Tutoring (entrance to Grammar Schools)(21 Posts)
Just out of curiosity how many of you have opted for tutoring for your child for Grammar School entrance at 11.... and why?
We dont have any GS in our borough so it wasn't even a consideration ...my DD sat Indie tests but I took attitude that if she didn't pass then it wasn't the right school for her (because she may have struggled with keeping up the pace). She did score highly so we then felt that she would be probably be OK in the average Comprehensive school and we would save our pennies until later....Its working for us so far ...
So what were your major considerations ....
My DD had tutoring for a few months, I just wanted her know how the questions worked rather than coaching her beyond her natural ability, plus she really enjoyed the sessions and her homework.
I coached DS1 myself. Having got in, he is still in the top third of the year in Y9, so I don't feel that I tutored him to perform in excess of his natural aptitude.
Most of what I taught him was logical thinking and exam technique, both of which have been useful in secondary school anyway.
My DS had tutoring for about 6 months for indie entrance exams. Our primary is 'outstanding' although quite free-range in its approach to learning, so he wasn't used to even completing worksheets, doing anything to time etc. This was why we had the tutor (I would have happily gone through some papers with him myself, but I am only his Mum so know nothing and we would have ended up harming each other ) The approach worked for us with him being given places at the two schools he sat for. Now, over a year on, he is still coping well at school, so not over-tutored just to get in.
I think that a lot depends on which primary a child attends. If your child attends a primary that is in special measures then they need private tutition to stand any kind of chance in school entrance exams.
However if a child attends prep school and has a tutor then there is a strong chance that they wont be able to cope at the selective secondary.
Dd went to a tutorial centre and attended a group class (about 6-8 children). It gave her experience of the types of questions she would be tested on. Practice and repetition of VR and NVR does help, and primary schools do not cover this.
We could equally have tutored her ourselves. But I doubt she would have passed if she had never been exposed to these questions. The speed required in the tests was really fast, so there wasn't time to read and interpret the questions. She had only 30 seconds on each question. It was a new format test (Bexley) which is supposed to be less tutorable. I suspect that is rubbish. As it was, dd didn't complete the paper, but still did enough to pass.
But as it happens, we have put comps in position 1 and 2 on our CAF. Shorter travel distance are important to us. We are in catchment of one grammar, but there are comps that are closer.
I did bits and pieces with my DC, but didn't pay for a tutor. That's probably still tutoring though ;)
OP, for us the choice to tutor was not about making my DD brighter, it was about making my already bright DD faster and more accurate. These 10 yr olds will be sitting an exam (which for most will be their 1st) in timed exam conditions. So speed and accuracy is key and often the two areas overlooked. Many tutors focus almost entirely on technique but there is absolutely no point getting 100% if only 75% of the exam is completed IFYSWIM .
We paid for a one-to-one tutor for 6 months (less if you count the summer hols) because my kids and I wouldn't have survived each other through the 11+ preparation.
Also I wasn't confident that I would know enough to take them through it (knowledge or exam technique). Tutor also taught maths, english not just reasoning.
They wanted to try for the local grammar and I was happy to go with that, I would prefer that they went single sex anyway, but we can't afford private (single sex). Local comps are co-ed.
We went through the NVR and VR 1 month before hand explained the technique and had a great laugh working out the questions.....
To be honest she is at a good indie and is near the top 10% so its not to bad .
We didn't tutor but did DIY for about 4 months before the 11+ but then DS already started from a very good base especially in maths...
But thank goodness lottysmum you didn't have a grammar to aim for, because if you'd got your bright child into the grammar and not gone to the Indy in order as you say, to wisely save the pennies, you'd have some wierd Mumsnutter come on and tell you you were sticking two fingers up at another child from the other side of the tracks whose place you robbed by not doing your moral duty to society and going private even if you felt the local private was 1) inferior and /or 2) if marginally better results was still not worth the difference in money and too far a trek every day which meant moving house and 3) your child decided the grammar was his preferred school anyway......
DS was tutored (by us, as we couldn't afford anything else) from Yr5- most DC got tutored from Yr5 or before tbh. There were more than 1500 applicants, so less than 10% could get in (and he did get in) and from what he says, everyone in his class was tutored, most of them tutored at home for financial reasons.
And yes, everyone in the superselective is bright. It made bright children better at the exam technique- some bright children who were as bright as other children in the school didn't get in though. If you didn't have a certain level of intelligence, you had no chance, because of how small a percentage actually got in. Equally, everyone in there went to primary state schools and in our area they have a pretty even standard of education (and the opposite in secondary schools) so people had a fairly even base. I you went in without tutoring, you could do well but almost certainly not well enough, iyswim, because most children would have honed the exam skills for more than a year and as a result, would be very quick and adept at answering the questions compared to people who had only a few months practice.
Skogkatter.....Tiffin by any chance, if you don't mind saying? I am sure some of it unfortunately will also be down to how you do on the day, even with intensive prep.
OP: * I took attitude that if she didn't pass then it wasn't the right school for her . She did score highly so we then felt that she would be probably be OK in the average Comprehensive*
I am slightly confused by this. She sat the exams to see if she was bright enough for the indie and once you saw she was it logically followed that she should be ok in the comp? Everyone is ok in the comp, that's why they are called "comprehensive"...?
makemelaugh - Dd scored very highly in the Indie tests so we knew that she would be likely to do well no matter whether she was in a private school or a good comp..... ( we only had the choice of 1 comp (whose intake is just 60 at yr 7) or a brand new free school - we are in a three tier system ...our choice of upper schools was awful...one in special measures, one that was in special measures (just out)...or the school we have chosen whose major intake is year 9....so we pulled our dd out of middle school two years early...
I tutored at home- non verbal, maths and English, although now it's non verbal, verbal and numerical reasoning- using some books I found in a charity shop. DS1 was tutored from Yr5 too skogkatter - ours also had many applicants (I think 1700 or so, for 186 places).
Please remember paid tutoring even intensively offers no guarantees for super-selectives as the differences in marks can be so close, and sometimes it can depend on performance on the day ...if you don't have the time or inclination to do DIY tutoring or want to top up DIY practice with paid tutoring because you really are not sure what the 11+ involves then it might make sense if your child is grammar school material...but there are many who have tutored for 2 years whose children do not get in either ....and others who may be just as intensively tutored by their parents (or even more) as someone paying a tutor for one or two hours a week and leaving them to it.
Some children do get in with familiarisation over just a few weeks (rather than intensive tutoring for over a year or two) but I suspect they are already very exceptional in terms of their ability and in top 1- 5% of their year in subjects like Maths and English. Even in that case, some folk don't want to take the risk and will tutor.
DS is not having professional tutoring, because I don't think its fair to intensively tutor a child to get them in then watch them struggle to keep up and whilst I think they need to see similar questions before the test to stand a chance I don't see the point in paying a tutor to get him used to doing tests when I have my little sister (yr 11 at the super-selective girls) who is going to do a few practice papers with him so the test isn't a complete shock to him and my brother (year 9 at super-selective boys) who is throwing random practice questions at him.
Also I don't want to add extra pressure by formal tutoring as he has had his heart set on going to the same school as my brother since year 3 and there were over 1800 applicants for 150 places last year.
We live in Kent so 11+ is talked about at school a lot and I know that DS and my littlest sister are the only children in year 5 at their school planning to take the 11+ and not already having intensive tutoring, yr9 brother is the only child in his class who wasn't tutored at all and yr11 sister says its only her and 1 friend who weren't tutored in her class too.
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