My son, who is in year 11, has now been told that he will not be able to attend the 6th form at the school which he already attends. The decision was made on the basis that the staff feel he won’t be able to meet the minimum requirements. Naturally, my son and both my wife and myself, are quite disappointed.
He does not want to attend college and he doesn’t really want to do an apprenticeship. I will be going to an organisation called connexions next week to find out alternative routes to education post 16, but has anybody been in this situation before? What was the outcome?
Eventually my son wants to go into teaching and become a full time secondary school teacher or a university lecturer. Would that still be possible?
I hope connexions is able to help, as he seems to be setting some serious barriers in achieving his aims.
If he is really against both college and doing an apprenticeship the main alternative is to see if there is another local school with 6th form who would be willing to take him on in their 6th form? You mention he is against college, but would this include 6th form college?
What ever the outcome, in terms of a place somewhere or not, grades achieved there are always alternatives. I am concerned that he is raising barriers to achieving what he wants.
May I ask what his objections to college are if this is the last resort open to him? At one point connexions were the main support for career support and transition at 15/16. This was removed giving responsibility to schools. Personally I think this was a huge mistake. With more schools providing 6th form emphasis seems to be mainly going onto their 6th form, which doesn't always help, especially when the school decides not to offer a place to the student.
For my daughter the main choice was a 6th form college, with another school prepared to offer her a place in their 6th form if she needed it, but they were also honest in letting her know that they were not sure if the curriculum they offered at the time would best suit her ambitions. Fortunately she was offered a place at the 6th form college.
Different places will have their own criteria, so it is worth checking all the options.
Considering his reason for not going to college I'm not sure he will like the idea of a 6th form college. Think of a place as big as a secondary school full of 16 and 17 year olds. They will however have the widest choice. If it helps my daughter went to 6th form college and after some initial concerns thrived there. Not sure how much of my stuff you have read on here but she has Asperger's so there were some real concerns initially especially around bullying.
I was surprised when you said the current school had already said they would not be offering a place. But then there have been changes in funding which could lead to more selective picking who they offer places too. Especially in Academies I have heard all sort of stories on how they weed out those who are likely to lower their standing in the league tables. For example at my daughters school there were a number of language courses you could study at GCSE including Chinese, Japanese, Urdu and others. However for them to consider a student to do one of these courses it had to already be the primary or secondary language. They were very proud of their 100% score in these languages.
In the four main routes there are some huge differences.
1. School 6th form, good for students who do well at school, rules tend to be a bit more lax, but discipline is pretty much the same.
2. 6th form college, will usually offer the widest range of subjects and possibly different type of courses other than A levels, such as a bacalaureat. Still within an environment with peers.
3. College, these courses tend to be focussed on different types of jobs, but can include A levels. It does tend to be a far more adult environment.
4. Apprenticeships, earn while you learn, usually working three or four days a week and studying one or two days a week, usually one.
As your son is considering a career in teaching in secondary school if studying A levels is not a viable option, what subject is he thinking of specialising in? If going onto A levels is really not an option in the next year or two then an appropriate apprenticeship may be the way to go. This will give him real life experience in the relevant field. He can carry on with his education later to either gain a relevant degree at university or through a recognised home learning course, for example through Open University at his own expense. Or via a part time degree, where he would still be able to get a student loan for the education part and supporting himself by working, resulting in a lower loan at the end.
Something for you both to consider, real life experience can make a huge difference for a teacher and their students. While the apprenticeship route - which is nothing like the apprenticeship on tv - will give your son time to mature and become more confident in himself. To be honest the reason you gave for him rejecting going to college should be raising some red flags. I would be concerned how he would cope within a secondary school, being a teacher does not stop you becoming a victim of being bullied. But you know your son better than I do.
I did work at a school which had its own program for mature students who wanted to go into teaching for gaining qualified teaching status, though this was at a primary school and I am not sure how wide spread this may be.
There is another route into further education and higher education. I won't go into them now but google pttls, dttls and cttls. I did the pttls course. They are not subject specific, they give you the tools to teach in an adult environment and with pttls I know you need a qualification at least one level above what you teach. I took it to help in delivering governance courses. These will probably not be an option for your son at this point. But with a good apprenticeship and continued education it could offer a short cut into teaching, something he does want to do all be it in a different environment but at least he will be gaining experience and earning while carrying his education forward. It may also be a good way forward for teaching in a university, but would suggest if this is what he wants he considers doing the courses at a local university if possible. From what I have heard many of the univeristies won't accept qualifications gained at a college. Their criteria is likely to be higher.
Depending on his subject he could develop a good career in the life-long learning sector.
I'm really sorry to hear that connexions were unable to help.
Speaking for myself I would be asking the school as matter of urgency to speak to the career advisor with your son. What neither of you want is to let things drag resulting in him having nothing in place when he leaves school.
But also start checking out any other local schools with 6th form to see if they would consider taking him, as well as any 6th form college for their criteria.
My thoughts are with you both, as I know this can be a stressful time.