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Positive Feelings about Leaving School

All 63 participants talked about what was positive about leaving school. One young person on the autistic spectrum said that:

“[leaving school] makes you feel like an independent person …. I felt nervous in 1st year and a bit more confident in 2nd year but by the time I was 13 I felt I was stronger and now I’ve been gradually growing up over the years.”

4 young people (2 young carers, a trans man and a care-experienced young person) talked about the importance of being able to put the past behind and not have people view or judge them on how they used to be:

‘I’m quite excited that people won’t know who I was. It’s nice to not spend time with people who still slip up with my name and I can introduce myself to them [as who I am now]’ Transgender young person

Of the 13 young people who said that what was good about leaving school was there was less stress, 5 specifically talked about the pressure of exams:

“I’ve broken down both years and the work was too much – I couldn’t think straight …. the stress came from all the deadlines coming at the same time.” Young person on the autistic spectrum

Two young people felt that college was less formal and more relaxed (and hence less stressful):

“They text you and keep in touch with you if you are off, and send you the work needed to help you catch up – this didn’t happen in school at all.”

School being too noisy and crowded was a big issue for 6 of the young people, all of whom identified as being on the autism spectrum:

“… your head would go nuts – I would take the long way round school so I didn’t have to go through the concourse.”

Teachers were a negative aspect of school for 6 young people as were negative peer groups (3):

“I had a bad time at school – poor social group ….. at school people are quite immature so it’s good to leave that environment behind of bitchiness.” Care-experienced young person

One young person spoke about being able to learn and study subjects they were interested in, not what they had to:

“I don’t have to do maths anymore or various qualifications to get to where I want to be – I can just do what I want to do now in terms of learning and that’s really great.”

Getting a job was listed by 19 young people with 7 of these saying it would be good to earn money:

“Jobs, money – having money means you have more freedom and can get a car.”

For another young person, getting a job was about being able to do their desired career:

“I am very excited about my future that I’m passionate about and enjoy.”