Anyone else stressed about 11+ tutoring?

(60 Posts)
MyMimsy Thu 27-Sep-12 16:44:53

DD has just gone into Yr 5, and has just started her 11+ tutoring with a private tutor. I'm actually against intensive tutoring for the 11+ but it's very much the culture around here, with even very clever children getting extra coaching.

DD is clever. She got all level 3s at the end of Yr 2, and her teacher is confidently predicting she'll easily get all Level 5s at the end of Yr 6, with even a chance of a Level 6 in Reading.

Her tutor has an excellent local reputation, and having assessed her he has assured us that she is definitely grammar school material. DD has had 2 sessions with him so far, she says she enjoyed them and that she likes him. She has been happy to do the homework (approx. 2 hours per week) and has tackled it well, just needing a few prompts from DH and myself.

So, why do I feel so stressed about the whole thing. She's only 9.5 and I just think it's quite unnatural to ask a child to use their brains in (what I feel) is quite an unusual/artificial fashion. I just don't think it's normal for a child to be wrestling with non-verbal reasoning problems. It all seems very brutal. And I didn't expect there to be so much homework, either.

As I said, DD is clever but she's quite laidback and dreamy and I suppose I just feel so sad that she's on the 11+ treadmill now.

The alternative comprehensives really aren't an option (they're dire) and DH thinks I'm being silly and sentimental. He thinks we'd be doing DD a huge disservice if we don't help her get into the grammar school.

piggywigwig Thu 04-Oct-12 11:39:09

DialMforMummy

Here's the reality for Essex parents, with a bright child who has probably already achieved Level 5's all round in YR 5.

Maths
They who could well get BIDMAS and equation questions - they've certainly put them on in the past. If you haven't shown a child how to approach these and recognize them, then how can they attempt to show how good they are on the day?

English
You get questions where you have to identify which literary device is used in a text, ranging from pathetic fallacy, pun, irony, metaphor etc. If you haven't worked through these and given the child the skills to be able to decide, then how can they attempt to show the examiner that they are educationally, at a level where not only have they been taught it but they can actually put those skills to use in the appropriate way?

Basically, they're expected to be at a level for Maths, which is testing on stuff from the entire KS2 syllabus and beyond. How can a child how hasn't yet been shown it, answer the questions without some prior tutoring?

Is it better to let your bright child, who you know has the capability to cope well at GS, go in to the 3 tests, without having been shown anything at all and then have their confidence knocked and panic when they read the paper? Perhaps they'll even fail?

piggywigwig Thu 04-Oct-12 11:40:17

"a child how" should read "a child who"

I agree with piggy, it's the same in kent. State schools don't even cover the maths that is needed for the 11+.
It's a romantic notion that its a simple test of ability.
It isn't and its not fair, but that's the way it is for now.

piggywigwig Thu 04-Oct-12 12:25:41

I'd also like to lay another ghost to rest about money and tutoring and GS.

Whilst I kind of agree with DialMforMummy's sentiments, that GS shouldn't be about who has the money to tutor their kids, it isn't necessarily about money. Plenty of people like me, who have very little spare cash and live extremely carefully, chose to tutor our DC's ourselves because we can't afford a tutor. So you see, even tutoring isn't as simple as having cash wink
You can tutor on an incredibly tight budget - there's loads of free resources and guides on the internet. I used them very successfully.
If one wanted to, one could of course argue that only DP's of a certain social class and intelligence can do it etc and that their DC's are at an advantage. But I wanted to state that money is a red herring that can't be used to slap those who choose tutoring, round the chops grin

For what it's worth, for an 11+ exam where only VR or VR and NVR was tested and the GS wasn't superselective, then I'd be a little concerned at the need for 2 years of tutoring, too.

crazygracieuk Fri 05-Oct-12 07:58:56

I was in your shoes 18 months ago.
I was tutoring ds1 for super selective school myself but since plan B was so weak, we chickened out and moved near an outstanding comprehensive.

Good luck.

DialMforMummy Fri 05-Oct-12 09:54:33

When I talk about tutoring, I am talking about hiring a private tutor months in advance of the test, not practising the test paper. I think it is right for the children to have a look at the papers beforehand and have a few practice ones. This is fair play, I think.

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 09:58:23

Define "dire".

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 11:06:39

To reassure any parents who have a DC about to take the test, I'd like to say that I can say with near certainty that none of mine would have had a clue what pathetic fallacy was prior to taking the test.

That said, I've just nipped up to DD4 (who's due to take the test tomorrow but has been off school all week with a bug) to explain it to her just in case.

piggywigwig Fri 05-Oct-12 12:36:45

DialMforMummy

May I respectfully ask you to read my post that contains "pathetic fallacy" and "BIDMAS" and I'd be genuinely interested in your answers to these questions smile

Maths
They who could well get BIDMAS and equation questions - they've certainly put them on in the past. If you haven't shown a child how to approach these and recognize them, then how can they attempt to show how good they are on the day?

English: re literary devices: If you haven't worked through these and given the child the skills to be able to decide, then how can they attempt to show the examiner that they are educationally, at a level where not only have they been taught it but they can actually put those skills to use in the appropriate way?

I'm genuinely interested to hear how only doing a few practice papers can enable a child to know and understand how to do BIDMAS or identify pathetic fallacy?

Yellowtip
Good luck to DD4 and the very best of luck explaining pathetic fallacy - there's two schools of thought and no-one's yet been able to conclusively tell me the difference between that and personification confused

piggywigwig Fri 05-Oct-12 12:41:41

seeker
Everyone's perception of "dire" will be different, won't it? For some, "dire" may be a grammar school with delusions of grandeur wink Only messing about with you but I'm sure you see what I mean? Many of us will know the definition of a "dire" school, in general terms [wink}

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 12:46:51

Do we? I actually think we need to think carefully before we condemn a school as "dire". Particularly when it's a school that 75ish% of children in an area will be going to.

It's not good for society for people to think in those terms.

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 12:50:00

And I'm not absolutely sure, but I would put money on my dd, who got 2 a*s in English at GCSE and is now doing A level not being able to tell you what pathetic fallacy was. And it's a pretty odd 11+ that expects 10 year old's to know!

DialMforMummy Fri 05-Oct-12 12:52:44

Well Piggy, are you then suggesting that the only way for a child to pass the 11+ is to have serious training/tutoring on these papers? IME this is not the case.

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 12:55:25

piggy Brilliant. Thanks for that. I think we'll have to hope that the wine gums I've just packed up will help see her through, given her wholesale lack of knowledge concerning literary devices and their distinctions. I've never actually come across the need to label these things in the 11+ though - mine have only ever been asked to write an essay/ letter and perhaps do a comprehension.

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 12:59:16

DD3 didn't drop a single mark in her A Level last year (100% in the exam as well as in the coursework) and doesn't know what a pathetic fallacy is either seeker.

sue52 Fri 05-Oct-12 14:35:20

Isn't it BODMAS not BIDMAS. I wouldn't know what a pathetic fallacy was if it bit me on the bum.

EvilTwins Fri 05-Oct-12 17:10:00

IMO, tutoring a child for over a year to pass a test is plain wrong.

breward Sat 06-Oct-12 12:37:39

It might be wrong but when local private prep schools are giving children Eng, maths and VR papers every week from the age of 7 it is a very uneven playing field. Our local super selective GS has an intake of 65% from independent prep schools when only 7% of all children in the area go private schools. For state school children tutoring, whether that be from a well-meaning and driven parent or from a private tutor, is the only way to allow your child to be on some kind of level playing field.

Both my DC go to state schools. BIDMAS or BODMAS (i stands for indices such as squaring a number, and o stands for order- both i/o are correct) is taught in the Autumn term of Y5 as part of the National curriculum. However, mathematical concepts like that are like plate spinning, if not revisited regularly the concept is just not secure and 6+7x2 will always be answered as 26 rather than correctly as 20.

As for pathetic fallacy, this is a literary device that compares a mood to a weather feature... such as 'there was a dark cloud of misery hanging over village,' and 'the fog surrounding her added to her confused state.'

Hope this helps. I DIY tutored my DS (shame on me!) and await the result in 9 days. It was stressful but enjoyable too. We both learnt lots and enjoyed the time we spent reading together the most.

3littlefrogs Sat 06-Oct-12 12:42:30

Dd is at a grammar school.

There are pupils in her class who have struggled from day one to keep up. These are the children who were tutored from the age of 7 in order to get into the school.

The system is very hit and miss, but I don't know what can be done about it.

seeker Sat 06-Oct-12 12:57:57

"Dd is at a grammar school.

There are pupils in her class who have struggled from day one to keep up. These are the children who were tutored from the age of 7 in order to get into the school.

The system is very hit and miss, but I don't know what can be done about it."

How do people know so much about the children in their dc's classes? It's all I can do to find out about my own children?

Oh, and what can be done about it? Well, abolishing state selective education would do it.........!

3littlefrogs Sat 06-Oct-12 13:27:23

Abolishing selective schools would work, as long as all schools would then cater for all abilities. Where this happens the system works well.

Where I live, there are several selective and partially selective state schools, a few good comps and a number of schools that are grim.

I entered my child for the local grammar (without tutoring) because I wanted to give her the best chance I could.

I know the system is unfair. I would love all state schools to be excellent and provide a really good education for everyone. I don't think I, personally, am in a position to change the system. Like any parent I want the best opportunity for my child.

How many parents would happily send their child to the local sink school in the name of political correctness? That would be a really difficult thing to do. It might be the "right" thing to do, but I doubt if many people would do it if they had a choice.

3littlefrogs Sat 06-Oct-12 13:32:11

There is a huge comprehensive in one part of the country that is known as the "Learning Village". It is a mixture of buildings - like a university campus. All levels and abilities are catered for, and streaming is in place. However, pupils can move between different streams. Many activities are mixed ability. It sounds like a really good system to me, but I haven't come across anything like it where I live.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 06-Oct-12 17:30:26

NB
If you live in a county with Grammar schools, the other schools are NOT "comprehensive" as they have no top sets ....

3littlefrogs
lots of schools like that round here :-)
SO SO SO Glad that Hampshire does not have the poison of the 11+

Arisbottle Sat 06-Oct-12 17:57:44

How would for all thos other children to have to go to a school that is "dire" . That is something to get stressed about.

If I found tutorin stressful I would stop

difficultpickle Sat 06-Oct-12 18:04:19

It is possible to be in catchment for both grammar schools and comprehensives. We are.

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