Advanced search

Feeling deflated after rejection letter

(94 Posts)
sobbingmummy Thu 23-Jan-14 10:46:30

I feel like someone has taken my little boys life and thrown it away.
We just received a letter to say he wont be called for interview after his 11+ exam.
DS is super bright, nerdy but street smart too. He wins most academic at his prep every year, G&T in school, always gets top marks in tests.
I didn't do lots of tutoring because I thought he was okay.
I'm so upset for him. What went wrong?

sobbingmummy Thu 23-Jan-14 11:29:17

Of course I said all of those things to him. I was upbeat, told him its their loss, all my fault, not his fault etc. But its the first time in his little life hes had to deal with rejection, its a lot for any child at any age. Sitting four exams in just over a week is a lot of pressure for these young children.

JustAnotherUserName Thu 23-Jan-14 11:33:37

Oh for the joys of universal non-selective education (comprehensives!). Then none of us would have this angst.

sobbingmummy Thu 23-Jan-14 11:33:55

Thank you for your comments.

My Eldest has just called to say he got all A* in his mock GCSEs. yippy

Wishing everyone waiting for offer's the best of luck

wordfactory Thu 23-Jan-14 11:35:22

sobbing when we put our DC in for entrance exams to competitive selective schools we know the odds are against us. We know that we are setting our DC up for possible rejection.

No point crying after the event.

And no point getting all bitter and trying to tell yourself that the schools in question are in fact awful and stupid and cynical. If that were true then why apply?

Disappointment and rejection are a fact of life. And those of us who aim high will always face far more of it.

curlew Thu 23-Jan-14 11:36:57

Can I just say- please try not to talk about "fault"? And please don't blame yourself to him- however crap about it you feel. Children are very loyal to their mothers and it will upset him. It's nobody's fault- it's just one of those things. "Oh, well never mind. Onwards and upwards- what's next?" is the tone to take.

wordfactory Thu 23-Jan-14 11:38:46

I disagree curlew.

We are parents, not super humans. We make mistakes. We muck up. And we should admit it.

Fortunately most of these mistakes cause no lasting harm and everyone learns and moves on!

justfishing Thu 23-Jan-14 11:39:12

I don't think telling him it is your fault is a good strategy. It is no one's fault! I think that you need to refocus and talk about other schools and the positive aspects of them. By the way I think the pressure is not good and in time you will see that this though uncomfortable was absolutely the best thing

FrauMoose Thu 23-Jan-14 11:42:08

I remember deciding two exams were enough. One was for the grammar school 10 minutes walk away. One was for a comprehensive that could offer places out of area for ability in its specialist subject.

Both were in a week and my daughter was tearful in the car coming back from the second one, when she remembered a question that she might have answered incorrectly.

I told her it didn't matter. None of this mattered. She said it did because everyone at school thought she was clever and expected her to get a place at one of these secondary schools, and would be surprised if she didn't.

At that point I remember feeling angry with the whole system, and the fact that we were caught up in it. (Although my daughter had herself identified both schools as ones that she wanted to attend.)

Children's unhappiness does pass, fortunately. They tend to get a lot happier when they do know where they are going, and feel confident that it's a place where they will make new friends.

curlew Thu 23-Jan-14 11:43:33

We are parents, not super humans. We make mistakes. We muck up. And we should admit it."

I absolutely agree with that. I just don't think so in this case, because you don't want to get into a "it was all my fault, darling" "no it wasn't mummy,I should have done better" cycle. No post mortems or breast beating- just "what's next?"

sobbingmummy Thu 23-Jan-14 11:45:14

Wordfactory, I really didn't give much thought to the final result that's why it was a bit of a shock.
I was a bit hysterical Mother earlier. now I'm rational again.
Thank you Curlew but DS took pleasure in the fact that it was all my fault and nothing to do with him, all children are different I suppose.

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Thu 23-Jan-14 11:45:56

He may well bounce back much more quickly than you anticipate. I understand completely that when your child is sobbing you feel absolutely dreadful and want to take the hurt away - and that it makes you hurt dreadfully too.

It isn't the end of the world though. Perhaps he just needs to get the disappointment out of his system - or just maybe, pressure and expectation are not things he really thrives on - so this could even be a blessing in disguise and you know to take your foot off the pedal and let things unfold as they will? If he is bright, nerdy and yet street smart then it sounds to me as if he will do well in all sorts of environments.

sobbingmummy Thu 23-Jan-14 11:52:03

Frau,I told her it didn't matter. None of this mattered. She said it did because everyone at school thought she was clever and expected her to get a place at one of these secondary schools, and would be surprised if she didn't.

This is exactly how my son felt. To be perceived as the cleverest in the class and then fail the first round. They all know 200/400 get interviews so its quite embarrassing

FrauMoose Thu 23-Jan-14 11:57:19

One of the things that I loathe most is the idea that it's all the parents responsibility. They must choose the 'right' schools, employ the 'right' tutors, purchase the 'right' test papers. Etc etc.

A genuinely intelligent child might be encouraged to start seeing that it's about an arbitrary system of testing, in which results can be skewed by income and privilege and very influenced by how a child might happen to feel on any particular day.

Encouraging a bright child to believe that these factors should be ignored in favour of the 'all Mum's fault' approach seems rather short-sighted to me.

Quinteszilla Thu 23-Jan-14 11:57:36

Well, it is competitive.

My son sat 3 exams last year, one for a super selective where they had 6 spaces and hundreds of applicants (due to 10+ sat the year before, and children moving up from prep), the other two more realistic with around 100 places for 500/600 applicants. My son was realistic, and he knew his own work. After the super selective exam he said straight out "mum, I did not get in, and that is ok. I saw the odds, so many children for so few places, I know I would need a 100% for both numeracy and literacy, and I mucked up one question. At least" So he just shrugged when he was not selected for interview.

He did get to interview stage and got offers from the other two. He is however now thriving at one of those schools, a selective independent, not super selective. Mine was state educated, and with big holes in his learning owing to having lived 3 years in Norway where they start school at 6, and follow a much slower pace. He saw a tutor for an hour a week for a year prior to exams, but this was more to help him bridge the gaps in his knowledge. Going private was a last minute choice when we realized he would not get into the RC secondaries we wanted.

Look at it this way, it is not just about finding which boy is right for the different schools, but what school is right for your boy.

IDK Thu 23-Jan-14 11:59:08

You have my sympathies OP. I've been there, got the t-shirt.sad
I thought that DS was a dead-cert seeing as he was amongst the top in a top prep school. Do look out for your DS because it is awful to have to face the other pupils who did get in. Everyone is bouncing around feeling very happy and pleased for themselves and you have to put on a brave face and pretend to be pleased for them.

DS went to a comp instead. Came out with decent enough results and is now at an RG University.

sobbingmummy Thu 23-Jan-14 12:25:25

I believe that the schools are not always looking for the brightest students. IMO they are looking for dedicated parents, parents that tutor their children for years to pass the entrance exam.
Why dont schools take CATs results into consideration? What is the point in the VR paper if a child can be taught to do it from a Bond book?
My DS just got Gold in the junior maths challenge but the other boys in his class only got the bronze.
It is my fault that he failed to get an interview. Had I had more time to tutor to that particular test rather that making what I was teaching him fun, I am sure he would have at least got an interview.

christine44 Thu 23-Jan-14 12:26:12

I have 2 dd the oldest got into ss grammar but younger only scored 98.5% not enough. We appealed still no joy so she went to local comp. She is so happy, loads of lovely freinds, teachers all love her enthusiasm and accademically she is thriving . Forcast A* in all subjects. Eldest dd loves her ssg school too and its a great school but has really long days. What works for one doesn't necessarily work for the other. Sometimes its nice to be the brightest rather than middle of the pack. I didn't tutor either and I was really cross with myself when she didnt get place but now it doesnt matter

sobbingmummy Thu 23-Jan-14 12:27:48

idk, DS went to a comp instead. Came out with decent enough results and is now at an RG University.

Having older children I do think that it is more to do with the child than the school they attend.

Well done to your DS, Idk.

IDK Thu 23-Jan-14 12:37:49


Going back to your original question - what went wrong? - I discovered years later that mine has a SpLD. As he got older it got blindingly obvious but I wish that I had known then what I know now.

Shootingatpigeons Thu 23-Jan-14 12:38:31

I know of a few very bright boys who were rejected by schools that would have been more than happy to have them at 11 or 13 because of this gentleman's agreement that exists between Prep School and Senior School Heads . They have gone on to more selective schools at 13. I could even tell you the Preps locally guilty of applying leverage, and frankly they are doing so in place of being so excellent the parents want to keep them there. I also think that some boys mature more quickly and outgrow a school. It can look quite ridiculous when you see a full grown 13 year old with stubble in that cute braided blazer that looked so sweet at 7. From the point of view of a mother of girls it is a restrictive practise / racket.

FWIW as I have girls I know of plenty of girls from state schools who got into very selective indies without tutoring, let alone from Prep Schools ( but then they do not keep their pupils back deliberately). They are looking for bright pupils with potential not cramming.

However all that has been said about keeping it low key here is right, present it that the school wasn't right for him at this stage, he didn't fail and helping your son develop resilience by getting some feedback and moving on will serve him well in the future.

sobbingmummy Thu 23-Jan-14 12:39:40

What is a SpLD? Sorry I am new here and not sure of all the abbreviations

IDK Thu 23-Jan-14 12:40:08

I believe that the schools are not always looking for the brightest students.

True. They are looking for the students who perform best in league tables exams. That does not always correlate with the brightest.

FrauMoose Thu 23-Jan-14 12:41:10

I assume you did what you felt was reasonable and right.

My partner's ex went down one particular route. (Paying for tutors to do lots of boring coaching.)

My Spouse and I went down a different road. (Buying a few test papers, saying our daughter could practise if she wanted.)

I think all the adults concerned took responsibility for these choices.

My stepkids were put in for entrance exams by their mother. My daughter basically opted to put herself in, though we filled in the application form. However all three children all understood that they gave a difficult exam their best shot, and that their parents were proud of them in a way that was not affected by the outcome.

Time to move forward.

IDK Thu 23-Jan-14 12:46:34

SpLD = Specific Learning Difficulty.
DS is quite bright but some wiring in his brain is not all there so it impairs his comprehension and his processing can be slow. Speed of processing is one of the things they test in the 11+

Applefallingfromthetree2 Thu 23-Jan-14 12:48:14

I'm not saying this is not important or distressing for you. But in the scale of things how important is it really? If your DS is bright he will make it with love support and encouragement, even if, heaven forbid ,he has to go to the local comp.

In my family we all went to good universities, including Oxbridge, and not one of us went to private schools or took the 11 plus. I won't deny private education doesn't add value but IMHO this happens because this type of education builds confidence and a sense of entitlement.

Don't get too upset, it will only make him feel bad.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now