Explore learning teachers are not usually qualified teachers so I personally would go for the private tuition option as I really don't see the point in paying for somebody with a third class media degree or basic play and development (for example) to teach my son maths English and reasoning skills. Kumon is the same, not always qualified. Kip McGrath learning centres usually have qualified teachers and are well geared towards coaching for 11plus. Best thing to do is look at the options available and then look at what qualifications the 'tutors' hold before making a decision.
I can comment on EL in 2 locations. My nephew failed the 11+ as my DB believed all the school guff about not needing to tutor. Massive wake-up call and EL sessions before taking the 12+ successfully and getting into super selective grammar school.
My DS lost confidence in maths in Y5 when they changed teaching methods mid year, and introduced concepts that I could help with (eg chunking). 18 months of EL regained his confidence, maths became fun again, and he was sorry to leave.
My DS has just finished Y8 and is top-stream for maths and thinking of a career in engineering/sciences, which would be impossible without good maths qualifications.
I have only positive things to say about EL and their staff.
I used them for 4 years (in two different centers), and did the Maths enrichment and 11+ course for two years.
You can use the child care element of tax credits to pay 70% of the monthly fee. For that you get 2 lessons a week plus free workshops during school hols. Worked out at £3 a lesson (90 min) for my DC, so £10 if you dont get tax credits.
I found the staff very enthusiastic and professional. I got regular feedback on progress, measured using the national curriculum levels. I got to choose how hard my DC was pushed, progressed and in what areas. Occasionally he needed one on one help which he regularly got. Pupil tutor ratio was usually 3:1 I can only think of twice in 4 years it was ever 6:1.
The 11+ course was NOT run on a computer. Whilst a private tutor is probably good it sounded to much like hot housing for me, EL provided a good (enjoyable) group learning environment. 100% of the group went on to pass their exams. My DC didn't want to stop going there when he started Y7.
I first went there because I found Primary School was inadequate, EL gave a far superior education. MY DC finished Y6 with level 6 in English and Maths Sats and I contribute none of that to the Primary School. It was well worth the money. And I got free parking to go shopping! Highly recommended.
We inquired when our DS was in Year 5 and it transpired that they only offered 11+ support to those children who were enrolled on the expensive monthly programme - they are really missing a trick.
Although I have no direct knowledge of it, I don't get the impression that it improves performance in English and Maths well enough to justify the £80 per month (it could be more by now) fee....
I think I would look at another option. You might even be wiser to find a willing and able 6th Former from the school you are interested in to tutor your child...probably cheaper and possibly with more motivation and better insider knowledge .
Hmmm unqualified (and disinterested) teenager, whose teacher training consists of half a day, wandering round looking at kids work their way through a computer programme, or a qualified experienced tutor giving one to one tuition in the specific area the child needs? Hmmm, hard choice....
Can anyone share their child's experience of using Explore Learning tuition and how useful it was to support their performance at 11+? Was it useful and well suited to prep for 11+ or did it fall short? Was/would 1on1 tuition or home tuition be more effective?