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Blog - National Offer Day: The ‘don’t panic!’ parents’ guide to not getting your first choice secondary school

The chemistry teacher dropped the paper on my desk as the bell sounded. “Keep trying, Lauren,” he smiled.

I stared at the large letter ā€˜Cā€™ scrawled in red at the top of the page.

That letter was following me round school like a bad smell; from chemistry and history to Spanish and maths, it glared at me from the top of every essay, written proof of the ceiling to my intelligence.

It was the early 1980s and I was a pupil at a smart secondary school for girls with a long-standing reputation for academic excellence.

As the youngest of five children, my parents wanted the very best for