Are A-levels the best route to take?

4th August 1995 at 01:00
Bridget Patterson asks "Should I have forced him to stay on?" (Talkback, TES, July 28).

"You've started, so you'll finish", we insisted to our son and he soldiered on to the end of the A-level courses (only one "N-early" grade to show for it!). No one really had much idea about what to do next, but catering looked promising, so the careers service suggested a BTEC. The format is not really conducive to disenchanted students working consistently over a two-year continuously-assessed course - and we have a health and hygiene certificate and a minimal pass to show for it.

We have tried positive encouragement, desperate moans and insistent demands, but to no avail. Leaving home was an interesting option because, out of work, on income support and with a rent allowance, there seemed to be just enough to live on, with occasional backhanders for pizza delivery or a couple of hours' stand-in bar work. The only unhappy beings in this saga are us, his parents. He is reasonably happy - restricted for cash (but who isn't?) - but with plenty of free time.

Perhaps parents have to reassess their values and seek alternative routes. Eyeing our 17-year-old daughter, already showing similar symptoms, we have suggested that she looks at a "year out" with Voluntary Service Overseas, Raleigh International or similar groups, until she can sort out perspectives on her future. Amazingly, she is enthusiastically considering this option which offers challenge and adventure (and could possibly distance her from "a malaise which seems to have the youth of this country in its grip").


41 The Orchard Leven Beverley, North Humberside

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today