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Upper School Dilemmas

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8 minutes ago, Picturesinthefirelight said:

Interesting that the SFE form asks " Have you started an undergraduate or postgraduate course of higher education in any country since leaving school? "

 

Technically speaking the Trinity diplomas at institutions such as Elmhurst, Tring, Hammond etc were NOT started "since leaving school" but commenced whilst at school.  A technicality?  And of course that wouldn't apply to the Bird/Laine etc type colleges.

 

Is this a question of the distinction between "further education" and "higher education"? Though I get the impression the expression "further education", which used to refer to sixth-form level study, isn't so much in use any more.

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27 minutes ago, Anna C said:

See I understood it as you could get a loan from SFE to “top up” your Level 6 Diploma to a BA (Hons).  Is this not still the case?

 

The other thing to remember about SFE loans for Degrees is that they are for the duration of the course plus one year (a “gift year”) thereby allowing you (in theory) to restart your course or a different degree after one year.

Yes, you can still top up a Diploma to a BA Honours in Professional Practice (think you have to pay for it yourself but not sure on that) However, if you want to study for another Degree subject for 3 years you can't get finance from SFE. 

 

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6 hours ago, Pas de Quatre said:

Other parents I have known with under 18s at such places have been very upset when things have gone wrong and nobody would talk to them. 

Sometimes an under-18 simply has to have someone to advocate for them, especially when something has gone seriously wrong and they can't cope alone. Particularly when it is a problem with staff.

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We looked at the cost of paying for accommodation if DS accepted Dada place vs cost of OU degree if the dancing didn't work out and degree funding had been used.  Came out roughly the same.

 

In our case it was, decide where you want to dance.  Everything else, cross your fingers and hope for the best.  There are always ways to get the education you need, the dance opportunities are far more precious.

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Wherever your dc goes, ask the school or college for a copy of their student welfare and safeguarding policy documents.

 

If the documents are not forthcoming, read into that what you like.

 

I'm still waiting, more than two years on, for copies to be sent to us. In fact, it was only when we requested copies of those documents that it finally dawned on them how serious the situation had become, and agreed to a face-to-face meeting (with dd present).

 

Pictures and several other posters know the circumstances, and I shall bow out of this thread now.

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On 30/05/2019 at 10:42, Petit Jete said:

Yes, you can still top up a Diploma to a BA Honours in Professional Practice (think you have to pay for it yourself but not sure on that) However, if you want to study for another Degree subject for 3 years you can't get finance from SFE. 

 

Hi. Sorry I’m a tad confused. 

A DaDa is a grant.

A student loan is exactly that. A loan,  so why can’t a student receive a DaDa then apply for a loan if they change their career path later on in life. A loan after all needs to be repaid. 

 

Thank you 

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22 hours ago, taxi4ballet said:

Wherever your dc goes, ask the school or college for a copy of their student welfare and safeguarding policy documents.

 

If the documents are not forthcoming, read into that what you like.

 

I'm still waiting, more than two years on, for copies to be sent to us. In fact, it was only when we requested copies of those documents that it finally dawned on them how serious the situation had become, and agreed to a face-to-face meeting (with dd present).

 

Pictures and several other posters know the circumstances, and I shall bow out of this thread now.

I’m sorry to hear your issues taking so long to resolve. 

 

NBS have been brilliant. Whilst assessments are handed directly to the pupil, all parents (for those under 18) have the option to receive their own personal copy. 

Staff have also been happy to discuss pastoral matters over the phone with the parents. 

The staff acknowledge that they want the pupils to build on their independence and resilience but also understand some pupils young age. Even the accommodation providers ‘UniteStudents’ are excellent and most of the staff have received training in Wellbeing & Pastoral matters. They will even conduct ‘welfare checks’ on pupils within their blocks and call parents back. Keeping communications open.  

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1 hour ago, balletbean said:

Hi. Sorry I’m a tad confused. 

A DaDa is a grant.

A student loan is exactly that. A loan,  so why can’t a student receive a DaDa then apply for a loan if they change their career path later on in life. A loan after all needs to be repaid. 

 

Thank you 

It's not the funding, it's the level of qualification. 

 

To be eligible to apply for undergraduate funding, you can't already have undertaken a higher education qualification.    I am assuming the trinity diploma is what rules this out.

 

https://www.gov.uk/student-finance/who-qualifies

 

That's the theory anyway .. 

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1 hour ago, balletbean said:

I’m sorry to hear your issues taking so long to resolve. 

Thank you, although in the end, it was far too late for a resolution. DD walked out in summer 2017, and hasn't been anywhere near a dance studio since. 

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13 minutes ago, taxi4ballet said:

Thank you, although in the end, it was far too late for a resolution. DD walked out in summer 2017, and hasn't been anywhere near a dance studio since. 

Oh I am so sorry to hear that. Best wishes to your daughter and whatever the future holds for her. ☺️

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1 hour ago, meadowblythe said:

It's not the funding, it's the level of qualification. 

 

To be eligible to apply for undergraduate funding, you can't already have undertaken a higher education qualification.    I am assuming the trinity diploma is what rules this out.

 

https://www.gov.uk/student-finance/who-qualifies

 

That's the theory anyway .. 

Thank you.  Very interesting. 

 

I would guess a pupil that that has gained a Diploma level 6 with a DaDa could be eligible for funding all thanks to the small paragraph at the bottom. Especially if special consideration is given for a dancer that’s had to change their career path on medical grounds. 

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Posted (edited)
On 29/05/2019 at 12:29, RuthE said:

Not that this is a subject I know a huge amount about, but I was struck by the comment about "joining an established year group" at Elmhurst. Is this really an issue? I've got the impression from reading other threads on this forum that there is so much movement between ballet schools at the post-GCSE stage - as well as students going full-time vocational who weren't before - that most people are in the same boat.

Totally agree - don’t  fret regarding joining “established year groups at Elmhurst” - the year groups change year on year. Y10 & Y11 for GCSES are the most stable but otherwise DC come and go for various reasons. The friendship groups change as the DC mature - just as they do non-Vocational schools.

Edited by SouthernBelle
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1 hour ago, balletbean said:

Thank you.  Very interesting. 

 

I would guess a pupil that that has gained a Diploma level 6 with a DaDa could be eligible for funding all thanks to the small paragraph at the bottom. Especially if special consideration is given for a dancer that’s had to change their career path on medical grounds. 

 

If you leave the course early under medical grounds and do not attain your level 6 Diploma then yes, you may get funding. If however you complete the course and DO get your level 6 Diploma then you have been deemed to already have a 'higher education' qualification and therefore no SFE funding is available for a second degree or another higher educational qualification (unless healthcare). Having said all that it probably could depend on the individuals personal circumstances. It's a minefield really and you won't actually know for sure until you have started the ball rolling and actually applied for Student Finance........everyone tells you a different story if you phone SFE!!  I am just quoting on our own personal circumstance. 

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Posted (edited)

Going back to the discussion point on parental involvement (or lack of) fir degree students even if aged under 18....

If all parties are in agreement (parents/guardians/students/college) cannot a legally binding written permission to share information be put in place whereby a young adult can have the support & protection from their family that they would have were they in regular year 12/13 education....? 

I shall certainly be looking into this should any successful auditions/offers/choice mean my  DD start a degree course at 16!

I caught end of a radio 4 discussion on similar topic whereby an undergrad (not dance related) has taken her own life & the family were horrified to hear that the uni were aware of build up of problems but no one alerted family due to this (stupid) confidentiality overriding common sense. How on earth young people expected to go from a full on nurturing home life with family to 100% independence is beyond me.... & let’s face it most will still be getting family help financially & with visits (& laundry!!!). I do understand some may choice fir whatever reason to sever family contact/involvement but I think many would welcome sharing of info within clearly defined parameters....

Edited by Peanut68
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I’m currently researching music courses for my son and have noticed that at one or two universities in their policies they say that in exceptional circumstances when they believe a student to be at significant risk or vulnerable.  they can over-ride confidentiality and contact parents or health professionals. (Pertinent to me as son has an asd)

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Remember also hearing that age 27 is nearer the reality for what mos considered becoming a fully fledged adult in today’s world! I think dancers are certainly ahead of this (thank goodness!). I do think where families support with housing/finance etc then there should be agreed 2 way communication channels that are always open. 

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Peanut is right. As student loan applications demand parental finance details, then parents are involved and should be treated with more respect by the institutions they are funding!

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Peanut68 said:

whereby an undergrad (not dance related) has taken her own life & the family were horrified to hear that the uni were aware of build up of problems but no one alerted family due to this (stupid) confidentiality overriding common sense. How on earth young people expected to go from a full on nurturing home life with family to 100% independence is beyond me

 

Let me offer a different perspective: I have 30 years experience of dealing with undergrads - so I'm speaking about legal adults here. I appreciate it's different for those under 18. But at 18, people are deemed legally adult, and some of the things posters are demanding here are illegal, and put university staff in compromising situations. These demands are unreasonable in current legal circumstances.

 

Sadly, what I see each year, is that sadly, for a small minority of troubled students, the home life is - sadly - not "nurturing home life." Sometimes, from what I gather from troubled students, it's the home life, and/or the behaviour of a parent which is actually the problem. Ad even if this is not objectively true, it is the student's perception.

 

And surely it is a parent's job to gradually & age-appropriately train their children for independence?

 

I teach the student - my relationship is with the student, not the parent (and actually, at universities, it's still mostly the taxpayer who is paying the tuition fee, not the parent). It would be a breach of my trust relationship with a student to inform their parents without the student's permission - in some cases I've dealt with, I cannot imagine what havoc I could have caused, had I contacted parents.

 

 

How do I know the circumstances of a student's family relationships, unless they tell me? They may have a different story about family life than their parents, but my working relationship is with the student. I am legally not permitted to contact parents unless I have the written permission of the legally adult undergrad.

 

The situation of a recent student suicide was that the young person was quite seriously unwell before university. There were adjustments, but these were not enough for the illness - however, sometimes it is just not possible to make adjustments and teach the full course. . As educators, we have a responsibility to teach and assess appropriately. I've had many experiences of working with a student who basically is not well enough to be at university, but they have become attached to the idea that being at university is the one thing that they are successful at, and the one thing that keeps them from having to admit the extent of their illness. Of course, this is a disastrous way of thinking, and academic staff spend a lot of time (and our own emotional/mental well-being) trying to assist and guide these young people. But you can't get a degree for being ill, as harsh as that sounds (and I know it's very tough in some instances). There are mechanisms for intercalation/leave of absence. In my experience, students who take these up end up doing very well. We once had a student write our staff team a card to say thank you for forcing her to choose between dropping out completely or taking a year's leave of absence. She chose the latter, worked and rested for a year, and sailed through the rest of her degree. 

 

Most academic staff take their professional responsibility for the care & nurturing of undergrads very seriously. But universities cannot supply the deficiencies of the NHS, dysfunctional families, or chronic illness or disability. We can make "reasonable accommodation" but we have a responsibility to hold students to the highest of standards (in what is one of the world's BEST education system, which attracts learners from all over the world).

 

I think these issues are diminished if they're reduced simply to "I'm paying for this." That attitude - frankly - is becoming part of the problem in some instances.

 

In dance training, where it feels that time is of the essence, of course these things feel more urgent and thus more difficult. But in the end, we all need physical and mental well-being. 

Edited by Kate_N
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2 hours ago, Kate_N said:

And surely it is a parent's job to gradually & age-appropriately train their children for independence?

 

Do what now? Next you’ll be suggesting they should know how to feed themselves or use public transport before they’re 21.

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3 hours ago, Kate_N said:

I think these issues are diminished if they're reduced simply to "I'm paying for this." That attitude - frankly - is becoming part of the problem in some instances.

 

If I were giving/lending a member of my family money to buy a house, I would want to make sure the survey didn't show any major faults.  Likewise if it were for a car, it would be thoroughly checked.  There seems to be a doublethink about whether the student is an independent adult or a dependent adult.  

 

It may be some parents are a problem, but it may also be that some institutions are the problem, and a young person having difficultes may not be strong enough to say this to the very people who are causing the problem.

 

This discussion was about under 18s doing dance degree courses and parents being excluded, but I believe there are some real problems with many Degree courses across the board these days.

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6 hours ago, Kate_N said:

 

Let me offer a different perspective: I have 30 years experience of dealing with undergrads - so I'm speaking about legal adults here. I appreciate it's different for those under 18. But at 18, people are deemed legally adult, and some of the things posters are demanding here are illegal, and put university staff in compromising situations. These demands are unreasonable in current legal circumstances.

 

Sadly, what I see each year, is that sadly, for a small minority of troubled students, the home life is - sadly - not "nurturing home life." Sometimes, from what I gather from troubled students, it's the home life, and/or the behaviour of a parent which is actually the problem. Ad even if this is not objectively true, it is the student's perception.

 

And surely it is a parent's job to gradually & age-appropriately train their children for independence?

 

I teach the student - my relationship is with the student, not the parent (and actually, at universities, it's still mostly the taxpayer who is paying the tuition fee, not the parent). It would be a breach of my trust relationship with a student to inform their parents without the student's permission - in some cases I've dealt with, I cannot imagine what havoc I could have caused, had I contacted parents.

 

 

How do I know the circumstances of a student's family relationships, unless they tell me? They may have a different story about family life than their parents, but my working relationship is with the student. I am legally not permitted to contact parents unless I have the written permission of the legally adult undergrad.

 

The situation of a recent student suicide was that the young person was quite seriously unwell before university. There were adjustments, but these were not enough for the illness - however, sometimes it is just not possible to make adjustments and teach the full course. . As educators, we have a responsibility to teach and assess appropriately. I've had many experiences of working with a student who basically is not well enough to be at university, but they have become attached to the idea that being at university is the one thing that they are successful at, and the one thing that keeps them from having to admit the extent of their illness. Of course, this is a disastrous way of thinking, and academic staff spend a lot of time (and our own emotional/mental well-being) trying to assist and guide these young people. But you can't get a degree for being ill, as harsh as that sounds (and I know it's very tough in some instances). There are mechanisms for intercalation/leave of absence. In my experience, students who take these up end up doing very well. We once had a student write our staff team a card to say thank you for forcing her to choose between dropping out completely or taking a year's leave of absence. She chose the latter, worked and rested for a year, and sailed through the rest of her degree. 

 

Most academic staff take their professional responsibility for the care & nurturing of undergrads very seriously. But universities cannot supply the deficiencies of the NHS, dysfunctional families, or chronic illness or disability. We can make "reasonable accommodation" but we have a responsibility to hold students to the highest of standards (in what is one of the world's BEST education system, which attracts learners from all over the world).

 

I think these issues are diminished if they're reduced simply to "I'm paying for this." That attitude - frankly - is becoming part of the problem in some instances.

 

In dance training, where it feels that time is of the essence, of course these things feel more urgent and thus more difficult. But in the end, we all need physical and mental well-being. 

 

This entire post has incensed me .

 

You have absolutely no idea what it is like to be the parent of a child who has been totally let down by the system that was supposed to be supporting them.

 

My dd was diagnosed with a specific condition by a HCP attached to the school shortly after starting her vocational training at 16 (think something like dyslexia or aspergers but not those - something that required additional pastoral support anyway) and all her dance teachers and the admin staff were supposed to have been made fully aware of her condition.  It didn't happen and they were not informed. DD (and we) believed they had been told and they all knew, but they didn't.  There were a number of things that I'm sure would have been handled entirely differently had they known about it.

 

There was also another small matter of them taking nearly 5 months after an injury before they finally agreed to send her for an X-ray & MRI scan. And even then she practically had to beg them.

 

No young person aged 16 or 17 should end up feeling abandoned by the very people who were supposed to be looking after her; and left to cope alone and unsupported.

 

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Some universities have “fit to study policies” where they say they will intervene if a student becomes physically or mentally ill to the extent that their studies are not helping which may include contacting the next of kin. So it absolutely CAN be done. 

 

Friends who who have children doing what might be perceived as normal academic studies say that in many/most cases their child is being supported better at university than they ever were at school (in terms of SEN/mental health etc). The problem with many of these vocational degree colleges is that they simply do not have the understanding/set up/inclination to provide this support in many cases as the many stories I have heard (both on here and in real life) testify. 

 

My husband is an “educator” on a degree course. He has never felt that his responsibilities lie only in educating that student. 

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This is a (rather long i'll admit) quote from the small University College in Belfast my son hopes to be attending in September to study Liberal Arts with History. " Education is a creative and inspired activity through which we can fully realise our human attributes and help build a world in which all people come to share and experience their common humanity. If, in practice, education is reduced to preparing individuals to compete in the labour market, it leaves people and communities completely ill-prepared for many of the major components of a well-balanced and fulfilling life, such as relationships, parenthood, vocation, community-building, self-expression and recreation. Education must not only prepare students for the world of work but for life in and for the community". Taken from the prospectus of St. Mary's University College Belfast.

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Some really pertinent comments in this thread & have to admit I have  not yet worked out how to highlights just a small section to quite from a post.... apologies. 

Good to get different perspectives & I think it is the young people themselves who could benefit from the views & hindsight’s people can share...this forum is one useful platform for this amongst others. 

I do agree that actually perhaps we Parents bare more responsibility I’m not preparing our offspring to become capable of coping with young adulthood. The tendency of society at large (& the crazy financial disparity between incomes & living costs) has tended to keep them kids far longer..... living at home longer, the almost expectation to be part funded once ‘independant’ - fuelled by the infuriating ads suggesting hey parents, equity release or take on a mortgage or be guarantor for that first rung on the property ladder.....

I think we Parents along with educators need to offer more life skills along the way....financial planning & budgeting, cooking, cleaning, time managing, how to build & maintain successful fulfilling relationships in all life areas (friends/family/colleagues/partners/even with strangers).

Needless to say, I sit here thinking gosh... I better get a start on all this if DD does achieve her goal for Upper School dance training....Already as a boarder she has had to learn a level of independence that most of her primary school peers have never experienced & probably won’t until they are 18+ going to unis/colleges/jobs.

But 16 does seem terribly young in today’s society to be independently living.... am just hoping that good, safe, happy, community accommodation will be affordable.... ideally the sort that can provide a bridge between life as a dependent where all pretty much done for them & the ‘you’re on your own now kid’ in the big wide world! Sorry.... but rambling & all over the shop here.... just all so emotive!

 

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Posted (edited)

@taxi4ballet I'm sorry my post has incensed you. I thought I'd made it clear I was commenting on the posts on this thread that had moved to discussing more general parental concerns about young people 18 and over, from discussing young people under 18. Obviously, I wasn't clear enough on that. My post was written from my experience of teaching young people aged 18 years and over - in this country legally adults. I can't and wasn't commenting on situations such as that of your DD which sounds very very difficult. No wonder you're angry.

 

I was speaking from long experience as an educator - 30 years in various university systems internationally. It is a different perspective from that of a parent, but  hope it's useful to give you an insider's view of what from the outside can seem like large and closed institutions. I also have an overview of teaching generations of young people. All points of view are valid - take what you need and leave the rest. But information is always useful, I think.

 

To those with their children over 18 at universities: in my experience (of the UK, USA, and Australia) there is a lot of support, both informally from academic staff, and from university support services, but students have to ask for it. We are not your children's parents - you are - but we are all interested in nurturing young people and helping them to thrive as learners, and as people. But we all have different roles in this, and all contributions should be respected. But as parents you should not demand that educators break the law - which several posts upthread were close to doing - and I've had direct personal experience of parents contacting me and requiring me to break the law. One, a solicitor, just laughed when I pointed out that they were asking me to break the law. That sort of person - thank goodness - is a tiny minority. 

 

Please let's not forget - most young people thrive. And most families are a central part of this, of course! And in the rare cases when they don't, it's rarely a simple matter of one person's/one institutional negligence or fault. It's complex.

 

Also I'd say that we shouldn't forget that a certain amount of difficulty - and even adversity - is actually necessary for learning and growing up! If I were to think back to my own experiences - I did my A Levels at 16, worked away from home for a year as a stable lad, went to university at only just 18, moved from a rural family home (nearest neighbour about half a mile away) to a large city. It was tough, and scary. But exciting - and both the difficulty and the excitingness were seen as normal and a necessary part of my growing up & maturing. I was lucky - like aspiring professional dancers, I was extremely driven in my goal of what I wanted to do, and that made the difficult scary stuff bearable, because I knew this was what I had to do, to get to where I wanted to go. I'm sure we all have similar experiences ...

Edited by Kate_N
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1 hour ago, Kate_N said:

Also I'd say that we shouldn't forget that a certain amount of difficulty - and even adversity - is actually necessary for learning and growing up! 

Yes it is, but not to spend 5 months trying to dance with an undiagnosed broken bone in your foot, and finding that no-one will take your concerns seriously because they think that you are swinging the lead.

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On 01/06/2019 at 14:42, Pas de Quatre said:

 

If I were giving/lending a member of my family money to buy a house, I would want to make sure the survey didn't show any major faults.  Likewise if it were for a car, it would be thoroughly checked.  There seems to be a doublethink about whether the student is an independent adult or a dependent adult.  

 

It may be some parents are a problem, but it may also be that some institutions are the problem, and a young person having difficultes may not be strong enough to say this to the very people who are causing the problem.

 

This discussion was about under 18s doing dance degree courses and parents being excluded, but I believe there are some real problems with many Degree courses across the board these days.

I know of several DC who have thrived at 16 on the Dance Degree Courses and several DC who have been terribly let-down by the schools that do A Levels. The schools who offer A Levels do not always communicate as you would expect and often children who are struggling with their A Levels are ‘encouraged’ to drop them to concentrate on their dancing and therefore sadly finish with no qualifications except the Diploma. 

 

I’ve been in and around the Vocational roller coaster for 8 years & have seen many highs but also some terrible lows regarding academics, communication and rehabilitation. Some DC sail through and some hit every bump in the road. Degree Courses or A Levels - different environments suits different DC.

 

Graduate employment is very important too......... it’s not always easy to see beyond the initial ‘Sparkle’ of Open Days and glossy brochures🙃

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To be fair I have known lotsw of "normal" schools and colleges encourage those who are struggling to do A levels encourage them to drop them in favour of a more vocational course.  At my dd's school there is at least one Btec available, it would b egreat of there could be more options to suit those who are and are not academically inclined but within the very small numbers of students at vocational schools I appreciate this is difficult.  A levels do not suit everyone.

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I think it is appropriate that the confidential information of students aged 18 or over is not shared without the student's consent except in very exceptional circumstances (i.e. the law requires it), since in most places including the UK people aged 18 or over are legally adults.

 

I do not really understand why the same rules would apply to students aged 16-17 doing degree courses when they are not legally adults. I wonder whether how other actual university students under 18 (e.g. gifted student, late birthday) would be treated in regards to what information can be shared with e.g. parents in most other unis? I do understand though that even for students under 18, sharing information with parents could make the situation worse, but then that could apply even to a toddler or young child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by DancingtoDance

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