Help! My child has just crashed and burned in their exams

You may already have a sinking feeling that your son or daughter has not done as well as hoped for in their impending exam results. AS and A level results are out on August 17th 2017 and GCSE results on August 24th 2017 and this can be a very stressful time for all.

Your child may have a sixth form  or college place hinging on whether they have the requisite grades, they may not be allowed back into Year 13 if their AS and school exam results are too weak and for A level students, a university or school leaver programme place may be dependent upon what’s in that envelope.

You have options;

1. You can all bury your heads in the sand and hope that it will all be ok

2. You can hope that you can make a last minute plea to the school or college to allow your kid back in.

Both these scenarios are a recipe for family argument, banging doors and tense conversation so I recommend that you take a moment to think about and discuss ‘Plan B’.

The options after GCSEs

You may want your child to continue at a school with which you are familiar and they are comfortable. HOWEVER, A levels are a huge step up from GCSEs and really don’t suit a lot of our young people. Your local FE college will offer a range of alternative qualifications which can still keep options open for higher level study if that is what your child wants. A 2 year Extended Btec is worth 3 A levels and gives access to most university courses and Degree Apprenticeships.  The learning style is different to A levels and students are assessed in a more continuous and practical way than the exam-driven A level.

Register with a college NOW as this at least gives your son or daughter and option in September. They are very used to accepting students who have to make last minute plans but courses fill up.

Your son or daughter must be in education or training until they are 18 so an apprenticeship may suit some as it will include qualifications. Finding an opportunity is not always an easy process and you may need to be a bit patient but the best starting place is The number of high quality apprenticeships is increasing rapidly and many companies are investing heavily.

For Year 12 students  who don’t meet minimum Year 13 entry

If there has been very good reason for why your son or daughter has not done well (illness, impactful family circumstance etc) you may be able to negotiate for them to start again in Year 12. This isn’t an easy option and many young people feel a sense of failure with this scenario so the option of moving elsewhere (see above) may be a healthier choice.

Many young people simply have enough of formal eduction. They may return to it later on but it can be a motivating option for some to leave school at the end of Year 12 and start an Apprenticeship. All apprenticeships include qualifications and this change of environment may be the catalyst for striving towards a goal.

For A level students who miss their University offers

We’ll use the familiar motto of ‘Be Prepared’. Ensure that your son or daughter is accessing their emails the day before results day as some universities will make contact to honour an offer even if a student misses a grade. On results day; make sure your child gets up early! University clearing telephone lines open very early and many schools and colleges will have staff on the case from 7am. It’s competitive so have phone numbers ready for both the Firm and Insurance offers universities as well as others which offer a very similar course with slightly lower entry requirements. It is the APPLICANT  who needs to make the call – not you, the parent.

University is a costly investment and a course decision mustn’t be made without a lot of thought so a gap year may be the answer. It gives some breathing space, allows for a new application or even resits of exams.

A Degree Apprenticeship will suit some young people better than a university education. This programme is a job, a salary and a fully funded degree. There are some incredible offers out there – they are no soft option and the application process is much lengthier than a UCAS application but the rewards are high.

Remember that fate plays its hand  – sometimes we need to ‘fail’ in order to make us realise what is important to us. Don’t fall out with your child but you might just have to stand back and let them work it out for a while; that’s tough I know….


Posted in Blog.