A Problem Shared: My Daughter Wants To Drop Out


A Problem Shared Education Parenting & Family Advice | by | 27th Jan 2017

A Problem Shared: My Daughter Wants To Drop Out

Jayne’s daughter wants to drop out of sixth-form. Do you have any advice for this week’s A Problem Shared…?

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Hi, I really hope you can help. I’m the single parent of a 17 year old daughter who is currently doing 3 A-Levels at her school’s sixth form. Up to now she has sailed through school life. She’s been one of those that has loved it. She did really well in her GCSEs and is lucky enough to be able to do her first choice subjects at A-Level.

However, I’ve seen a real difference in her since she started Year 12. She’s struggling with the lack of structure, she seems far less focused on her work and just doesn’t seem to be enjoying it. On top of this, she now seems really unsure about what she wants to do in her future. She even mentioned that she wants to drop out of school now, mid year!

University has always seemed to be the obvious next step but now she keeps saying that the school is talking about university so much that it’s putting her off. I really don’t know what to do to help her. I just want her to be happy.

Our FamilyPoint Advice to Jayne

Hi, Thanks for getting in touch with us here at FamilyPoint about your concerns for your daughter… she’s lucky to have you on her side!

People who’ve studied A-Levels and then gone on to do a degree often talk about the difference between GCSEs and A-Levels being bigger than the difference between A-Levels and a degree. Perhaps her lack of focus is because she’s struggling with some aspects of the work? It could also be because of the lack of structure. It’s hard to self-motivate yourself when a common room full of your friends are tempting you away from your studies.

Perhaps this is something you could discuss with her? If there is a problem, facing it now and dealing with it is far better than leaving it until next year when her workload will probably have increased again.

Could you support her to speak to someone she trusts in school to her through this difficult patch? If she’s not comfortable having her mother contacting the school and also not happy to speak to someone herself, she could contact the Meic helpline. The advisers on the Meic helpline could provide your daughter with some support by speaking to the school on your daughter’s behalf.

University isn’t the only option

Schools can unfortunately often be guilty of selling the university route as the best option. It isn’t the only way, and certainly isn’t the best way for everyone. Young people have a variety of options available to them. As she’s so far into year 12 it would probably be advisable for her to complete the year as at least then she will have the opportunity to gain some AS-Levels. In addition to this, she may well change her mind in a month or two and feel that continuing to the end of year 13 is for her.

Whenever she chooses to finish her school education she has choices. She could go to college, look for work, travel, get an apprenticeships, gain skills through volunteering or even study further qualifications online… the list is endless and is something that the school should be telling her.

If they are not, Careers Wales would be a good organisation for her to get in touch with. They offer free, impartial information and advice. They have a very comprehensive website and they can be contacted in a variety of ways, including webchat.

I hope this information has been of some help. I’ve no doubt that whatever your daughter chooses to do you’ll be a great support.

Helpline Graphic for Play out alone problem

If you would like further information on national or local support services, then you can contact us at FamilyPoint Cymru via phone 0300 222 57 57, text 07860 052 905, or IM/Chat. We are open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.

Best wishes,

The FamilyPoint Cymru Team


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