Does anyone regret tutoring to get their DC's into private school?

(50 Posts)
wheresthebeach Sun 17-Mar-13 19:30:54

I keep hearing about children crashing out at private school if they've been 'over tutored' to get there. Some people seem to think any tutoring is too much; others that a couple of sessions a week is sensible.

So...those who tutored their DC's please tell me how secondary is going!

Copthallresident Thu 21-Mar-13 20:01:13

Belltree Absolutely, that is exactly what I did for DD, her International School was the equivalent of a state school and didn't prepare the for exams so we identified what she hadn't covered and came up with a mix of formal tutoring and work at home, for one term before the exam. I have no problem with tutoring structured around the child's needs, it is when it structured around the tutor's needs and income................. DD was at a prep but even there though they were beyond well prepared, stressed parents were panicing and employing tutors, it verged on child abuse especially when it was based on unrealistic ambitions for children and ridiculous perceptions that only the top school would do. That sets up a small margin for success and a huge chance of perceived failure, with attached fear that parental love rests on that success. I have seen the aftermath in DDs who suffer from low esteem and insecurity, at least one in the Priory with an eating disorder and drug problem by 14. So you will forgive me if I feel strongly on this topic.

shoutymcshoutsmum Thu 21-Mar-13 20:50:25

My kids are in a non-selective pre-prep. MY DH says absolute no to tutoring because our school's job is to prepare them for the 7+.

My concern is that if you have two kids from our pre-prep who are of the same intelligence who are both sitting an exam for a selective school where there is not enough places in the school for both these kids, then surely they will end up taking the kid who has been tutored because they are more likely to do better in the exam..... surely?

Copthallresident Thu 21-Mar-13 21:22:38

Not necessarily, one may have a sibling, or a talent, or have come over as more motivated and articulate in the interview, and the entrance exam isn't just one mark, they may have marks for numeracy, literacy, reasoning, general knowledge and within the numeracy and literacy exams they will have different measures of ability, did they make silly mistakes but show real ability in the way they approached the questions or were they accurate but stumped when it came to applying familiar concepts to unfamiliar contexts. They may have shown flair and creativity in the story writing. Different schools are looking for slightly different qualities in terms of knowing what they are looking for and what it takes to succeed at their school. The student that doesn't get in may have actually scored a higher absolute mark in the tests but the school judges they have not got the qualities they need to be happy at that school.

I queried why they were taking DDs, entirely different reasons, now one is a Scientist, one doing an arts subject and they had identified those talents at 11.

When parents are looking for the right school for their child, the schools are looking for the right child for their school. If there isn't a fit it isn't because the child "failed" it just wasn't the right school.

MTSgroupie Thu 21-Mar-13 22:16:20

Shouty - I suspect that a lot pushy moms are glad that other kids have dads who has your DH's towards tutoring.

Ideally your DC's school should prep them for the 7+ but it's kind of silly to sit back, cross your arms and say that you are going to do nothing because it's the school's job.

Startail Thu 21-Mar-13 22:25:04

You pay a private prep, then you pay a tutor confused.

I'd want my money back

And no, my DDs don't go to an outstanding school, just a comp in SM. despite that my dyslexic DD will get As and Bs (she won't get an A in English anywhere) and DD2 As I expect and I won't have parted with a penny.

Startail Thu 21-Mar-13 22:30:54

And ok I accept they are the bright DCs of parents with good degrees, from very good universities, who do tutor them a bit.

But surely most DCs that attend private schools have clever graduate parents. The ones I know do!

MTSgroupie Thu 21-Mar-13 22:53:05

Start - My DD goes to a private secondary AND we also pay for a French tutor. She has a flair for languages and we felt that she would benefit from a weekly 121 where she would just chat in French for an hour.

Her friend is being tutored in Maths. Apparently she is a maths geek and she is way ahead of her classmates. Hence the tutoring.

Two examples of private school kids receiving extra tuition on top. To us it's money well spent and it's not as if we are going to miss the money. In a way it's similar to a DC that plays football at school yet goes to a after school club as well.

MTSgroupie Thu 21-Mar-13 22:53:58

... Just realised that you was talking about prep schools so ignore my post.

adeucalione Fri 22-Mar-13 13:06:52

OP, if children are crashing out then I would question the application process for the school in question because, as others have said, most schools put a lot of effort into finding children who will do well at their school, and can recognise an over-tutored child a mile off. My DC all now attend a private secondary school and they were asked several times whether they had received any private tuition - not just direct questions, but asked in all different sneaky ways, to catch them out. They don't just look at the score, but at the whole package.

startail, it sounds like your DC are doing brilliantly, but I don't know any parents who chose to go private because they were worried about their DCs getting enough As, I don't think that's the only measure of a successful education at all.

Startail Fri 22-Mar-13 13:33:37

Very specific talents are different, DD1 sings and we've always paid for singing lessons.

It's general maths, English and 11+ type stuff that puzzles me.

I may well end up paying for French for DD2, state language provision is patchy.

Yes I understand private for all the nice extras, but paying for private primary and still tutoring to get into secondary or pass ordinary GCSEs does not strike me as value for money.

Copthallresident Fri 22-Mar-13 16:48:34

Startail It is when anxiety takes over from sense, usually around mid Year 5 parents start stressing that the school isn't doing enough (or start Year 2 when it comes to 7+) to prepare and decide they know more about what is required to get in based on very little actual knowledge, Chinese whispers and a lot of ignorant preconceptions . The leavers destinations are forensically examined for any signs that the school is failing in any way, completely, it seems without any willingness to acknowledge that there is only so much a prep can do, if the DCs don't have the qualities to get them in they won't get in. Tutors are only too happy to pander to all the anxiety. I have the skills of an SAS hostage rescuer so quickly did I extract my DD from the miasma of competitiveness and desperation that pervaded the school gate. A sort of madness descends, then everything is normal again, until the Year 6 musical......................

MTSgroupie Fri 22-Mar-13 17:33:43

adeu - Well, you met one now smile (a parent that went private because of concerns that DCs weren't going to get enough As).

As for catching out kids that had been tutored I suspect that schools expect you to tutor your kids for the test. However, in the interviews they seem to try to trip up kids that have rehearsed for the interview by avoiding stock questions. DS for example was asked - if you could cross breed two animals which ones would you choose and why? Another one was - here are two toilet rolls and an egg box. How many 'gadgets' can you make from these items? There is no way you could be prepped for such a questions.

wheresthebeach Fri 22-Mar-13 18:13:44

"A sort of madness descends, then everything is normal again, until the Year 6 musical...................... " Copthall that's a wonderful description!

One of the problems is that selective schools expect level 5; and many state schools only teach to the NC levels which means parents have to tutor their kids in Maths or they just won't know the stuff.

Shame the tests can't be designed differently so tutoring above NC level isn't needed. That would stop the cycle of craziness (or perhaps it would just generate a new type of tutoring....)

Copthallresident Fri 22-Mar-13 19:49:34

beach I did the costumes for both DDs Year 6 productions, I bear the scars, someone even whipped my bouquet at one of them so miffed were they that their DD was not attired like a Hollywood star grin. I lost count of the phone calls from parents cajoling, demanding and even weeping to make sure their DDs got the best costume but of course only a handfull forking out for or making them themselves, let alone helping with the others. I really feel for the teachers putting up with it full time.............

wheresthebeach Fri 22-Mar-13 22:00:09

Oh no no no ..... The madness ... Run run away...

MTSgroupie Fri 22-Mar-13 22:41:24

grin at all the hitching about private school parents.

All those MN threads about school gate politics and pushy netball moms etc must have been about private schools coz stuff like that don't happen in the state sector.

MTSgroupie Fri 22-Mar-13 22:48:08

wheres - of course they can design a entrance exam so that tutoring above NC level wouldn't be necessary but what makes you think that this won't give prep school kids an even bigger advantage?

Mine went to a state primary but my friend sent hers to a prep. Her DD was a year ahead of mine NC-wise which meant that, had the 11+ be NC based hers would have spent a year revising and practicing exam technique while mine would be learning the material for the first time.

The 11+ exams as they stand are not perfect but its a lot less untutorable than a NC based test.

AyeTooZee Sat 23-Mar-13 14:30:17

Hi. I tutored my twins - to start with was fine but inevitably became difficult to get the balance right so eventually found a fantastic and better qualified if I'm honest tutor through personal recommendation.

The schoolwork conflict ceased.

Hamishbear Sat 23-Mar-13 15:05:06

I don't understand how a child can be tutored beyond their ability? Many exams require them to apply their knowledge and maths questions don't just require rote learnt answers etc?

For example this is a St Paul's question: Using all the opinions and your own knowledge, explain how far you agree with the view that “There is
enough evidence to prove that there is a link between food and happiness”.

No amount of rote learnt vocabulary is going to help you with that or to draw the charts and graphs that follow. You either have the native with to extract the information from the comp passage and the agility of mind to add your own opinions at relative speed or you don't?

wheresthebeach Sun 24-Mar-13 11:42:37

That sounds like quite a good exercise. The tests I've seen on school web sites seem much more like 'standard' math and English exams. Something that show how the child extracts and analyses information is, I think, much more telling.

Yellowtip Sun 24-Mar-13 18:23:34

Or is the crashing and burning of heavily tutored kids because the parents of those kids are exactly the type who just won't let up on the pressure, not until they think they've maximised their child's chances of 'success' at every step of the way?

wheresthebeach Sun 24-Mar-13 20:03:23

There's a thought....

Copthallresident Sun 24-Mar-13 20:12:14

yellowtip Absolutely, see my comment Thu 21-Mar-13 20:01:13 sad

Elibean Mon 25-Mar-13 13:08:04

sad

I would third that, Yellow and Copt.

(ps - Copt, am slipping valium into the local water supply as I type)

mumteacher Thu 28-Mar-13 23:31:39

Op I only tutor younger years not 11+ but I do like to keep in touch with the parents and have not had anyone (yet) regret their time with me.

It is a tricky situation - do an initial assessment of the child to make sure the school the parents/child have chosen is suitable to the ability or teach the child for a few lessons and then advice parents. The later (I find) makes parents think the tutor is money motivated.

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