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laurs

Quitting school in year 11

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laurs

My DS17 has completely disconnected from his schoolwork this year. We have been remote learning for much of the year and when they were FTF he missed a lot of school due to “illness” (can’t say suck it up and go to school during Covid). 
He has long had some level of anxiety and depression but it has increased to such an extent that even talking about doing schoolwork triggers major anxiety attacks.

The reality is that he has never taken responsibility for schoolwork. Homework was only ever done under duress and studying was non existent. He was smart enough to make it through anyway.

So at this point we are thinking that even if the mental health wasn’t an issue, maybe school and study in general is just not for him. I know I would be judged for letting him quit but I’m not sure we have an option. I can’t make him do the work as much as I want to but the idea of him quitting with no plan for the future is extremely upsetting for me.

So, can anyone tell me any stories to make me feel better about my DS quitting high school without completing year 11 or 12? Do you know kids who have done that and it’s turned out well for them?

 

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SeaPrincess

So he’s in year 11? You need to find out what the legal requirements are in your state in relation to compulsory schooling. It may not be as easy as just not going to school.

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Ozquoll

I quit school when I was sixteen, and was (with a few gaps) employed full-time until I became a SAHM at age 33. I left school in the mid-90s though, things are different now, more's the pity.

Does your DS have any particular aptitudes that he could turn into a career? 

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IamOzgirl
2 minutes ago, Ozquoll said:

I quit school when I was sixteen, and was (with a few gaps) employed full-time until I became a SAHM at age 33. I left school in the mid-90s though, things are different now, more's the pity.

Does your DS have any particular aptitudes that he could turn into a career? 

Same - left school in mid 90's. Rules were a job or study. Couldn't bum about. And board was paid too. 

I have a well paying job, that I worked hard at. 

Ironically my ex and his twin sister both finished school and sponge of their parents way longer than I ever did!! 

Cant really threaten them after year 12! LOL

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Jenflea

I thought you legally HAD to go to school till 18 or yr 12 ends(whichever's first).

Could he go to tafe or get an apprenticeship instead?  

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got my tinsel on

I thought minimum 17 years old and must be enrolled in either TAFE or an apprenticeship to be able to leave school prior to end of year 12.

Regulations could change depending on the state you live in, but I'd be making doubly sure of the regulations before he and you make any decisions.

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Prancer is coming
5 minutes ago, Jenflea said:

I thought you legally HAD to go to school till 18 or yr 12 ends(whichever's first).

Could he go to tafe or get an apprenticeship instead?  

I don’t think anyone can make a teen go to school that does not want to, even the government!  There might be a school leaving age, but in reality, nothing much is going to happen if you drop out in grade 11.  Some school’s may make an effort to get attendance back on track.

 

OP, what does your son like doing?  Getting a job is not always that easy, particularly if he is not really motivated.  Would studying something he interested in at TAFE work?

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PuddingPlease

My gut instinct is that when this stuff goes smoothly it's usually because a family member or close family friend can offer him a job or trade that will provide him with solid skills in a relatively forgiving environment.

In the absence of that it was a pretty tough road, even before Covid and the recession. 

I can understand needing to prioritise his mental health but would a break from school, possibly looking at repeating year 11 once his anxiety and depression can be brought under control, be an option to consider instead? 

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Cimbom

I went to high school in Victoria and we had the option of doing VCAL instead of the traditional academic route of the VCE. This is much more practical and oriented to those wanting to go into a trade or other job after school rather than university type study. Would something like that be of interest? I presume the other states would have something similar.

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GlitteryElfFarts

I can see DD going down the same road. She loved it until this year with Covid and the teachers favourites and absent days etc. 

She wants to go to TAFE so I told her to do her research etc. before saying anything to her father.

I wasn’t even aware of the teachers faves until she was going through her report and a couple said something about answering questions and how DD won’t. One of them was maths, so I know she knows her stuff. She turned around and said “How can they write that when they only ever ask the same 5 or 6 kids, or get the same few kids to do stuff.”

 

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Gudrun

My niece left school after year 10 in the face of sustained protestations from relatives.   Worked at KFC and eventually became a qualified chef,  went to America on a bursary thing, chefed in high end restaurants back in Oz, moved into events management and now has a cool position with Time Out.

My brother left school after year 10.   Just up and left.  Again family pretty close to horrified.   He drove taxis and did waitering for a while.   Then decided to do year 12 as an adult by correspondence.  Then did a BA, then did a Masters in International Relations, then worked at Centrelink for a while, then decided he wanted to be an interpreter.   Went to Austria to do the international interpreter and translator course and has now worked for the EU in Brussels as an interpreter in several languages for 15 years.

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laurs

In Victoria I believe you can leave school if you are 17 and have finished year 10

He is currently adamant that he doesn’t want to repeat year 11, but maybe that will change in time. He’s also not particularly keen on the idea of VCAL.

He is good with computers, design and music so maybe he can forge his own career but it would be so much easier if he could just get through school. ☹️

 

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22Fruitmincepies

The person I know did a variety of jobs, did a tafe course, then went and got themselves into uni, did a challenging allied health degree and is now very successful in a public hospital role. 

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laurs
1 hour ago, SeaPrincess said:

So he’s in year 11? You need to find out what the legal requirements are in your state in relation to compulsory schooling. It may not be as easy as just not going to school.

He can legally leave school, and sadly going to school is in no way easy at the moment, especially when it is in the dining room and via the internet.

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ineedmorecoffee

I would strongly encourage him towards other kinds of study like TAFE as the job market may not be so kind right now to a Yr 11 dropout. 

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ExpatInAsia

I would not be encouraging dropping out of high school without moving into another path like Tafe or an apprenticeship. The people who do this and end up with good jobs are few and far between compared to 20 years ago. I think most people who choose this path today are setting themselves up to fail.

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Gudrun

Me?  I'd give him some space.  Allow him to explore things.   There are lots of ways to do things and lots of different things one person might do over a lifetime.  Speak with him regularly, not by way of pressure but by way of being there to support.   Sometimes they just need to do not much for a year to get some impetus and/or a first decision.   

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laurs
13 hours ago, ineedmorecoffee said:

I would strongly encourage him towards other kinds of study like TAFE as the job market may not be so kind right now to a Yr 11 dropout. 

I would love him to keep studying but given that he is essentially phobic around studying I think that just changing the type of study is unlikely to resolve the issue

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steppy

Yes, one of my stepkids left school at 17 and floated about on the dole for a while. Ended up with a good job in Vodaphone, lost that, floated, got casual work, got a traineeship and did that for a year, then left that and floated again, got a part time sales job, then was made redundant and then got another traineeship which led to 4 years of well paid work and good job prospects for the future. My stepkids didn't care about higher ed and both are far more employable than many university graduates. The issue will be, how much gumption does your child have? Working is harder than going to school. It's so boring. You have to go when they tell you. The socialising with other young people  largely is gone. The consequences  are real, not just theoretical.

If he decides he doesn't want to work either, what will you do?  Is he the kind of kid who wants things and will work for them? 

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Mose

Unfortunately, realistically you can't make him engage with education at this point if he has decided not to, and will probably just make both your lives more unpleasant trying to flog what sounds like a dead horse.

I think you should sit down with him and talk about what the ground rules  should be for his life post school (household participation, job hunting etc).

Maybe a time will come in the future when you can support him in engaging with formal education again, but it doesn't sound like that time is now.

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PuddingPlease
19 minutes ago, laurs said:

I would love him to keep studying but given that he is essentially phobic around studying I think that just changing the type of study is unlikely to resolve the issue

It sounds like the stress and anxiety is the issue here, if that could be brought under control then he would probably be able to cope with school. 

Does he have someone who helps him to manage this? Is he currently taking any medication for it? 

In your place I would probably be ok with him taking the rest of the year off with the expectation of going back (maybe through TAFE) to finish school next year.  

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frazzle

My 16 yo daughter wanted to leave at end of year 10 (this year) - ACT enrolled kids go to a different school for year 11-12 (college). She really doesn't like school, is not academic, very arty, finds the whole social things stressful. It's very much 'earn or learn' in our household so we looked at other options.  ACT has a really good programme called Big Picture that works around the kids to complete year 11-12 without the academic bent and can take up to 5 years which meant she could look for a part time job but also keep learning. She wants to go into a very competitive career (graphics, 3D animation) so we paid for her to do a cert II course this year so she could get a taste of the career plus further education. She found out just how things are very different in the real world! Including having to complete tasks for tutors that she felt she had done enough, and she almost failed through this attitude. The tutors talked to her, also told her what it was like in the industry, that she really had to do a year 12 certificate of some sort, but then recommended some other TAFE courses that would also benefit her. I think coming from someone other than her mum was really helpful. I have now enrolled her into ACT college year 11-12 program but if this doesn't work we will switch her straight over to CIT/TAFE. She also now has a casual Maccas job which has been a massive eye opener for her. 

Please don't think I am preaching - just giving you our tale and we are far from out of the woods yet with her.  Her school has actually been great in pointing us in alternative directions (thinking outside the academic box). Is there a course that he could do instead that builds on his interest? Maybe encourage him to get a casual job (they are recruiting in some areas - 16 yo's are cheap labour!!!).

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Kreme
14 hours ago, PuddingPlease said:

My gut instinct is that when this stuff goes smoothly it's usually because a family member or close family friend can offer him a job or trade that will provide him with solid skills in a relatively forgiving environment.

In the absence of that it was a pretty tough road, even before Covid and the recession. 

I can understand needing to prioritise his mental health but would a break from school, possibly looking at repeating year 11 once his anxiety and depression can be brought under control, be an option to consider instead? 

Yes, this exactly. Two boys in my extended family have left school after year 10 in recent years. Both got apprenticeships with family friends. One of them lost the apprenticeship  within a couple of months and then another friend has given him labouring work. The other one was doing well in his apprenticeship until Covid hit and now he’s on jobkeeper. 
 

Certainly some kids who don’t cope well with school can thrive in the workplace. But I would try to address the underlying issues before letting him leave school. In one case I know it has not been a fix as the same issues that were causing him to be suspended from school ended up costing him his job. 

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laurs

He is seeing a psychologist and we are trying to get him in to see a psychiatrist who may be able to put him on meds.

It would be a bit more straightforward if he were actually attending stage to face schooling as he might be absorbing some teaching in the classroom. Unfortunately I can hardly get him to engage with any online classes so he’s pretty much not at school any more by default.
On the other hand I’m not sure I’ll be able to get him back in the classroom if they do go back as his social anxiety has ramped up due to being in lockdown for so long.

I would like to get him in to see the psychiatrist before we officially pull the pin with school but the waiting lists are very long right now and even if he did get straight on meds they take some time to kick in, and can make things worse before they get better. It feels like time is running out on any chance of him passing the year.

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OrangeSprout

@laurs I feel your pain.. I am struggling with my 16 year old .. 
I cannot get him out of the house let alone to school.
I think I am finding it harder than him..

Goodluck :)

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