Confessional: I've booked an 11+ tutor.

(218 Posts)
recyclingbag Sat 11-Jul-15 09:09:08

Starting in September, DS will just be starting year 5.

I have done this purely out of panic
a) if I didn't they'd all be gone by the New Year
b) everyone else seems to have one in some ridiculous arms race
c) I never want to feel like I somehow failed my child but not giving him the support we are capable of.

I'm disappointed in myself to be honest. I always swore he'd get there on his own ability or not at all.

It's a county grammar, so takes about the top 20%

I'm only posting here because I can't tell anyone in real life.

PotteringAlong Sat 11-Jul-15 09:17:05

Cancel it. If he doesn't get in anyway it's a colossal waste of money. If he only gets in because he was tutored to within an inch of his life for 2 years you're setting him up to fail and if he would've got in without tutoring you're back to the colossal waste of money.

recyclingbag Sat 11-Jul-15 09:17:55

Actually it was be a year, not 2, but I know what you mean.

recyclingbag Sat 11-Jul-15 09:18:45

Sorry, it will be a year!

tobysmum77 Sat 11-Jul-15 09:26:21

and this is an issue because???

I really disagree in general with the whole tutoring malarky but unfortunately you have to tutor to put them on a level playing field with the others. If you don't do it his mates will get in and he won't.

Assuming that ds wants to take the 11+ just put your ideals to one side and crack on. Its only 1 year after all, its hardly tutoring him to within an inch of his life.

recyclingbag Sat 11-Jul-15 09:32:13

Thank you Tobysmum. That is exactly it. ��

recyclingbag Sat 11-Jul-15 09:34:42

At the moment I feel like I need to give him choices.

If he looks around the grammars next July and really wants to go to one - the there really will be a panic to familiarise him with papers etc and we really will have to tutor him 'to within an inch of his life' over the summer holidays.

This way feels a bit more relaxed. It's 45 minutes one on one a week. Hardly Child Genius!

SmileAndNod Sat 11-Jul-15 09:46:13

I'm conflicted Tbh.

Ds is only year 2 and we've been told he's gs material (not sure how the teachers can tell at 7) and that 10 sessions should be enough. But my friend had her children tutored from year 3 onwards. We can't afford that anyway so I feel we are already doing him a disservice.

It's all a bit mad isn't it. If you're happy with your decision though it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks!

recyclingbag Sat 11-Jul-15 09:55:48

DS has friends who've been tutored since year 3 and I think that is madness.

But you end up thinking 'I'm buggered if he's going to lose a place to them!' and then you listen to yourself and have to give yourself a talking to wink

I too think 10 sessions is enough. Part of my reason for booking it for September was a fear that it would be a panic next May.

I'll be honest I know nothing about what I'm doing. I know very little about this tutor other than he sounded very nice on the phone, I like the articles he writes on his website and I think DS would like him.

mugglingalong Sat 11-Jul-15 09:59:56

We have done the same for the same reasons but actually it has been great. Dd has loved going to her tutor group. It has helped to identify areas which she was unsure on. Whether she passes or not she is more confident in key areas which will help her whichever school she goes to. She lacked confidence which this has given her.

Yes maybe we have increased her chance of passing but struggling when she is there, however over 90% of those sitting the test in her state school have had a tutor, not to mention the children who have had a private education in small, non disruptive, classes, some of whom still have a tutor. I feel it is more a levelling of the playing field.

mugglingalong Sat 11-Jul-15 10:05:21

Oh and we went around the schools in Sept/Oct (and again now, possibly again in Sept). As one school put it you would probably visit a house more than once before buying it so why not a school. It really helped because dd loved the grammar but also really liked another school which she will definitely get a place in. She had one wobble about 'what will happen if I don't pass?' I just said well you can go to X school, you liked X school 'oh yes I really liked X school.' We have tried not to let it dominate too much and hopefully yr6 will be a little more relaxed as with all the tutoring the parents have paid for the SATs won't be too much more of a stretch.

JugglingLife Sat 11-Jul-15 10:05:28

Call it 'familiarisation' rather than tutoring, then it's ok. wink Good luck by the way.

wannabestressfree Sat 11-Jul-15 10:06:14

We moved our son from a primary where he was on P levels by the time he was in year three. He thrived at his new primary and showed rapid progress and I got him a tutor. I am a teacher and he is also the youngest of three boys- two others go to my school and it's a fab place and right for them.
He missed the test in maths by 1 mark and passed overall by 18 and we got a place on appeal. It is absolutely the right place for him and I am really pleased we threw everything at it! Lots of people tutor in my area and in fact I have helped a few friends children.
Please don't worry....

recyclingbag Sat 11-Jul-15 21:14:05

Thank you all. I feel better.

God bless Mumsnet grin

Did you ask specifically to go round the school? They only seem to do one open say a year round these parts!

wannabestressfree Sat 11-Jul-15 21:50:49

We are in kent and went to specific open days then a look around school 'in action'.

EeyorePigletAndPoohToo Sun 12-Jul-15 20:29:07

I went to a grammar school 25 years ago, and back then absolutely nobody was tutored (or if they were, they kept it very quiet!). We were living in the same county until recently, and things have clearly changed, as certainly in the circles I mixed in virtually everyone was putting their child's name down for tutoring. And not just at the end of Year 4 to start in Year 5! I am not joking - the most popular local 11+ tutor in the area was fully booked up, with a long waiting list, for DS2's year group when DS2 was in Nursery. Yes really!!! We have since escaped the county!

Good luck to your DS, recycling. I hope he gets the school you both want.

mandy214 Sun 12-Jul-15 21:20:40

Where we live, everyone I know (have a child in Year 5) who is putting their child in for the entrance exams has tutored. And that includes the parents I know of children attending prep school. So whilst it is great to have ideals and stick to them, in this instance, unfortunately, if you live here, it just means your child is at a disadvantage. And I tried to put my younger child's name down on the tutor's waiting list - at the start of Year 1 (so 4 years in advance of starting tutor sessions at the start of Year 5) - thought she would laugh in my face. She told me she had already filled her 20 places!!

RashDecision Sun 12-Jul-15 21:44:01

This idea of "getting their on their own merit" is utter bullshit.

We are in an 11+ county, DS sat the test last year, and I know most of the kids in the two years above.

I don't know any that weren't expected to pass that did pass. Can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear, to put it bluntly. I do know a few that should've been a shoo in and didn't pass. Kids that have been top table since Reception. These kids either didn't have tutors or their oarents didn't do enough prep with them, instead believing that "they'd get their on their own merit".

You don't have to have a tutor, but if you'don't have one, you need the time patience and a relatively obedient child to do the work yourself. The money we paid for a tutor in Y5 was possibly the best money I've ever spent. DS adored his tutor, they'd spend a great chunk of the 45 mins each week laughing, and he'd often pick him up by the ankles and swing him round to squeals of joy. By the end, he really wanted to do well for himself, but also for the tutor, who he adored. He did very well.

Your child gets one chance in our county. Not worth the risk IMO not to give them every chance.

RashDecision Sun 12-Jul-15 21:46:45

There not their. Oops blush

Luna9 Sun 12-Jul-15 22:07:31

Many people use tutors where I live; I don't see a problem in doing this if you have the money, specially if the child attends a state school where there are 30 children in each class and only one teacher; it helps them reinforce the knowledge and learn new things; it improves the chances in getting a place in selective secondary schools.

Leeds2 Sun 12-Jul-15 22:15:56

I volunteer in a primary school, and ALL the children whose parents want them to go to grammar school have them tutored. Without exception.

How does your DS feel about doing the grammar test/having a tutor? If he isn't on board with the idea, there may be problems ahead!

recyclingbag Sun 12-Jul-15 22:47:41

Leeds2, we haven't told him yet.

I don't want it to be a massive issue for him.

We have had conversations about grammar in the past, around why he might not go to secondary with all of his friends.

The conversation has so far involved
- the test will tell whether you're suited to that school's style of teaching
- sitting the test will give you more schools to choose from
- tried to explain catchment areas and why he may not get a choice in automatically going where his friends do.

He doesn't know what school he wants to go to as he doesn't really know much about them yet.

We have talked about tutors in the past as several of his friends already have them and some go to Explore learning.

I've said that sometimes it's nice to get some extra practice at things without the class distractions.

I shall lay a bit more groundwork over the summer and then bring it up properly with him at the end of the holidays.

pinkelephantsintheroom Sun 12-Jul-15 23:11:03

Why you shouldn't employ a tutor:

1. Not everyone who gets in uses a tutor. This is a myth. In fact, of the group of 4 kids from my dc's primary who applied together, the 2 who'd relied on paid tutors failed, while the 2 whose own parents had helped them look at past papers etc passed.

2. Tutoring your own child is free!

3. Tutoring your own child strengthens bonds between parent and child.

4. Tutoring your own child is a far better use of limited time and likely to be far more effective in that you can squeeze in a few minutes when your child is in the right mood or its convenient. You're not tied to someone else's timetable.

5. You know your child better than any tutor - you know when they actually don't know something or are just being lazy, you know what they should have covered in school and what they haven't, you know which areas they find harder or how to motivate them. No tutor can possibly know any of these things better than you.

6. No tutor cares like you do.

7. There are no qualifications to tutor 11+ so anyone can and does claim to be an expert. (Primary teaching courses do not cover VR, NVR or 11+.) Lots of tutors haven't got a clue. I (briefly) employed an old dear who believed dcs still had interviews for grammars! She taught a friend's dc for an English paper but did no practice for the VR paper, without passing which the English paper was not even marked! Needless to say, friend's dc never made it past the VR, so all that English tuition was a waste of time and money. And this tutor came recommended. Do you want to risk putting your child's future in the hands of a stranger?

8. Tutoring for the 11+ is really very easy, provided you check out the details of the specific exam you're tutoring for. All the info you need is on the 11+ website. Beyond that, there are lots of commercially published practice materials available, and none of it should be in any way difficult for a normally intelligent adult - these exams are only aimed at 10-year-olds, so any parent should be able to cope fine. The only exception I can think of is parents who do not have English as a first language, who might struggle a little with VR or English exams. But native English speakers should find it perfectly feasible.

recyclingbag Sun 12-Jul-15 23:23:41

Pink elephant, I appreciate your comments.

I will obviously do some things with DS but they are mainly things we do anyway, not as preparation. I still read to him every night, usually books which are a little more advanced than the ones he would read himself, or classics.

We play scrabble, so sudoku etc.

However we don't work well together. He and I are very similar and we clash terribly. It's definitely not something which strengthens our bond!

We'll see how he gets on and if he enjoys it. If he doesn't, we'll stop and I'll do bits at home with him.

At least having 12 months to go gives us options.

I have a friend who used to be reduced to tears over going to a tutor every week and I certainly won't be doing that sad

WhattodowithMum Sun 12-Jul-15 23:30:28

Don't feel guilty OP. I live in London, not a grammar school county. But, for what it is worth, this is what I gave learned with child number 1:
1. Lots of people claim not to tutor, but do.
2. Being tutored has little to do with merit, unfair advantage etc. some kids go to better schools, have a better class teacher, or have parents more able to help them. A tutor is just one possible advantage out of many.
3. DD got into a very selective independent school. So far, she is the only kid from a state school she knows of, after attending the induction day. Many of their parents spoke of tutoring since year 4 on top of prep school. Made our "guilty" 6 months of tutoring look ridiculous and terribly amateurish.
4. Yes, some DC will be genius, autodidacts. But most kids at grammar school won't be, most will have had some 11+ prep of one kind or another.
5. The parents who most vehemently think you should not tutor are the parents of your child's direct competition. That should tell you something.
6. You don't necessarily need an outside tutor, but you do need to prepare.
Good luck!

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