What to Say to Your Kids When They Have Failed


  1. What do you do when your child is failing school?
  2. What do you do if your child gets poor exam marks?

As a parent, you want nothing more than to see your child happy, confident, and successful. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, your child is bound to face some setbacks. What do you do if your child comes home and says, “I think I failed my GCSEs?” 😟

Failing exams can be a particularly painful experience for a student and can leave your child (and you) wondering how to move forward. However, even if your child failed A-levels or GCSEs, or even just got poor GCSE or A-level results, there are ways to comfort your child- and still set them up for future success.


What do you do when your child is failing school?


If you find your child is constantly having a dream about bad exam results or just worried about school test failures, it’s important to first focus on giving them the tools to feel more confident about their exams. Working with a tutor is one of the best places to start, and GoStudent has plenty of world-class tutors to help prep your student for the rigorous exam period.  Even in the best secondary schools and colleges, your child may not have the necessary help they need to thrive. Having a tutor to work with one-on-one can allow your student to focus on the specific subjects they struggle with and get the help they need.

What do you say to a teacher when a child is failing? 😕

As a parent, you may be overwhelmed when you find your child is failing. However, finding a solution doesn’t have to be complicated. If you are looking for GCSE advice for parents, your child’s school is the best place to start! Any secondary school or college has plenty of resources available to help both students and parents navigate academic difficulties.

If you find your teen is quite tight-lipped about the state of their schoolwork, their teacher likely has all the insight you’re looking for! Set up a meeting with a teacher or counsellor to talk about your child’s schooling and exams. If there are open nights available for parents to come and ask questions, make sure you attend. 

Remember, too, not to compare your child’s progress to that of their friends and classmates. It can be easy to feel like you are failing as a parent if your child isn’t achieving- but you aren’t! Other parents likely have the same concerns as you. Talking to teachers is a good way to reassure yourself that your child failing an exam is normal.

If you can, connect with a friend who has children older than yours. They likely had big exam wishes for their kids too and can give you insight on what it’s like on the other side. Don’t be shy or embarrassed- you are definitely not the only parent who is worried about your child’s academic success! 😌

“TheWhat do you do if your child gets poor exams marks?


Even with all the preparation, sometimes your child will still get poor marks. You may feel you are failing as a parent and be unsure what to do. However, you, your child, and the rest of your family can get through this stressful time. All it takes is some support and planning. You can do this! 💪

  • Let your child be disappointed 😔

First, give your child time to be upset. They are likely experiencing many emotions after receiving poor marks: disappointment, frustration, anger, and even embarrassment. 

Don’t immediately put pressure on them to figure out the next steps. Let them work through their emotions, and give them support. If your child is wondering “if I fail my GCSEs, is my life over,” let them know that no, it isn’t! As a parent, it can be easy to feel frustrated and angry with your child for failing, but try to remember how difficult things felt for you when you were a teenager.

When you’re that age, everything feels like the end of the world! Remind your student that failing GCSEs or A-Levels is just a small setback, and it doesn’t mean that they are doomed.

Your child is probably comparing themself to their friends and classmates, and maybe their self-esteem has taken a hit. There are many reasons students fail college, and none of them are because they are “too dumb” for it.

Book smarts are not the only kind of smarts, and it’s important your child remembers that during this difficult period. Encourage them to look at all their talents and good traits that are outside school. Remind them of their favourite hobbies they excel at, and their gifts that can’t be quantified, like their kindness or creativity.

Your child is smart and special in their own way, and it’s important they (and you!) remember it. 

However, if your child seems really overwhelmed by the pressure to excel, we advise recruiting the help of your GP, who can put you in touch with qualified counsellors and psychiatrists. If you’re unsure where to start, the NHS has many resources to help you get your child the help they need.

  • Determine your options 🤔

Next, create an action plan. Your child is probably thinking, “I failed my GCSEs, now what?” But there are plenty of next steps you can take. Students are able to retake GCSEs and A-Levels as many times as they want. Even if you failed your maths GCSE three times, you can take it a fourth! 

However, retaking courses does accrue fees, so you want to figure out exactly what subjects they want to resit. In order to work out what your family can afford, first determine your child’s goals. What exams do they need to retake to get into college or university? Is there another university they can attend that accepts students with fewer A-Levels? 

It can be helpful to speak with your child’s school counsellor, who can provide you and your family with options expertly tailored to your child. It’s important during this process, too, to be open-minded.

Your child might end up taking a different path than the one they imagined (or the one you imagined for them), and that’s okay! Think back to all the unexpected journeys you’ve been on in your own life. Remember that there are still endless opportunities for your child- even if the path there is a bit unconventional! 

Once you determine what your child’s goal is, work out how to get there. It may be difficult, but look at the positives of failing an exam. Now that your child has taken it once, they know what they found most difficult, and what they need the most help with.

Work with one of GoStudent’s thousands of tutors to build upon those trouble spots and help your student gain the confidence they need to gain the marks they desire.

  • Try online school 💻

If you don’t know how to get a teenager to revise because they think it’s boring or want to do other things, try online school! The disappointment of not being able to “get away” to college or university can be one of the most painful parts of failing GCSEs or A-Levels.

Online school can allow your student to revise from anywhere in the world, giving them the option to take the chance to travel alongside their studies. Since online courses are designed around your schedule, your child can also choose to work while they revise for their resits, too. This can help your student feel more confident and in control of their path, and also give them the financial resources to move away from their family home and to a new city. 

  • Take some time off ✈️

If your child is 18, it’s no longer compulsory for them to attend school. They may have always had their heart set on university, but if they did not get the exam results they needed, take this as an opportunity to try something else. A gap year is a great way to explore other options while strengthening their CV.

They can take the year to work and save money for future studies. Teaching English abroad is also a great way to get an exciting new experience while also earning some cash. If your student doesn’t know what they want to read at university, they can take the time to explore some work experience schemes in industries they are interested in.

There’s no one path to success or happiness.

Poor exam results are challenging for both students and parents to navigate. Fortunately, it’s not the end of the world! It’s important to remember that your child still has a path to future success and happiness and that you aren’t failing as a parent! This is just a small setback, and your child will be okay. With a solid action plan and some help, your student will be on their way. 

If you’re seeking some additional academic help, GoStudent is your best place to start. With thousands of world-class tutors available on your schedule, we can expertly tailor a tutoring programme to get your student the results they want during their resits. Sign up for a free trial lesson today, and set your student up for success.

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