Why is tutoring such a big deal with some people?

(302 Posts)
APMF Sun 02-Dec-12 23:05:14

We downloaded some past papers. We 'tutored' our DCs in standard test taking techniques ie watch the clock, skip a question if you are stuck and return to it later, recheck your maths answers if you have the time and so on. Now, if parents want to pay someone to tutor their DCs in such obvious exam techniques then my rates are quite reasonable smile

After listening to so many presumably working class parents harp on about middle class parents buying a GS place for their dim? DCs, I wonder if the said parents realise how stupid they sound.

I mean, there is no secret technique that is known only to the Secret Brotherhood of Tutors. Some parents haven't the inclination to do the above and so they hire someone to do it for them. This hardly gives their kids an advantage over yours.

I get it that some of your DCs didn't pass the 11+ but why blame others for the fact that you didn't do your part as a parent or that your DC wasn't clever enough to pass?

ChristmasIsAcumenin Mon 03-Dec-12 09:42:05

But seeker why is it fairer for bright children to have no education at all? That's the part I don't get about comprehensive schooling. I went to five comprehensives and had absolutely no education at any of them. It was a waste of time and it made me properly mentally ill. Why is that fair? When I was at school I wasn't allowed to read interesting books because they were not on the reading scheme. I arrived being able to read and write and so I just had to sit around for five years until I was supposed to be at my entry level. I generally completed any levels in the first term and then I had to do the most pointless busy work because there was nothing left for me until the next key stage and we weren't there yet. For two whole years my teachers just gave up and sent me to the library, where I sat, on my own, reading, until it was time to take tests (oh they loved me for those). And those were the good years! In the special school it was just crayons and telly and no maths at all. Literally no maths or science teaching was available.

I am not a genius; I am an ordinarily bright person with quick uptake in systematic analysis. My brothers, very similar, who went to grammar school, were encouraged to do programming and advanced mathematics and subsequently had highly successful and contented lives. I had a nervous breakdown. How is that fair? And more importantly, how is that a good idea for us, collectively, as a society? I work now, in a technical field, but I spent over ten years on the dole. That's such a waste of resources. And you know, my experience is not wildly rare.

You can't say things like this because you're accused of...idk, it's not allowed to admit you're clever at things. It gets people's backs up. You learn you'll get battered if you're seen to like success or achievement or work. Simply existing and not being on the proper level is an affront and unfair to other people and oppressing them so you don't get anything: no education, no teaching, no help. I needed help because I was a child and although I understood calculus I did not understand life, but there was nothing for me and from my friends I hear that there still is nothing for bright children in state school who do not have the attendant confidence and social ability to push on through regardless. You just have to feel bad about how you're such a rotten freak for the rest of your life, if you ever let on, even subtextually, that you find schoolwork absurdly easy.

I would not send someone I loved to a comprehensive in this country. I would do everything I could to get them into a selective system. They might still bomb but at least I would have tried.

I realise this is highly personal, but I do think unless we talk about real experiences, not just theoretical positions, in education, we'll never understand why people make the choices they do. In theory comprehensives seem like the best and fairest way. But if you're living collateral damage of that theory put into practice, it's almost impossible to ignore your own life in favour of an idea.

mam29 Mon 03-Dec-12 09:46:22

Add message | Report | Message poster mercibucket Mon 03-Dec-12 09:08:58
We don't live in a grammar school area. I went to grammar school so used to do the bond papers etc. You do need a bit of exam practice and a tutor can make the difference for 'tim nice but dim' types. That's why grammar schools end up crammed with mc types: either they tutor the kids themselves (as I would) or they pay someone else to do it.
People object to the unfairness of a grammar school being really a 'middle class' school by default. That is a political objection not a personal objection

Couldent agree more.

if dont support grammer make stance and dont enter 11+send elsewhere.

if you do then prepare them and fully commit to supporting them to pass.

to enter and then for personal political reasons do not prep therefore allowing your own child to fail-bit unfair on poor child they not political footballs.

you either in a system or youout.

Im sure most of us are out as we dont have grammer schools and get quite bored about hearing

If i detested the system which i appreciate in kent is 25%grammer then I would move away or try send private.

Even in normal comps in non selective areas can ruin a child education if they poor.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 09:54:39

@word - Re your comment about how the Internet has democratized education, I totally agree. We googled for free 11+ papers. We went to various school websites and got past papers from there as well. We found the elevenplusexams website and that was great for getting advice from other parents. Free Internet access is available at public libraries so one can't argue that only well off people can surf for 11+ resources.

I have a friend whose DC is at Watford GS and she was saying that the school is substantially working class Asians and that many of the mums can barely speak English.

This is why I 'laugh' to myself whenever people here or in the Real World go on about how the 11+ is biased towards well off middle class people.

wordfactory Mon 03-Dec-12 09:57:27

Except of course there are people without access to the internet. It will generally be the poorest and most disenfranchised.

The children of these people will be highly prejudiced. As they will in respect of most aspects of life.

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 10:07:26

Seeker - i like the example of the mother at your school. I would have been delighted to know that the mum was obviously being proactive in looking for past papers for her ds, I would have also "offerred" to go and buy them for her! Then got back to my tutoring.

"because I suspect most of you wouldn't want her son in your kid's class anyway

Based on what you've told us, why on earth would people not want her son in their kid's class that ? It seems it is you who just never seems to understand why people turn to selective schools. Its been explained to you many times before so i'm not going to go into all over again.

AlienRefluxLooksLikeSnow Mon 03-Dec-12 10:10:52

I read that as 'what's the big deal with torturing' and thought WTF?! grin

wordfactory Mon 03-Dec-12 10:12:53

I think most parents with a modicum of intelligence andthe will to find out...will easily find out what's needed.

However, there are some parents with neither. And their DC suffer.

Though to be fair those DC suffer within the comprehensive system too.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 10:21:48

"Also, as some other poster has pointed out, if your DC had passed the 11+ would you still be here today going on about how bad the GS system is?"

Yes.

bemybebe Mon 03-Dec-12 10:26:54

"But that's OK, because I suspect most of you wouldn't want her kid in your kid's school anyway!"

Utter Rubbish.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 10:32:47

To summarise, you want to deny other people's DCs the opportunity to sit for an exam that your DC sat and failed. Great attitude.

[files seeker in folder marked 'bitter and resentful]

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 10:38:27

@seeker -

If you tutored your DC and DC didn't pass then maybe you should accept that your DC wasn't GS material instead of blaming others for having professional tutors.

If you didn't tutor your DC yourself then stop blaming everybody else for your DC failing.

Either way, stop blaming others and take personal responsibility.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 10:54:23

AMPF- I will be kind and prevent you looking more of an idiot than you do already. I have been an active and vociferous ant grammar school
campaigner both in real life and on here for many years. Since before I had secondary age children. Since my daughter went to grammar school. And since my son didn't.

You may find your posts are taken more seriously if they
were slightly less "ad hominem".

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 11:01:55

Seeker - when you see charity adverts to give money to starving orphans, do you then deprive your own children of food ? Perhaps not, perhaps you just deprive them of the any extras instead, the cheapest value vegetables near you (even though you can afford to buy from a farm shop instead of tescos), buy your burgers "tesco value, "nice n greasy"' instead of the good quality ones from the butchers, NEVER buy the odd chocolate, ice cream, no fuit juice ever, just water etc, because its simply not fair to those starving kids sad, because your ideals should perpetrate every area of life really if we are to follow your example.

To buy quality food you first must have the knowledge about what constitutes a healthy diet, the effects of poor nutrition, you then must Know where and have access to buy these quality foods and be able to afford it. Many parents do not have this understanding for pretty much the same reasons why some don't undersand about 11+ preparation. English may not be their first language, so even when the information is there they can't read it or simply don't understand it.

Would you abolish access to all good quality foods and leave us with the bare minimum to survive so we can all be on a level playing field ?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 11:09:33

Are you saying comprehensive schools are 'nice 'n' greasy'? shock

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 03-Dec-12 11:11:18

why is it fair for bright children to have no education at all?

It wouldn't be. But nobody has ever suggested that, so don't worry. I'm sorry, Christmas, that you had a bad time at school - my own school left a lot to be desired too - but to say then that years on, you wouldn't put anyone you loved in a comprehensive school as a result seems a tad extreme.

I had a nasty parsnip as a child, but nowadays there seem to be much more interesting ways of cooking and serving them....

OwlLady Mon 03-Dec-12 11:16:02

I lived in Kent for the best part of a decade and I cannot even begin to explain how fairer the education system is when you live in a county without grammars. I know people will disagree with me, that's fine, but I feel happy to live in a county where my children are not written off at 10 years old if they fail the 11+.

Lots of 'bright children' fail the 11+, which goes some way to explain my discomfort with it.

cory Mon 03-Dec-12 11:20:17

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 09:03:50
"@Cory - I downloaded some past papers and I got my kids to familiarise themselves with the different types of questions. We then spent the summer working on basic exam techniques like checking answers and not getting bogged down with questions that they are struggling with. Hardly rocket science."

Well, not for you and me, who are familiar with exam techniques. But would have been well beyond the scope of my bf's parents, who were factory workers and struggled with reading. So does that mean they had failed as parents? Or that their perfectly bright children deserved less of a chance than I did?

We live in the comprehensive, non-grammar part of the country and my children are getting an excellent education from their comprehensive school. As are their mates, whose parents are not degree educated.

A comprehensive school system doesn't have to involve everybody being deprived. In dc's case nobody is being deprived. I like it that way. smile

And doesn't Finland, the country with the best educational results in the world, have a comprehensive school system? As did Sweden in the days when they led the world in education (in the case of Sweden, the results started dropping with the introduction of the free schools).

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 11:23:18

Are you saying comprehensive schools are 'nice 'n' greasy'?

Some are and some are not. The ones in my catchment definitely ARE.

lopsided Mon 03-Dec-12 11:24:43

seeker has talked about this many times.

I doubt she seeks to deny any children a good education, its just an opinion, just like yours.

However it is of note that areas in Kent with gs do no better than mixed comprehensive schooling areas.

OwlLady Mon 03-Dec-12 11:25:14

We live in the comprehensive, non-grammar part of the country and my children are getting an excellent education from their comprehensive school. As are their mates, whose parents are not degree educated

completely agree

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 11:26:12

@seeker - you come across as a 'do as I say and not as I do' kind of poster so do I really care if you or your supporters take me seriously?

ByTheWay1 Mon 03-Dec-12 11:26:17

I have one foot in each camp here - my girls are bright, but... both of them are the type who are better off as the top academic tier of a good secondary school rather than middle to bottom tier of grammar.

We are very lucky in our geographic location in that both local secondary schools are good schools. My eldest is in Y7 and - so far - thriving, her confidence and self esteem are boosted daily by being "excellent" academically. Her school is bringing her out of her shell, progressing her in her music, uncovering her talent for language and making her feel GOOD about herself.

One of her friends (around the same academic level in Y6) went to the local grammar and is bottom tier there academically and constantly worried about her performance, being overloaded with homework - to "bring her up to scratch" -( an actual quote!!! - how demoralising is that to a child!) She was tutored from start Y5 to get her through the test.

BUT - I tutor in my spare time - some for home educators (much more fun) and some for grammar school entrants - it is what pays for my girls' piano and karate lessons.... especially at this time of year when the penny drops with parents that the school doesn't do 11+ practise.

The only students I now tutor for that are the ones who need pointing in the right direction, who are a solid level 5 in Maths/Reading in Y5 (but, to be honest, here in Gloucestershire they are numerous) , others -the parents want me to up their maths 2 or 3 sub-levels, get them used to verbal reasoning tests and through the 11+ in what amounts to 25 - 30 hours of tutoring if I am lucky... (I was the mug who tried that for a year - it gave the parents someone to blame I suppose... not everyone CAN be tutored to pass....)

difficultpickle Mon 03-Dec-12 11:27:54

I suppose it is about wanting what you perceive as best for your dc. I went to grammar school. My parents left school at 14 and came from a disadvantaged back ground. Ds is at prep school and I fully expect him to go on to public school for his senior years. I nor anyone in my family has any experience of private education so it is a steep learning curve. Just because we have no experience doesn't mean I consider myself at a disadvantage and I don't berate those who do have experience. I never understand the comp v grammar school debate.

Houseworkprocrastinator Mon 03-Dec-12 11:30:59

I think the problem is that EVERY parent wants what is best for their child. I have no experience of grammer school. i didn't go to one and my children wont either.
BUT there is the perception that you have to be middle class and have money in order to get a place.

I think if you have a bright child from a well off family and an equally bright child from a not well off family then the one that can afford the tutoring is more likely to succeed. It isn't just about intelligence it is also about knowledge and access to that knowledge. (which a tutor can provide more)

difficultpickle Mon 03-Dec-12 11:35:13

But the middle class money thing is a very recent internet age invention. If my parents knew then what I know now I would have walked in to an independent school on a full academic or music scholarship. However in their day they didn't know such things existed. With the internet loads more people know what is available and what they have to do to access it.

We are in a grammar school area but ds won't be doing the 11+ as he is at a school that finishes at 13 (and isn't allowed to leave before then!). I'm relieved at not having to deal with all the angst that seems to building up with friends whose dcs are only in year 4 (and some have had tutors booked since year 2).

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now