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to ask for stories of education disasters all working out fine

73 replies

lu9months · 23/04/2021 08:36

my son is 16 and very bright but anxious. he was predicted excellent gcses. however his anxiety has become so severe that hes no longer able to get into school for the gcse assessments. he doesnt think he can do A levels now. im panicking about his future but all that really matters is his wellbeing. id love to hear stories of school/education problems all working out fine in the end, to help me focus on the here and now and stop worrying so much about what the future holds . thanks.

OP posts:
lu9months · 23/04/2021 16:22

hi im negotiating with the school to try and allow him to sit exams at home since hes so stressed. they havent been keen which i understand but his Psychologist has wtitten to support this. fingers crossed

OP posts:
CarrieErbag · 23/04/2021 16:24

My dd was bullied at school after not finding a friendship group because she was very ill in year 7+8.
By year 10 she 'd had enough and we took her out of school when she stopped eating and was losing her hair.Sad
We panicked a bit as it was the first year of GCSE s but we made the choice to home ed, she got 8 good grade GCSE s and is about to finish her A levels with predictions of AAB.
It's been hard I won't lie and working on her mental health/anxiety is still work in progress. Don't panic, there's more than one way to skin a cat.

gabsdot · 23/04/2021 16:28

My husband left school at 16 with no qualifications. He is intelligent and personably but he just hated school. His home life was very difficult, they were very poor, his dad left when he was a teenager and his mam was desperate for him to bring in some money so when he was offered a job he took it.
He is now a mid level manager in a multinational team and earns a very good salary. He did a degree a few years ago in an unrelated field and does a little bit of work in that area as a sideline.
Both my teens are not going to do well in school, one has SEN and the other hates school but I'm no to worried. There are plenty of ways to get where you're going without a formal education.

Ponoka7 · 23/04/2021 16:34

My DD left without qualifications. She has ADHD and dyslexia. She used her high energy levels to her advantage and did various jobs, earning quite a bit, until she found a focus. She found that MH was her thing and worked her way up, taking advantage of training offered, to management level. She's now earning similar to degree level jobs, without the debt.
My youngest has Autism and LD's but has found that she is skilled in cookery. She qualified as a chef, but she's been stuck in a pizza place because of Covid. She's just got a Catering job in the NHS. She went to a SEN school. Most of her peers have been able to find work.

I know of a few people who've found what inspires them later down the line and made a success of themselves.

I did my degree as a mature student, most people on my course were 28+. There's more than one pathway. People turn their lives around after all sorts of difficulties.

Tomnooktoldmeto · 23/04/2021 16:46

We have a DD who has similarities to your DS, ASD ADHD and severe anxiety with ptsd and others in the mix

The pressure and anxiety of a standard school was too much for her from year 7, somehow I managed to obtain an EHCP for her with no help from school

I moved her to an internet school and moved her back an educational year allowing her to restart secondary school

DD’s had a tough time with her mental health but has been able to embrace her education in a different setting and is now sitting A levels there

I always made it clear to her that I was more concerned about her being alive at the end of education than dead because she couldn’t cope and we talk about that even now. Dd knows that she is the most important thing not her education

MrsVeryTired · 23/04/2021 16:52

@Tomnooktoldmeto that made me tear up a bit (being alive Flowers), DS is struggling also and balancing feeling well with trying to encourage school work without too much stress is a fine line.

Tomnooktoldmeto · 23/04/2021 17:02

@MrsVeryTired she was suicidal from the age of 8 after being bullied for being different, I may be biased but she’s a bright passionate young woman now who despite all her own problems fights to support others and represents them on the school council

No piece of paper will ever define who or what she is whilst I’m here to support her

Ironically she is very bright and a gifted writer I’m told by her teachers but it’s all about self belief and we’re still working on that

I hope you manage to find the balance with your DS, it’s just so hard and sadly I have a DH and DS with similar problems so spend a lot of time supporting them all

TheLastLotus · 23/04/2021 17:21

My autistic DP hated school and exams - was very bad at them. He had to retake GCSE English in order to pass, and his A-Level grades were mostly C’s and D’s. He’s very smart but can’t do tests.
He managed to get into uni and is now a programmer - the best in his team and first in line for promotion

TheLastLotus · 23/04/2021 17:22

Oh and forgot to add that DP also struggled a lot at school due to his autism - was depressed and suicidal at one point..

UniversitySerf · 23/04/2021 17:33

My friends DS dropped out of school for months due to anxiety. So finished a year after his peers. He ended up with an apprenticeship in a laboratory setting and they are now sponsoring him to do a degree.

Another friends nephew was a nightmare at school. Undiagnosed dyslexia and other issues including addicted to gaming. He ended up working as a kitchen porter. She updated me recently and after a few years of exceptional hard work he is now the manager of a restaurant.

BuyYourOwnBBQGlenda · 23/04/2021 17:37

My husband was depressed during school and left with no A levels.

He volunteered at a drug addiction place, ended up being given his first professional job (which paid a pittance), was promoted a couple of times then had a breakdown due to stress.

He then got an internship for £12k a year as a business analyst within financial services. That was 6 years ago. He now, 6 promotions/moves later, earns 6 figures and has his own team of 12 senior managers at a tier 2 bank. When we met I thought I'd always earn all the money as he wasn't ambitious at all and now he's hoping to make CIO one day.

BuyYourOwnBBQGlenda · 23/04/2021 17:44

Mine was a bit opposite, left with 4 As, went to top uni, thoroughly unimpressive CV compared to some of my peers. Turns out I'm mostly just good at passing exams! Just support him in finding his passions and strengths. He will be fine.

Ritasueandbobtoo9 · 23/04/2021 17:46

The lad that had anxiety at my school and dropped out of school has his own business and is highly successful and very well off. No family money to help him out, totally self made.

edwinbear · 23/04/2021 17:49

I went to a very fancy private school, straight A's at GCSE but then discovered boys during the 6th form. My father also pushed me into maths/sciences at A level which I was hopeless at - he thought any other subjects weren't worth doing. I ended up with a D in Biology, N in Chemistry, U in Maths and a C in General Studies - basically failed the lot, but managed to get accepted into an ex-Poly to read Economics.

I've worked in investment banking for 20 years on a 6 figure salary. (In sales - my maths is still terrible!)

Pandoraslastchance · 23/04/2021 17:55

I got pregnant at 17 wasn't allowed to do my A levels. I had GCSEs but got a D in maths, music and history(and 2 Cs).

I went to college when I turned 22 and did Access to healthcare course which i passed and lead to my Nursing diploma(which will be topped up to a degree in the next few years)

As he gets older he may learn to manage his anxiety to the point where he can go back into education. Maybe some cbt will help him.

tealandteal · 23/04/2021 18:24

My DH left with hardly any GCSEs or Alevels and not very high grades. Scraped into uni and now has masters and PhD. Outside of the school environment he found it much easier.

Heatherjayne1972 · 23/04/2021 18:27

I think your sons mental health must come first right now

I retook a gcse at 22. There are many ways to get those results not just through school

FishWithoutABike · 23/04/2021 18:30

I’m Dyslexic and hated school and exams from about year 9. I took drugs hung out with the ‘wrong’ people and dropped out of school from 16. Went back to college years later and now have a top degree and a successful career in a profession linked to my degree. All is not lost.

Washimal · 23/04/2021 18:40

Forgot to say, I also know a girl who missed most of year 11 due to poor Mental Health (she ended up being hospitalised) so once she'd sufficiently recovered she re-took her GCSE's at a local college and went on to do A levels. She was a year older than all her peers but still made friends and really enjoyed her A level studies whereas she'd previously found school highly stressful. If anything she seemed to appreciate it all much more because of what she'd been through so really threw herself into it. She's at university now and doing well apparently.

cerealgamechanger · 23/04/2021 18:53

Mum died on NYE when I was few months into Y7 at secondary school. Dad walked out because he couldn't cope with us children (17, 16, 14, 12, 2). Lived in extreme poverty and hardship (abuse at the hands of older siblings) for several years. Managed to get enough GCSEs to do my A-levels. Got very average grades but enough to get me to uni. Graduated with a 2:1 in a subject I loved (I discovered I was dyslexic and dyspraxic in my final year of the degree). Did another qualification to get me into an associated career. Later, managed to get onto a highly competitive doctorate when I turned 30 and have been working in my dream job ever since.

I could've aced my GCSEs/A-levels if my life had been normal and I'd have had the support I so desperately needed but I came to terms very early on with what my lot in life was so my modus operandi became: do enough to get you to the next stage. So long as you get where you finally want to be, that's all that matters. On my doctorate programme, my colleagues had been privately/Oxbridge educated and there was me- a nothing- sitting amongst them. It felt surreal but I'd bloody worked hard for it. Anything is possible if you want it badly enough.

Autosavepassword · 23/04/2021 18:59

Close friend of mine.
Absolutely twatted up his GCSE's. Mainly because he was being horrendously bullied in school and the school didn't give a shit.
Anyway, he bumbled around for a year or 2, doing nothing and trying his hardest to make sure he was on first name terms with the local police officers.

Anyway, he realised he was being a bit of a prat (his words), so joined the navy. They put him through his GCSE's that he didn't have, and then he worked his way up the pecking order right from the bottom. He now has a degree and is in a position of a lot of responsibility. He also does some mentoring as well.

Sometimes, GCSE's and academic studies aren't right for everyone. Its a shame schools don't tend to recognise this though.

MrsAvocet · 23/04/2021 18:59

It's usually easier to do things the expected way at the expected time OP but it's definitely not essential. I can give you 2 examples of people I personally know who have turned around what were seen as educational disasters at the time.
My DH did pretty well at O level but failed his A levels fairly spectacularly. Whilst all his friends left for University he went to a pretty rough inner city college to resit (his naice leafy suburb school wouldn't have him back) . He did better second time but still didn't get the grades for the University course he wanted. He got a last minute place at a poly on clearing. 30 odd years later he is recognised as an expert in his field and sits on national and international policy making bodies.
A friend of a friend left school at 16 with, if I recall rightly, 2 GCSEs. He then joined the armed forces where he became interested in the idea of healthcare, having seen the work done by medics in conflict zones. He did his exams again at nightschool/online and now has a degree and a pretty well paid job in one of the professions allied to medicine. He gives talks in schools and colleges now with the message to youngsters, particularly boys, that even ifvthey aren't thriving in school now they mustn't write themselves off as failures for life, or allow other people to do that to them.
I hope things look up for your son soon and he gets the help he needs.

lu9months · 23/04/2021 19:52

these are so inspiring. im really happy reading them

OP posts:
LynetteScavo · 23/04/2021 20:24

My DS got great GCSE grades, and went on to sixth form at the same school.

I don't know why exactly, but he only completed the first term. He than sat in his bedroom with the curtains closed for the next 9 months

However, he enrolled himself in a BTEC course for the following September and is now studying Engineering at University.

PumpkinPie2016 · 23/04/2021 20:33

My brother really struggled at school and was badly bullied. He had very low self confidence. Left school at 16 without a single C grade (as it was then).

He joined the army and it was the best move he could have made. He developed confidence, has gained skills and qualifications, been promoted and travelled the world. Now nearly 40, he is still in the army and has a really good career.

Maybe a year or two out of education might be the best thing for your son? It will give him the space to deal with his mental health issues.

When the time is right, he will find the path that's right for him.

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