What a wonderful and uplifting e mail!
I am so glad your son has done so well. I firmly believe myself that many comprehensives are just as good as grammar schools and that if a child is fairly bright and has the right attitude they will do well whatever school they go to.
Our daughter did her 11 plus exam at her own school, but the grammar school she wanted did have it's own entrance exam, and although there were probably only double the amount of pupils taking the exam to places, I did feel a tad apprehensive, esp as it was a catholic grammar school. We are prodestants, and I knew that to get in she would have to get almost full marks. We also did not have her tutored, just did some papers with her.
Thankfully she did get in, with 97% and got 98% in her 11 plus also, but I have in the past few weeks met people who,s children have failed the exam.
I would certainly hope they would not be afraid to look me in the eye; indeed we have chatted and I have said exactly what you have just said.
Our reasons for choosing a grammar for my daughter were social as she was bullied at a past school, and the kids from that school would be going to the 2 local comps, and I knew none of them would be going to a grammar school.
But I hope people take heart from this e mail, and I agree also that copious amounts of homework makes little difference. I also take my kids on holiday in term time for 2 weeks a year and they have seen places around the world they would never have got to see otherwise. (We are off to Prague next week also.) I think that is educational for them and probably does them as much good, if not more than sitting in the classroom for a week. ( It certainly has done my two no harm!
Let us remember that life does not end if a grammar school place is not won, and that a clever child will do well wherever
Good luck to the author's child. I am sure he will do superbly at Oxford.