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Getting rejected from schools

(107 Posts)
cantstopstressing Thu 11-Feb-21 17:44:27

As is the case for many others, we are expecting to hear back from two schools tomorrow and one next week. I am not that hopeful mainly due to sheer number of applicants. I am wondering what to tell DS if he gets rejected. I don't want to kill his confidence as he is a bright boy and worked so hard. Any advice on what to say?

OP’s posts: |
WombatChocolate Thu 11-Feb-21 17:55:45

The letter will say all kinds of nice things even if it’s a rejection. Read him those bits and just be honest and say he did really well but there were limited places and the school can’t give one to everyone. And have some lovely cakes or treats ready. Reassure him that there will be a great school place for him (so important to say this whatever you actually feel - the kids need to know they don’t need to worry and you as the parent have it in hand). And if you can have some activities planned for the day or weekend (tricky at mo) then it will help take his mind off it. Avoid too much texting friends etc if others are in the same place. Actually not being at school at moment should help a bit with managing to avoid playground chatter which sometimes doesn’t help.

Hope tomorrow goes well, whatever the news.

XelaM Fri 12-Feb-21 02:34:18

I would say he got onto the waiting list and make a big deal about what an amazing achievement that is given that more kids applied than ever, so he feels like he achieved something.

Zodlebud Fri 12-Feb-21 08:39:46

If you haven’t already rewarded him then do so before the results come out. That way it’s very clear that you are proud of all his hard work and not which schools he has or hasn’t got an offer from.

We gave my daughter my old iPhone on the morning she sat the 11+ grammar test. She wasn’t expecting it and she went into that exam as high as a kite. It took all the pressure off her as she knew she had just needed to do her best.

Then it’s a life lesson. We don’t always get what we want no matter how hard we work. Learning how to deal with rejection is part of life. It’s not about failing, it’s that those schools weren’t right for him.

XelaM Fri 12-Feb-21 09:13:52

Honestly I would lie as much as possible to spare his feelings. Rejection is horrible and nothing positive about it, especially at such a young age

ThatIsNotMyUsername Fri 12-Feb-21 09:15:47

It means that the school isn’t the right one for him. Schools have different teaching methods and cultures - they know that some Kids just won’t thrive there. You say he’s bright - I’m sure he is - and schools don’t always pick the brightest or brainiest, but those who will flourish there.

Good luck.

Longingfornormality Fri 12-Feb-21 09:37:48

Does your DC know about the deadlines? Ours is quite oblivious to this all (we’re from a state primary and the kids just don’t talk about secondary school applications to each other) and because we are waiting for news from state schools as well as a couple of independents, our tactic is to wait until 1 March to break the news. If you have applied to state schools, then you will get SOMETHING, even if not your first choice. We have tried to stay upbeat about all the choices so that it doesn’t come as too much of a disappointment. We’re also hoping that there might be movement on waitlists by then.

If that’s not an option I think really important to reward your DC for their efforts, they can only do their best. In the end I have to keep reminding myself that it’s the parents’ encouragement, love and support that counts more than any school...

Good luck.

cantstopstressing Thu 18-Feb-21 20:29:41

Urggh, so he got accepted into one school (our least favourite), wait list for 2nd choice and rejected from top choice. He has an offer from another school which probably is probably his/my third choice which I think we will accept as I am not sure what if any movement there will be on the wait list for school 2. DS seems ok, luckily, but I am angry and upset. I don't really understand how DS, who is top set in maths and english, plays sports at county level, glowing references, gets outright rejected. The schools in question are selective but not in the same league as City or Highgate but still 750 applicants to 90 places and 500 to 50 places. DS did ask me, what was the point in working hard for 2 years to get nowhere and I don't have an answer for him. One girl at his school who is in the same maths and english sets as DS got a place at a highly sought after school which is hard to explain to DS as he routinely scores higher than her in class tests. He doesn't get it and neither do I. I honestly think it may be time for us to emigrate to a country with a better and fairer education system.

OP’s posts: |
IdesMarchof Thu 18-Feb-21 20:39:55

I know this will be annoying but you could just move out of London? We did and it’s so much easier. Lots of space, good schools and easier pace of life.

IdesMarchof Thu 18-Feb-21 20:40:54

It felt like a big step and we loved north London but life has been good outside the m25 and in many areas you can pick the schools you want not the other way round

Chicchicchicchiclana Thu 18-Feb-21 20:41:12

These are private schools yes?

Quartz2208 Thu 18-Feb-21 20:45:57

You need to change your thinking I think OP.

Firstly dont compare your DS to the girl in his class. Its a different playing field and different applicants. Its a test that she clearly did well in.

Secondly - the applicants for all these schools tend to be the same - everything you have said about your DS is wonderful and great but probably describes most of the children going for them - its just how that part of the system works. It would come down to the smallest of things given the applicants to the places ratio.

And you can simply move out of London where the need for such a system diminishes. There is a completely fair educational system outside of that

Stokey Thu 18-Feb-21 20:45:57

The private school system is hardly representative of the country's education system, as it applies to a tiny percentage of people. The vast majority of people just go to one of their local schools and don't get involved in any of these exams at 10/11. Emigrate if you feel it would suit your family but don't blame the education system.

You've answered your own question as to why he may but have got in, the schools are not "super selective" but still only 10% of applicants get a place. It's unlucky that your son didn't get the place he wanted but he has other options, and you said he's ok with it. There's really no point getting upset that another child that you perceive to be less able than him got a place. You have no idea how each child performed on the day. There are lots of people on these threads who didn't get exactly the offers they wanted.

I think there's quite a lot of movement on the waiting list particularly after state results come out and people decide whether to go state or private. So hold on for a couple of weeks and see where you are then.

LIZS Thu 18-Feb-21 21:15:30

You chose to get swept along, entered him for highly selective schools and raised his hopes. You could move almost anywhere in UK and find alternatives, selective and not, fee paying or not. Most children don't go through this process.

Iirc his English skills were comparatively weaker, which may well be a reason why he was not chosen in comparison with others, or maybe he did not do well on the day. Regardless these schools can choose on a whim as they have plenty of similar calibre applicants.

He still has choices, you need to focus positively on those, stop wondering why and making comparisons, and let this go.

cantstopstressing Thu 18-Feb-21 21:55:34

I am kicking myself as I did seriously consider moving out of London before my DC went to secondary and decided not to as we weighed it up and thought the kids had a reasonable chance of getting a place at a decent private school. We didn't want to leave London as jobs, friends here and we don't really have connections anywhere else in the UK. London is home to us to it would be starting completely afresh and I didn't want to go through that upheaval. Yes, it was a choice to apply to these schools but it didn't feel like much of a choice as I was not happy with the local state option and many others weren't either. I am just wondering why it's so ridiculously hard to get into these schools. Why are they all so oversubscribed?

OP’s posts: |
Quartz2208 Thu 18-Feb-21 21:57:50

because of all the reasons you state

Moving slightly further out would have been an option - I live London/Surrey borders and it is very popular for that reason

LIZS Thu 18-Feb-21 21:58:02

But your ds does have a place, at a school you chose. Your mistake was to pin hopes on a specific one.

Blankscreen Thu 18-Feb-21 22:18:09

My ds got rejected last week from my top choice school.

I felt a bit miffed for a day and kept questioning why why why. I didn't let ds know how I felt. I have said he's on the waiting list because they know he's got a place at school B and they need to make sure everyone gets a place somewhere. We have bigged up school B and he is really happy

We never let on which was our top choice

Rejection at 10 is a hard lesson especially at the moment when there is not much to make them feel good.

ElevenPlus001 Thu 18-Feb-21 22:21:23

@cantstopstressing take the positive side of your DS's outcome. The school you like most might not be the best one. When my DS took 11+, he got offers from top indie including WUS, SPJ and super Grammar like QE, Tiffin but not a second-tier indie we think was best for him and my family that time. He ended in a school he is now very happy.

clary Thu 18-Feb-21 23:07:02

OP I am sorry that you are disappointed and I am sure you are not letting your son see this. As a PP said, big up all you like about the school he has got into. I am sure it is one you like or you wouldn't have applied.

You do understand I hope that the vast vast majority of 10/11yos in England go to a local state school. Even the majority of children in London do so. So please don't blame the "unfair education system".

Surely you must see that if children have to do an exam or other selection test, some will get rejected. And why? I guess because the school is so popular that it can do that. Just the same as when you are one of 30 good applicants for a job you would love and you don't get it.

cantstopstressing Fri 19-Feb-21 14:44:11

Thanks all. This helps a bit. We didn't pin our hopes on a specific school but there were two we were very keen on and two which were more back-up choices which are both fine but nothing to get hugely excited about. I understand that most kids go to the local state school and I would have much preferred that if our local school was decent enough but my view was that it isn't. We have always been told that DS is bright, he is in the top sets, very sport, confident, hardworking and a generally nice kid so I guess I am just surprised that he wasn't even in the running for our preferred school. It is a hard hard lesson, probably more for the parents than the kids. DS doesn't seem that bothered at all as I told him he is on the waiting list but I worry he'll be upset when he thinks more deeply about it. Just beating myself up for putting him through a horrible stressful process for no reason. The schools he did get into I think he would have done even without tutoring.

OP’s posts: |
LIZS Fri 19-Feb-21 14:54:29

In which case he may continue to be in upper sets at one of those schools but may have not fitted as well academically in the others. Could your prep have perhaps overstated your ds abilities? Are they surprised he did not get a place or waitlisted?

cantstopstressing Fri 19-Feb-21 15:10:40

He's a state school not a prep. Tutor is very surprised as says she has loads of less able kids who got in in previous years. Every year seems to be harder. I am not going to change my view of him that he is a clever boy. He just clearly didn't perform as well as others in the exams.

OP’s posts: |
Longingfornormality Fri 19-Feb-21 15:20:52

Hi @cantstopstressing, I think you have the right approach in not letting this 11+ process change your view of your DS. Just because he didn’t get into your top choice school does not mean he is not as capable as others who did get an offer. There is often very little in it - maybe a 1 or 2 % difference in exam scores, they have to draw the line somewhere. It sounds like he is a lovely kid who will do well in most settings. I think you’re also right that the kids themselves are less bothered than their parents!

I would emphasise the fact that he’s done really well to pass the exams in the first place (otherwise he wouldn’t have got interviews). Also, if he’s currently at a state school I’m assuming there’s less chat generally about 11+ exams than there would be at prep schools so hopefully that will help.

Don’t lose faith, you may get good news in the coming days about the waitlist place anyway.

WombatChocolate Fri 19-Feb-21 17:12:54

I guess you really know the answer to some if your questions - why do so many apply - well because like you, they think fee paying schools will be better for their kids. Remember, the figures are deceptive though and when 10 apply per place, if they've each applied to 5, but can only take 1 place, the odds of getting a place are not as bad as they first look and most schools significantly over offer because even the very good ones won't be top choice for every applicant.

It's often said that being top table doesn't tell you a whole lot. Primary schools vary a lot and getting to the top table can mean a student is exceptionally clever, or amongst some cohorts, would be below average nationally.

You just can't always tell how they will do in exams. Some super bright kids aren't that well prepped for doing the exams themselves with things like timing, knowing exactly what's required and so don't impress. Others just struggle under exam conditions and don't reflect their true ability. Bright children miss out every year.

Good advice is not to apply to somewhere you aren't interested in. So you got your 3rd choice and it wasn't top, but presumably you were prepared for your child to go there or wouldn't have applied and paid the entrance fee. Some kids get no offers but you've got one that presumably you did like.

In the end its demand and supply. There were other applicants that met the schools criteria more strongly. It is a competitive system and in the top schools there are finite places and far more applicants, so children have to accept they might not get their aspirational place but need to take one that wasn't quite so high on their list. Usually people go onto love the school they go to and can see it suited their child.

Is no good feeling annoyed at the system...you chose to enter it, knowing the risks and that the odds are not in your favour....you mentioned the statistics. Of course not everyone gets places in the very top or the next tier or even the next tier schools.

The key thing is that your child doesn't sense your disappointment or annoyance at the system....that just sets him up to be cross and not pleased with the school he will go to. It's all about building the excitement for the next phase now. Work on the basis the wait list won't come off but build up the offer he has. If the wait list does offer a place, it's an added bonus....you can wait anxiously to hear, but he shouldn't have to do that, but have a sense that he's done well...not that working hard hasn't paid off. It's a mistake to feel like that...without the hard work, perhaps he wouldn't have any offers. No one deserves a place at a top school just because of hard work...it doesn't work like that - they want the cleverest, not the hardest working kids. What a shame if he is feeling strongly discouraged now. Parents are so important in helping their children have a positive attitude all through the process...to know that all the schools you're applying for are good ones, that they do t need to worry because thee will be a good school for them, that you're proud of their efforts and pleased about where they will go to school when the offers come in. It's so important because no-one can be sure if where their child will end up, and starting somewhere feeling its second rate or beneath you as a family or child just isn't a great start.

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