Extra tutoring for 11+

(60 Posts)
MadameCastafiore Fri 10-Apr-09 18:42:05

Can someone tell me when kids start the extra tutoring for the 11+. A friend of ours, whose daughter is getting tutoring, has told us that the kids need it for the non-verbal reasoning as this format is completely unique to the 11+ and the kids won't be able to pass without it. She also said that DD will need to start tutoring at the beginning of year 5 as she will have to take the exam at the beginning of year 6 - is this right? It seems an awfully long time.

stillconfused Fri 15-Oct-10 10:40:19

My DS is taking the 11+ in Essex - there is no way he would be able to cope without tutoring (home or via external tutor) as the levels children are tested on are far beyond what they do at school. He is in top sets and maths club at a good state primary and his SATS at the end of year five were in the range you would expect for a Grammar School candidate. When I spoke to our head she agreed that it is best to start preparing about a year in advance. I assume if your child goes to a private school this may be very different as some of them (or the majority?) train children for the selective tests.

It is a shame but as there is such demand for these places the tests become harder and harder.

BrigitBigKnickers Fri 15-Oct-10 11:45:50

You are right stillconfused. We too live in Essex and the 11+ is fiercely competetive round here.

Many of the pupils who get into the Grammar schools here have been to private prep schools where they are coached in 11+ skills from a young age at school. One girl I know who is at the super selective Chelmsford girls' school said that 75% of her school year were made up of privately educated pupils.

There is quite a bit of maths for the 11+ that is well into level 6 in the NC is largely not covered at KS2. The English is amazingly difficult- recent comprehension 11+ papers have been from Tess of the D'urbervilles and Bleak House- (never mind DD I couldn't make head nor tail of it!)confused

The test papers are said to have increased in difficulty as compared to 10/15 years ago simply because many more pupils now have tuition.

My DD had tuition (her idea-she really wanted to do it) starting in the November of year 5(at a local Kip Mcgrath centre)It was fairly unpressurised until we got to the few weeks before the test.

She passed grinand has recently started at the Westcliff girls school and is loving it. She is coping well with the work and is easily up with the abilities of her classmates.The often made comment about tutored children not coping when they get to grammar school doesn't seem to be true for her.

MrsBartlet Fri 15-Oct-10 12:43:26

Stillconfused - I think you are right - it would be unfair to send a child into the Essex exam without having been prepared for it. My ds will be doing the 11+ next year and will be tutored. He is totally grammar school material but I know what the competition is like!!

I totally agree with you BrigitBigKnickers about the comment about tutored children not thriving in grammar school - it drives me mad and is clearly not applicable to Essex. Dd is at Chelmsford County High - she was tutored (and I don't think she would have got in without it) yet she is thriving. Glad your dd is enjoying Westcliff.

mattellie Fri 15-Oct-10 17:21:28

Totally agree, this is a complete myth. The 11+ is a very specific type of exam and you need practice in it to enable you to pass, not least because some of the areas it covers will not be covered in a typical state primary school until later in Y6 (ie after the exam), if at all.

Not in the same part of the country as BBK/MrsB but in my area the GCSE stats do not appear to support the theory that DCs who struggled to pass the 11+ (or who got through on appeal) do any worse than those who sailed through with flying colours.

Camp Mon 18-Oct-10 06:17:24

yes, 11+ is all about practice. A subject like maths, one only gets better & better with solving different types of examples. Tutoring must not be looked at only from the 11+ angle. its a good mind excercise which when done under a good guide only makes u love the subject more!!! An ideal tutor would never push a child, just guide them thru so that they effortlessly achieve targets set for their individual pace of learning. One such tutor I have had experience with did just this for my kids. you can reach her at kidskids88@gmail.com.
also Kip Mcgrath is another good palce to get loads of hands on practice.

Bluestockings Sun 24-Oct-10 16:41:16

11+ English: A Parent's Toolkit by Katherine Hamlyn is a brilliant alternative to coaching. It costs £12.95 but that's less than half a tutoring session. It has very sensible advice and good practical exercises. (Also some very funny pictures.) No good if you're a flat-out working mum but if you've got time it's really useful and fun. My DD and I have really enjoyed using it.

K8Water Tue 26-Oct-10 22:34:06

The competition is so fierce out there for grammar school places that if you do not tutor your children in some way or another they are unlikely to get in! Very bright children are tutored - and this usually begins at the beginning of Year 5. State school children are also competing against prep school pupils where previous exposure to practice material is probable.

My DD, who is in Year 5, is using www.tutr.co.uk for verbal reasoning practice resources. I have to give her the best chance possible!

Yoursmartchildnow Sun 13-Feb-11 16:39:09

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Yoursmartchildnow Sun 13-Feb-11 18:17:02

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Yoursmartchildnow Sun 13-Feb-11 18:20:11

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LIZS Sun 13-Feb-11 18:24:30

yeah right !

Feenie Sun 13-Feb-11 19:26:07

You're an idiot, Yoursmartchildnow - as if anyone would make their username the name of a company they happen to have nothing to do with.

You have totally shot yourself in the foot - no MNer will go near your tutoring company now. If the spamming didn't do it, the poorly spelt/punctuated posts put the tin lid on it for sure.

Dyslexiatutor Thu 17-Feb-11 17:02:12

Dyslexic and dyspraxic children score very highly in these tests naturally.

I assess and tutor children who are dyslexic, dyspraxic and aspergers syndrome, and they do not need tutoring in the areas of non-verbal reasoning. They are often exceptionally good at these visual pattern problem solving tests, though they may need to learn keyboarding skills, and a concession of using a laptop in school and for exams to offset other processing problems they may have, such as spelling. It is not possible to 'tutor' intelligence. This type of test may be unfamiliar to them, that's true' but it is their reaction to it that is the real test. The intelligent one's meet that challenge. The test is designed to be outside school learning, into the abstract. Visual learners excel in this type of test.

Bunbaker Thu 17-Feb-11 17:10:17

How does the entrance exam for an independent grammar school differ from the 11+? DD sat an entrance exam for a high school in the next city in January and passed easily. I didn't tutor her, but downloaded a few entrance exam papers from the net to give her an idea of what to expect.

I take the view that if a child needs so much extra help to get through an exam that they may struggle at grammar school.

Michaelahpurple Fri 18-Feb-11 17:30:34

The schools are kidding themselves, but the other reaction can also be disconcerting. I was visiting a London prep school for 8+ entry, and when I said where my son was currently at school (one which is great but doesn't make a bit focus of 8+), the head bluntly said words to the effect of "Oh, he'll need tutoring to perform to his level at 8+; here's the number of a tutor". I was quite thrown by this!

MillyR Fri 18-Feb-11 19:57:37

You need to prepare for the 11 plus, just like you need to prepare for any exam. Most 11 plus exams test for maths and verbal reasoning ability; these are both acquired skills so of course preparation helps.

The issue is that some parents intensively prepare their children, which is bad for the children and doesn't help them improve beyond a certain point.

I think teaching children that they should be able to pass an exam without working towards it, on the basis that they have some kind of innate amazingness, is a poor life lesson. The only child who passed a test on that basis was Harry Potter.

Bunbaker Sat 19-Feb-11 09:14:09

The entrance exam DD sat had maths, english and verbal reasoning papers. Beyond looking at a few verbal reasoning papers from about three weeks beforehand DD didn't do much preparation at all. They are doing far more preparation for the KS2 SATS at school than DD did for her exam. It sounds like I am boasting, but I know that she isn't Einstein and she isn't scholarship material either. It helped that it didn't really matter if DD didn't pass the exam as we have a perfectly good comprehensive on our doorstep. I didn't put her under any pressure and she wasn't nervous on exam day - I was more nervous than she was. Besides, the high school have refused us a bursary so DD won't be going there anyway.

vocabularycards Tue 30-Oct-12 15:28:06

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tiggytape Tue 30-Oct-12 21:29:17

If it is an 11+ exam for a school that only takes the top 150 out of 1500 applicants (no sibling or catchment priority) then the scores at the top are so close that people don't tutor children to pass - they tutor them to squeeze out every last 0.5% that might make all the difference between a pass with no place and a pass with an offer.

Many children pass these exams even though they are pitched at a high level but it isn't enough just to pass. You have to pass with a score that beats most of the other scores to actually get a place.

I don't think any of those schools pretend to be serving poor but bright children anymore. They are almost entirely populated by very middle class families even if the school itself is situated in a poorer part of town. The number of children eligible for free school meals is way below the national average even though, in theory, these schools have no catchment area or any extra selection beyond an academic exam to ensure only middle class families attend.

TheLaineyWayIsEssex Fri 02-Nov-12 10:30:47

If anyone needs a tutor in the Colchester area PM me. I know a lovely Cambridge Law graduate who has just started a tutoring business.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Sat 03-Nov-12 12:34:58

My area doesn't do NVR for 11+. Which is a shame, because my untutored DS1 can ace NVR papers with 100% correct answers.

If your DC has the innate natural talent, then tutoring isn't that necessary, 6 x 2hr sessions covering the VR and the English and Maths that they aren't taught in Primary should be plenty.

My local superselective Grammar deputy HT maintains that the most heavily tutored tend to achieve less.

I think that if your local Grammar is superselective, then the most you need is tutoring from the start of Y5. And only one session a week.

If your child is getting level 4b's/4a's at the end if Y4' they shouldn't need lots of tutoring to get into Grammar. If they aren't at that level at the end of Y4, then are they really suited to Grammar school?

My eldest DC, DD wasn't. And is doing better than expected at her Comp.

My DS1 was getting levels at or higher than those at the end of Y4, and got a mark that should get him into the local superselective for next September, despite being very ill for the time of the 11+.

My DS2, I doubt it. Though at the start of Y4, his levels are climbing. I will make a decision at the end of Y4, but it's likely to be the local comp for him too.

Each child is different, and I don't wish to push one school for all, when what I really want is the best school for EACH DC, as individuals.

letseatgrandma Tue 06-Nov-12 22:25:14

If your child is getting level 4b's/4a's at the end if Y4' they shouldn't need lots of tutoring to get into Grammar. If they aren't at that level at the end of Y4, then are they really suited to Grammar school?

I don't think that NC levels are always a reliable indicator though. DS was a 4c at the end of Y4 (with only a 3a in writing) and has just got a great pass mark in the Essex 11+. He's working at a 5b in most things now and is doing well. I wouldn't say you necessarily need to be a 4b/a by the end of Y4 and that you aren't grammar material if you aren't?

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Tue 06-Nov-12 23:19:13

I agree that it's possible to be at a lower NC level at the end of Y4, and to have a developmental leap in Y5, meaning that you are capable of gaining a place at a superselective GS in Y6.

I don't think that a DC that is lower than level 4a at the end of Y4, that makes expected two sub level progress in Y5, is likely to get a high enough mark to gain a place at the start of Y6.

At least, not without intensive tutoring.

The average NC levels at the end of Y5 of the DC's I know in Essex that have hot good enough marks to be highly likely to gain a place at one if the GS's in Essex are 5b's across the board minimum. And mostly are 5a's and 6's at the end of Y5.

Though I guess it depends if you are aiming for one of the Southend schools, or KEGS/CRGS/CCHS/CoCHS.

The mark that gains entry to the Southend schools is lower than that for the Chelmsford or Colchester GS's.

So a child on 3a/4c/4b at the end of Y4 is more likely to gain a place at a Southend school than at a Chelmsford or Colchester school. Most of the people I know in Essex are looking to gain entry to a Chelmsford or Colchester school.

I still maintain that the most a naturally able DC will need in the way if tutoring is 6 x 2hr sessions to familiarise themselves with the multiple choice VR test layout and the English and Maths they may not yet have covered.

And I agree that NC levels may not match up with the knowledge necessary to pass the 11+, certainly in Essex, but I would not imagine that a DC on lvl 3a across the board at the end of Y4, that made 'expected progress' in Y5 would gain a place at a Chelmsford or Colchester school.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Tue 06-Nov-12 23:45:34

I also think that if a DC needs intensive tutoring to get a high enough mark in the 11+ to gain a place at a superselective GS, then that parent should think about whether a GS is the best environment for their DC.

Is their DC going to find it less stressful being at the top of a Comprehensive top set, or the bottom of a GS bottom set? Each DC will react differently to those stresses.

For some, being bottom of the bottom set in GS would be terribly damaging to their self esteem, and they may actually gain far better results being top of the top set in a Comprehensive.

For others, being top of a top set in Comprehensive would encourage them to 'coast', whereas being bottom of the bottom set in GS would 'push' their DC's to work harder.

Each DC is individual. So IMO, if a parent feels that their DC will need to be heavily tutored, with 1/2 or more years of tutoring, to pass the 11+ with a high enough mark to gain a place, they need to look at their DC, and what would be the best for them.

Not what the parent would like for the best, but what is best for their individual DC.

And that may not be the same for all of their DC's, either.

Just because you want them at a GS, doesn't mean that it will automatically be the best 'fit' for that child.

A poor girl in my DS's class was put through the 11+ (in Essex), tutored for 3 full years, sent to Kumon Maths, etc etc.

She got 232 on the Essex 11+. And though her parents had done a good job telling her that she had done well, and she should be proud of herself, then found themselves called to pick their DD up early from school in years the next day. Because on telling her friends how well she had done, one turned round to her and said "Aww, we won't be at school together next year, I'm going to miss you". When this poor girl asked how her friend knew they wouldn't be at school together before March 1st, the response she got was "Well, I got 379, and I will safely get a place at CoCHS. If you scored less than 327, you won't get a place. Will you still come to sleepovers after school?"

And that's why I feel that parents should think long and hard about putting DC's in for the 11+ if they know they will need to be heavily tutored to have any chance of gaining a place.

The upset girl I was on about was on 3b/3c at the end of Y4, despite nearly two years at that point of tuition. (The mum has since told me over coffee & cake. She thought tuition would get her DD a place.)

Surely at that point, her parents could have seen that it might not be the best thing for THEIR DD to be put in for the 11+?

And realise that for those of us who didn't make the decision to do the 11+, but were asked to do it BY their DC's, were obviously going to be more open with our DC's, and that people like me were going to make sure that our DC's were well aware before the 11+ that the local school was a good school, and that they would do well anywhere, and that we would open the results email together and discuss the results and what they meant with each other.

Turned out, she expected all of the DC's in the class that sat the test to have no clue about scores needed to gain entry to the Colchester schools. Considering it was the only topic chatted about the day after the results finally came out, I thought that was a bit naive.

Not everybody puts their DC's in for a test then doesn't discuss the implications of that test.

I'm not dating that it is impossible for a child on 3b/3c at the end of Y4 to gain a place at Grammar. I AM saying that it is unlikely without either a developmental leap in Y5, or heavy tutoring.

letseatgrandma Wed 07-Nov-12 13:30:42

You mention 4b/4a to begin with as being where you should be by the end of Y4 to stand a chance, but finish on saying it's unlikely that a 3b/3c at the end of Y4 would be successful.

I agree with your second point, but there are levels in between. I would say that a 4c at the end of Y4 (like my DS was- in my experience, the maths is usually the strongest subject indicator as to whether they will pass), who makes expected progress in Y5/6 (ie 2 sublevels in Y5 and maybe another by this stage in Y6) would be on track to pass. This isn't a massive developmental leap. DS scored 355+ in the Essex 11+ and certainly didn't have heavy tutoring-only bits I'd done at home with him.

I don't mean to be picky but I'd hate for parents of children with only just above average scores to be put off thinking about grammars. I think the people who did really well from DS's friends (ie 350+ -I presume these would be good enough to be considered for the super selectives in Colchester?) weren't the ones who were level 5b/a but were the ones with extremely supportive parents!

It can be done!

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