Navigating Acceptance and Resilience: A Guide for Parents Post-Entrance Exams

In this guide, we’ll explore how to navigate the emotions tied to acceptance and failure and provide valuable insights for the road ahead.

Embarking on the journey towards an independent secondary school can be both thrilling and challenging.

As parents, understanding how to support your child, whether they’ve gained acceptance or faced a setback, is crucial.

Your Child’s Passed 11+: Now What?

Your child has successfully navigated the 11+ exams, securing a place in an independent secondary school! Woohoo! A big congrats!

Celebrate this achievement together and use it as an opportunity to reinforce the importance of hard work and dedication. As you prepare for the next chapter, consider the following steps:

1. Acknowledgment and Celebration:

   – Recognize your child’s efforts and celebrate their steadfast determination. Focus more on their behaviours and actions rather than the actual success of the exam. The focus on the behaviours will help them to detach the love and praise from results and helps to create a healthy relationship.

   – Reinforce the positive outcomes of hard work and perseverance.

2. Transition Support:

   – Facilitate conversations about the upcoming changes and expectations. Now that they’ve passed, there is a normal belief that you can ease off completely and they can ‘go back to normal’. Ensure that you don’t feed into this narrative by helping them to see that learning is a journey, not a destination. You may revisit their study routines and reevaluate the time spent working, but it is important to continue “little and often” work.

   – Connect with future classmates through school-sponsored events or online platforms. Now that they’ve gained entrance, the focus will shift now to the reality of transitioning to a new school.

3. Review and Reinforce:

   – Address any areas that may have caused stress during the 11+ preparation. Was it working under time pressure? Was there performance anxiety that caused havoc? Do you need to revisit a specific topic?

   – Encourage a growth mindset, emphasizing the continuous journey of learning.

Your Child’s Failed the Entrance Exam: Now What?

Facing the news that your child did not secure a place in the desired school can be disheartening. However, this is an opportunity for acceptance, resilience, growth, and valuable life lessons. Here’s how to navigate this situation:

1. Understanding Emotions:

   – Start by understanding your own emotions attached to the outcome. How do you feel? Do you need to work through some of these emotions before you can support your child?

– Acknowledge your child’s emotions and provide a safe space for them to express their feelings.

   – Reinforce that the exam results do not define their worth or potential.

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Read our blog about talking to your child about uncertainty

2. Open Communication:

   – Initiate open and honest conversations about the outcome.

   – When the time feels right, discuss alternative school options and highlight that there are various paths to success. Book school viewings and get the whole family on board to help with a smooth transition.

3. Identifying Learning Opportunities:

   – Collaborate with teachers to identify specific areas for improvement. Now is a great time to assess areas that need improving and make a slow and scaffolded approach to improving.

   – Emphasize the importance of learning from setbacks and using them as stepping stones for future success.

4. Reassuring Unconditional Support:

   – Communicate unwavering support and belief in your child’s abilities. Focusing on their efforts, behaviours and the values they subscribe to will help them to create a connection between their efforts and praise rather than praise and success.

   – Explore the possibility of reapplying or consider other schools with similar values.


Navigating the acceptance or failure of entrance exams is a significant moment for both parents and students. At Bettering Youth, we understand the importance of providing holistic support during these transitions. Our experienced tutors offer not only academic guidance but also mentorship to help students build resilience and embrace the journey of learning. Contact us today to explore how we can assist your child in their academic and personal growth.

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