In our last article in this series we tackled poor NCEA results - does this mean a change of subjects or direction is a good idea? This time, we discuss how bad NCEA results may mean your teen wants to leave school. Read on for stay-at-school options you can discuss with them, and ideas on how to help if leaving does seem best.
Your teen doesn't want to go back to school
- Check that it’s not a problem with the current school. Sound your teen out about how they would feel about switching schools.
- Ask them what they will do if they aren’t going to be at school. In other words, do they have a plan that could actually work? They may surprise you!
- Decide whether you’re able – and prepared – to support your teen financially if they don’t have a job. You could suggest they can leave school as soon as they have a job to go to, or a course that they are enrolled in.
- Suggest your teen try your school's Youth Guarantee, Gateway or STAR programme. They can study towards a national certificate, learn parts of a trade, get work experience and earn NCEA credits - while still at school. This means less time in class - and more time out in the world.
- If your teen can’t get a job or training, suggest that if they return to school they use that year to build up their skills to make them more employable. For example, they could get their driver’s licence or a part-time paid or volunteer job. Use our Know Your Skills tool to show them that being at school can help build up useful skills for the future.
- Are incentives an option in your household? If so, you could discuss an acceptable "carrot", such as a new smartphone, if they pass a certain number of standards – to give them motivation to stay on at school.
- Check what help is available through the Ministry of Social Development’s (MSD’s) Youth Service, which helps young people get into education, training and work-based learning. MSD can assist with organising work experience and they run the Limited Service Volunteer course (a physically challenging motivational programme).
Your teen wants to start work rather than going back to school
- This may not be what you want! But it could be the best thing for them. Find out about the advantages of a gap year
- Remember this doesn’t mean the end of their study. Your teen may realise, through real work experience, that they do want a better job with a qualification. And at that point, most universities and polytechnics offer bridging courses for people who don’t meet the usual entry requirements
- Check MSD’s Youth Service, which helps rangatahi get into work-based learning, and the $3K to Christchurch initiative, which helps people find jobs in the Christchurch area.
Need more help?
If you need help, you can contact our trained career advisers between 8am and 5pm every week day, for free.
- Call us on 0800 222 733 (free from mobiles)
- Chat online with us