first half of the course (from the textbook) over the summer, to keep his maths brain active in preparation for starting A-level.

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