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.

DogsCock Thu 27-Sep-12 16:47:42

How long is the tutoring? One hour a week? or more? Plus 2 hours homework is that per week?

Does she currently have homework from school to be doing as well?

I think, the most important thing is not to put too much emphasis on the 'must pass' or life is over. Recipe for a messed up teen.

Theas18 Thu 27-Sep-12 16:54:33

What is the grammar school situation round you ? Supersselective or "normal" ie pass the test, live near enough and get a place?

Does she lie high enough in her cohort academically to get a place ? We are a superselective area and honestly the kids were hitting all level 5s before midwat through year 5, nit the end if year 6 ( no level 6 then)

I certainly don't think you or your child should be stressing about it ((()))).

"it's not normal for a child to be wrestling with non verbal reasoning" ...... Disagree- but maybe that's me / mine. Puzzles are fun, things like what are the numbers of the sides of the die that you can't see and similar were normal things she the kids were small - they'd ask, wd explain how to work it out etc

Her tutor should be doing fun stuff not just hundreds of past papers- ask them what else/ how else they can ok with her especially as you have plenty of time.

Do you have a plan b eg private school if you are so anti your comps?

MyMimsy Thu 27-Sep-12 17:08:44

Thea - It's not super, super selective and not every child in the area sits the exam. The grammar takes roughly the top 20% every year.

She's always been on the top table for maths and literacy, and got two Level 4cs in these areas at the end of Yr 4, so maybe she might hit some Level 5s before the end of Yr 5, I don't know?

Her tutor says he will do some word puzzles with her, a little bit of creative writing, and some number games just to break up the monotony of past papers. But, everything is generally geared to fire up her brain that little bit more, and get her exercising the grey matter.

DD appears quite open to all this and says she enjoys her sessions with him.

piggywigwig Thu 27-Sep-12 17:56:25

DD2 has just done the 11+ for a super-selective. She probably sat at pretty much the same level as your DD, when she was starting Yr 5. We didn't have a tutor as I've done it myself.

At the moment, your DD says she's enjoying it and that's so positive smile You know your daughter better than anyone else, so keep a little eye on her to make sure that she pretty much continues loving it wink. There is sometimes a "honeymoon period" wink
Always remember that you're in the driving seat - if it looks like she's starting to look upon it as a PITA, then you can do something about it smile - that can be anything from calling a halt, to pulling back a little, to changing tack on how the work is being approached. You hold the purse-strings - you're the client. I know that some tutors are like gold-dust and put on a pedestal but your daughter is your number one priority.

Non-verbal reasoning and verbal reasoning are such fun and in this, I agree with Theas18. Mine have always found them 10 times more fun and less artificial than conventional school stuff. Don't worry, if she is the sort of person who gets all fired-up about them, then she'll genuinely thrive on the "quiz" or "puzzle" aspect of them.

Do you know what tests she's doing ie Verbal reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, Maths, English?

Sadly the 11+ is harsh in that for many, it's a one-shot exam - no re-takes (unless you class 12+, 13+ etc which not all areas have). It's probably one of the few exams where you don't get another chance to re-sit. For a large number of children, it's the 10+ and that does infact seem a lo of pressure to place upon such young minds and emotions. It's as much about exam technique, as sitting there and showing your reasoning skills. Many's the time I've looked at her and agonized over it all - she's still so young.
Keep talking to her and be supportive - come on here and vent/cry/laugh etc smile

For what it's worth, I survived and passed, my DD1 took it, didn't pass and survived unscathed and totally grounded, DD2 has survived and is very happy. We're waiting for her results wink

jeee Thu 27-Sep-12 18:08:54

I think you need to stop thinking about the comprehensives as being dire (unless you can afford to go private). It won't help your DD's stress levels if you are so negative about the alternatives to the grammar. And I think it is important for a child to understand that they may not pass (even when everyone says they're a dead cert). It's a one-off test and anyone can have a bad day.

My DS has just done his eleven plus, and is currently doing the secondary school trail. He is looking at both grammar and high schools (the non-selective schools in our area). We try to be positive about the high schools - not least because a number of his friends who did not even take the test will be going to them, so we don't want our son to be negative about them, even if he does pass.

piggywigwig Thu 27-Sep-12 18:34:10

"I think you need to stop thinking about the comprehensives as being dire"

With respect, and with no wish to offend, it's very hard for many parents to view their DC's post-primary school choices as anything but dire, when they know from their other DC's experiences that they are infact, worse than dire wink

Most sensible parents won't communicate their fears/worries/negativity to their DC's and none of us should assume OP would do that wink

The trouble can often come, when a younger DC has already seen their elder sibling come home, torn to shreds, so-to-speak, at their catchment school.

I'd love to know how I can stop myself from thinking that my alternative choices are "dire" - bet I'm not on my own in being desperate to know how to achieve that wink

breadandbutterfly Thu 27-Sep-12 18:43:04

Passing the 11+ is not the be-all and end-all - and even the very brightest child can have an off day so no point in putting her or yourself under that much pressure. If she's enjoying it, that's fine and she is not being harmed in any way. The only 'pressure' she could be under that could harm her is if YOU present it as crucial that she passes and that she will be a 'failure' if she doesn't pas.

Actually, if she is a bright, hard-working child, she will do well in any school she goes to and any achool will be lucky to get her - not the other way around.

DogsCock Thu 27-Sep-12 18:43:37

What is your back-up plan if things don't go her way on the day?

Hopefully you won't need it, but you need to have one iyswim

jeee Thu 27-Sep-12 18:47:33

The thing is, piggywig, wig, loads of parents do communicate their fears and negativity to their DCs. One parent explained to us how their son didn't want to practice at all, but they'd explained to him that he'd never get an audi if he didn't pass the test. And no, the parent wasn't joking.

Other parents refuse to look at the non-grammars - and cling on to hopes of appeals until their child actually starts at the local high school.

It is important to be open minded to the possibility of not going to grammar school - because no child is guaranteed a place.

piggywigwig Thu 27-Sep-12 19:05:00

It's absolutely spot-on to try to ensure that DC's know it doesn't really matter if they don't get a place at GS.

DD1 still did spectacularly well, eventually, despite not having a seat at GS. However, I would so hate to be the harbinger of doom but it doesn't always follow that a bright, hard-working child will do well in any school. In theory yes, it's true but our experience proves that it isn't always the case, even when the school has clear, well defined streaming. On paper, the school regarded themselves as fortunate to have the academically-able children but that's where their commitment allegedly ended. I think it's important to be aware of both sides - we certainly are.
Maybe we've become too battle-hardened? We're certainly more wordly-wise

It's not an easy decision, when you know what can happen to a bright, conscientious, self-motivated child at some schools - even when they do promise the moon wink

That's why some parents agonise over this.

11+ equals pressure - as parents we have to try to do our best not to make it a "pass or else" situation.

LinedupandWaiting Thu 27-Sep-12 19:21:50

Thinking of starting up as a private tutor. Have 2 bright kids myself whose education I've "supplemented" all along. Have a PhD (in Chemistry) with Uni level maths & physics, so comfortable with maths, physics, chemistry & primary stuff, but no formal "teaching qualifications". If I advertised, would anyone be interested/trust me or do parents only want qualified teachers?

Coconutty Costa Rica Thu 27-Sep-12 19:36:23

I really, really hate 11+ tuition.

What happens when the kids who get into a GS can't cope with the work? I hate seeing kids in this situation and it happens every year here. sad

DogsCock Thu 27-Sep-12 19:45:53

similar here coconutty - or tutored to within an inch of their lives, and still don;t get into a gs. I have seen those children, and it is heartbreaking when they have to walk into primary school and tell the other children they did not get through.

I have also walked behind a mother who had picked up her year 6 son from school and her first words were
#well you let yourself down on the verbal reasoning, so you haven;t passed, but we will be appealing#

I wanted to tap her on the shoulder and then punch her on the nose. Incidentally, the child in question did get in on appeal only to leave after 1 year because he couldn;t cope. Yes, he had been tutored to death just to passs the 11 plus, but clearly could not keep up with the naturally brainy gs boys.

Please remember, your work is not done when they gain a place. One of the gs heads says to parents that if their child was tutored to get the place, please continue to get them tutored throughout their time there. In other words if they needed a tutor to get there they will need one even more now. Wise words.

Saying all this, if your other choices are so dire, I can understand why some parents so desperately want their children to get in to a good school.

Theas18 Thu 27-Sep-12 19:49:49

Lined up id have no problem employing you if you clicked with the kids. Have you looked into crb checks? I suspect that may be a problem if you aren't working in, or volunteering in an area that would get you one done. It seems there isn't a pathway fr private individuals to apply..

LinedupandWaiting Thu 27-Sep-12 19:54:25

Forgot to say I have some school experience (as a volunteer) and have also helped with Brownies so do have CRB checks. Good point 'though Theas. Thanks for that.

NimpyWindowMash Thu 27-Sep-12 19:59:29

Lot's of things are artificial though aren't they? A lot of the maths problems at school are artificial.
You're not being silly and sentimental, of course it's natural to not want to put our kids under pressure. But since it seems she is able to handle it, she says she's enjoying it, and it will ultimately be in her best interests, I think you are doing the right thing.

racingheart Sat 29-Sep-12 19:39:07

You don't need to worry. Of all tests they need to sit, NVR is the one they like most, even though it's hard. Just call them puzzles. My DC ask to do them when they're ill. They see it as similar to word searches or sudoku - just fun brain teasers.

Three hours a week is nothing. It's not tiger mum territory. Allow her to enjoy it. Behave as though learning is fun, being bright is fun, doing your best is fun and she'll pick up on your attitude.

piggywigwig Sun 30-Sep-12 13:24:11

I was tutored at school for the 11+ - I didn't struggle at GS, didn't need a tutor and got in a Russell Group University with an amazing offer. I'm not bragging, merely saying that I think it's important to mention that it's a gross generalisation that's often kicked around as an idea, but not necessarily true, that tutored children struggle.

Here's something for us all to ponder on...we had girls in my year at GS who struggled - they'd passed but hadn't had any tutoring at all - this was in the days when you didn't generally have tutors. So...how does one explain girls who passed the one Verbal Reasoning 11+ test, without tutoring, still struggling?
If one argues that, by not tutoring at all, then the naturally bright, able children will rise to the top of the pile of 11+ candidates and therefore not struggle at GS, then that isn't necessarily true. If only life were that simple and people could be placed into nice, neat little categories wink

As far as tutoring is concerned, I too have concerns about some children who may have been tutored to the hilt on say, an 11+ exam that comprises only Verbal Reasoning or NVR for that matter. However, I'd be genuinely interested to hear peoples' ideas and thoughts on how a child can sit an exam where the Maths is based on the entire KS2 syllabus and probably a bit of KS3, when the children who are sitting it, have only been in YR 6 for 2 or 3 weeks?
Again, another genuine question. Do people feel it's inappropriate/unacceptable to explain to the children how to do all of KS2 maths concepts/syllabus in preparation for facing the inevitably challenging questions in the 11+ Maths exam?
I could tutor a child to the nth degree in KS2 Maths but they still have to sit there and work out what the question is all about and apply the knowledge they have, in a quick, accurate and appropriate way wink
I have mixed thoughts on tutoring because of my experiences. However, I know for sure, that I long for an 11+ exam system in this country that's about as tutor-proof as you can get. But even with that, you'll get some little fishies getting through the net, who'll pass and struggle when they get to GS because NVR/VR aren't curriculum subjects - and let's face it, you can be a whizz at those but still struggle wink

Elibean Sun 30-Sep-12 14:21:56

Hear hear re those little fishes wriggling through the net.

Aged 11 (with no tutoring, but a million years ago) I was a whizz at NVR and VR, my brain just worked that way. I was also a lazy thing who didn't bother with subjects that didn't interest me, so if my school had picked me on the basis of my 11+......wink

letseatgrandma Sun 30-Sep-12 20:27:24

Despite passing the 11+ 25 years ago myself without any tutoring, that situation very rarely occurs any more round here which is sad. Unfortunately, if you want your DC to stand a chance (certainly in my area though I can't speak for anyone else's county) you need to play the game.

I didn't get a tutor for DS, but familiarised him with what was needed myself. He gets the results next month, so we shall see how good I was then! I contemplated getting a tutor, but the only thing I absolutely wanted was someone who was a primary school teacher. DH then pointed out to me that as I was a primary school teacher, I should just get on with it; it has worked really well.

As to the person who had a science PhD and wanted to tutor; no, I probably wouldn't see that as relevant for primary/11+ and would opt for someone with a teaching qualification. If any of my DC were struggling in secondary science though, that would be different and I'd probably consider you for that!

APMF Thu 04-Oct-12 09:13:13

Why do posters continue to go on about how children who past 11+ sometimes struggle once in? The entrance requirement is a reflection of demand and often bears no relation to what is required to keep up once in.

DialMforMummy Thu 04-Oct-12 09:39:40

If your DD does not get in after two year of tutoring, then she is not up to it.
GS education is great for the right children and can be an awful experience for the kids who only made it because they got tutored to death.
GS should not be about who has the money to tutor their kids. It should be tutoring-proof so it is actually fulfilling what it was meant to be. I really really think it is wrong to tutor your DC (in case you had not picked up on that!) for the 11+.
Anyway, as some else said, you should have a plan B in place.

sue52 Thu 04-Oct-12 10:51:03

3 hours sounds a lot of extra work for a 9 year old. Are the 2 hours a week homework really necessary as she already has a tutor for an hour? If I were you, I would hold back the additional work for the summer holidays to ensure she doesn't peak too early and get bored with the constant reasoning tests.

This is third time round for me and I think that you are doing far too much too early. Dd2 is in year five and has an hour a week which will step up next year.

We are aiming for superselective like ds. I think they crash and burn otherwise.

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.

moontuition Tue 11-Feb-14 22:32:18

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Minifingers Tue 11-Feb-14 23:30:45

I feel your pain.

Ds will start his tutoring shortly. I think he'll love it. It's me who's stressing.

He particularly loves the NVR stuff, which I find bloody incomprehensible.

I just feel sad that he's unlikely to get a grammar place no matter what we do. (Super selective, lots of private prep kids apply).

NanaNina Wed 12-Feb-14 00:45:59

I don't want to upset any parents or be confrontational but I do think you need to take care about excessive tutoring. In the area where I live there is a grammar school that is hugely over subscribed and only 10% of girls get in - well it might be lower than that now. My DGD sailed through primary and was level 5s in Year 5 and her best friend was the same - they were as you might say "neck and neck" - my wise DIL would not let DGD be tutored at all, because (as someone has pointed out) if they are "taught to the test" what's going to happen when they get to gs and can't keep up. Incidentally my son and DIL are both primary school teachers.

In the event DGD did not get in but the best friend did and apparently her father came into the playground with the letter for her to open herself and she had passed. DGD knew how much tutoring her friend had had - in the girl's own words "morning, noon and night." Very sadly the girl missed most of Yr 8 at the gs as she was in a psychiatric hospital with Anorexia and was a very slightly built child. I also know of another friend of a friend whose daughter went to the same gs and she too got an ED though wasn't hospitalised and left the gs in Yr 10. It's the same gs where both girls went, and I know from the friend of a friend that all they cared about was grades and neither of these girls were offered any support at all.

The friend of a friend's girl is now doing well at a 6th form college and I'm not sure about the other girl. I can only hope she has recovered.

Just a little word of warning.................

barbour Wed 12-Feb-14 11:42:06

They will crash and burn if you are not careful ...if too much is done too soon, and that may happen just at the time when they are needed to be "on"...my DS got into superselectives (indies and grammar) - we didn't tutor but did a lot of DIY...and I saw he was in danger of being totally bored of the whole process so we had to ease off for a while leading up to the exam and we had started only a few months before the exams at a steady but not intensive pace of practising the usual off the shelf NVR, VR, English and maths. Also many of the grammar schools are changing their tests now to a less tutorable CEM style which will hopefully calm things down a bit on the tutoring side.

Minifingers Wed 12-Feb-14 13:12:31

NanaNina - can't say I agree with you.

You have to acknowledge that there is a nuclear arms race going on with tutoring. If my very bright ds sits the entrance exam of the local super selective without tutoring he is likely to perform worse than a similarly bright boy who has had a year of 11+ tutoring. Then of course you have to factor in the fact that's he'll also be sitting the exam alongside kids who've been in private schools, where the pace of learning tends to be much faster because of the smaller classes and planned exclusion of children who aren't bright, and children who have significant behavioural problems.

The days of not very bright children being tutored into grammar and then struggling are nearly over, given the levels of competition for grammar places. There are more than enough extremely bright children who love learning to fill the places 3 times over.

barbour Wed 12-Feb-14 13:17:23

no there is not a nuclear arms race with tutoring...there are a lot of children who are heavily tutored who don't get into superselectives and a lot who do a lot of practice a home DIY only with some limited guidance from their parents and don't pay for tutoring ...there is a lot of paranoia that people buy into though about tutoring --- you can perfectly manage to do this yourself at home with your child if they are willing to put in the hours and effort....it's not rocket science or neurosurgery - it's only 11+ fgs.

JustAnotherUserName Wed 12-Feb-14 13:49:24

Barbour diy at home is tutoring. Just edit Mini's post and you will see she makes a very valid point.

You have to acknowledge that there is a nuclear arms race going on with tutoring preparation for 11+. If my very bright ds sits the entrance exam of the local super selective without tutoring such practice he is likely to perform worse than a similarly bright boy who has had a year of 11+ tutoring preparation.

Minifingers Wed 12-Feb-14 14:27:14

Barbour - of course you are right that many children who are tutored heavily don't get in to grammar schools. Brighter children than these who are tutored by confident parents who understand the 11+ and have good standards of numeracy and literacy themselves can of course make a huge difference to their child's chances by doing the work themselves at home.

But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about similarly bright children - one of whom may have had two years of regular, focused tutoring in maths and English from an experienced, qualified teacher skilled in identifying gaps in learning, and with an excellent track record of getting children through the 11+, while the other has a parent who may have good numeracy and literacy skills but hasn't the time or the energy or the confidence to bring the child to standard where they will perform brilliantly in an exam. And there is clear evidence that grammars take in disproportionate numbers of children from private schools. The Sutton Trust recently published a report on this: here

As for "....it's not rocket science or neurosurgery" - there speaks someone who lives in an middle-class bubble. I have friends with no GCSEs and poor basic literacy and numeracy who have extremely bright children. No, 11+ coaching at home is not a massive challenge for most graduate parents or those who've done A-levels, and who have the time to do it. But there are many people who would really struggle with this. For goodness sake, my husband has a Phd in chemistry but would find it hard to tutor my 10 year old well in creative writing!

Minifingers Wed 12-Feb-14 14:33:17

From a 2013 news report:

"Many parents rely on private tutors to boost their child's chance of a grammar school place, suggests a small poll.

Seventy-two per cent of 212 first year grammar school pupils said they had been tutored for entrance exams in their last years of primary school.

Researchers from the Institute of Education (IoE) spoke to students at grammar schools in south-east England."

Would add, of the 28% who didn't admit to private tutoring I suspect that many have parents who undertook a structured programme of intensive tutoring at home.

surreytuition Sun 16-Feb-14 15:06:52

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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