My teen wants to leave school after bad NCEA results – help!

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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 find out about Gateway or STAR programmes at school. They can spend time in a workplace to experience a real work environment and try out a job that interests them, while they also study for NCEA and industry credits.
    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.
  • 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

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