Tutoring for grammar/selective school

(74 Posts)
Kenlee Sat 14-Sep-13 19:57:33

I was just wondering is it really worth it? If your child is clearly not good enough to get in.

I have a close family member who's daughter although quite clever and was tutored to get into a super selective hot house school. which now they have regretted.

Their daughter is an avid swimmer but isnt good enough ....She can play the piano but not well enough. She can not play another instrument. She likes to dance but she is not graceful enough. She was near the top of the class in prep school but now she is not smart enough.

I have seen a bright child with a great outlook on life with many friends become the shunned girl at school.

So the question is.....is it really worth it.....?

She now cries her way to school. Im not sure what happens inbetween but she looks so sad when I have picked her up...

A little retail therapy helps but how much will be needed for her to last 5 to 7 years..But now her Uncle is in Hong Kong ..retail therapy is few and far between as her parents can not afford it.

Im so glad my daughter went to a school with good pastoral care. I think with enjoyment comes learning.

Not sure people in the UK tutor to the same extent as in HK!

I dont think more than one hour per week is the norm! The worst I have heard of is a girl being tutored 3 hours per week (spread over a few days) throughout Y5! I think most people who let their child see a tutor do so once a week throughout Y5 and up to Christmas in Y6, as British children sit their SATs in February. Entrance exams to grammar schools or independents are between October and January in Y6. At least, that is what I have come across.
This does not really affect play time much at all.

FormaLurka Tue 17-Sep-13 22:54:37

OP - you are paying £30k pa for your DD and you are going on about parents pushing their DCs because of a superselective's brand???? Methinks you should sort yourself out before pontificating about others.

In anycase, we pay £15k pa for DD and her school is in the top 15 academically. For £30k I expect yours to be either in top 5 or have facilities worthy of the price tag.

Kenlee Wed 18-Sep-13 00:48:43

Its not about academic results or about facilities at the end of the day. Its not even about the price you pay.

Its about getting your child into a school that best fits her .. My daughter does go to quite a nice school...She has fitted in nicely and seems to have found it quite easy going... She has joined in many sports activites and like all boarders go out on weekend trips.In which she learns many things culturally.

The only problem arises when a child is not as clever as her peers who is very smart. Although tutored extensively. She is still unable to make a mark. This is terrible for a child.

My pontificating is not about cost it is about how over tutored children suffer when they reach a super selective and see their peers smoothly and effortlessly take the day in their stride. Yet all they see is more tutoring rather than enjoying.

That said Im sure some children would prefer to be sat indoors with a tutor. Im of the understanding that most would prefer to be on the games console if indoor or on their mobiles.

I have not even said that tutoring is bad as sometime a smart man will utilize help from outside if he can not compete the task himself. Its knowing when to ask for help.

The main POINT of my intial argument is wether it is a good idea to throw your child into a super selective. If the only reason is the parents want bragging rights. That my daughter is in such and such a school.

Obviously if your child fits in then their is no problem. I still get emails from my niece asking to be sent to her cousins school. My daughter not being super selective but with great pastoral care.

Her parents refused and saying that I was stupid for turning down my daughter's place at the super selective. The point is my daughter will enjoy school and most likely get the results she deserves. I dont think being in a hot house will make her any smarter... nor do I consider being in a less selective school will make her dumber.

At the end of the day getting a good degree from a Russell university means nothing unless you have the connection to move her career forward.

The degree is also useless if all you know is pass papers.... If you cant communicate or understand peer to peer interaction. which you learn in school at clubs and team sports. You won't get this skill if you are over tutored just to pass the exam.

FormaLurka Wed 18-Sep-13 22:51:40

Well,the way I see it, a parent that spends £30k pa on sending her child to a boarding school shouldn't really be lecturing other parents.I mean,to parents with kids at superselectives you are probably coming across as a parent attracted by the exclusiveness and social contacts at your expensive school. Also, you sent your child away to live and study with a bunch of strangers. Should you really be pontificating about parents who subject their DCs to tutoring?

Kenlee Thu 19-Sep-13 02:46:40

So what i discern from your information is that because My daughter and I made a choice that she prefered to go to boarding school and enjoy her schooling that I am a bad parent.

I suppose you havent taken into consideration that schooling in Hong Kong is hard even at the so called local band 3 schools. Where the examination is impossible to pass unless your tutored to within an inch of your life.

I do not make any apologies for having the means to send my daughter to an exclusive private school nor do I have any doubts that my daughter will enjoy it.

However, for my daughter to get in she passed a test in which there was no tutoring bar a few bond papers we did together over a saturday morning.

Yes she does find the work easy at school now and yes she does her prep and relish the thought she has many good friends... She does reply to her cousin sympatheticly.

The point still being after your personal verbal attack in me Forma is that no matter what an over tutored child that gets into a superselective school will struggle. They will be unhappy.

over tutoring is a waste of a childs life...They get to work and then what....Do you expect the employers to tutor them how to do their jobs?...They are employed to think and for the application of their knowledge. If they need to be tutored why employ them and not someone else?..

FormaLurka Thu 19-Sep-13 08:27:31

... by your reckoning she is an over tutored child. Yet she is thriving at her selective.

I don't think you realise how contradictory your opinions are. I mean, "it's different" when it comes to you and your DC. It always is, isn't it?

Kenlee Thu 19-Sep-13 09:04:09

I dont think I have any contradiction in my belief that an over tutored child will find it difficult in a super selective school.

I maintain that a child who has been tutored for the sole purpose of entry into a super selective will find it difficult when they actually attend the school.

My niece is a good benchmark as it is a case in hand. Where although bright she is not what this school is looking for. She may do better at a super selective that is less hot house.. We may never know.

Let me see so by allowing my daughter a look at pass papers one saturday morning means i have over tutored my child?...I think not..but yes I did send her to boarding to get away from a life of 4-7 tutoring and then 8-10 tutoring..

I have not stated that I am agaisnt individual subject tutoring if assimilation is required...I just dont think it should be taught rote..by pass paper...

You seem to firmly beleive your child will benfit from hours of tution...I am glad you are happy to go down that route. My concern is the happiness of the children rather than boasting rights of the parents....

poppydoppy Thu 19-Sep-13 09:09:14

I just gave my 10 year old a maths paper for one of the top independent schools he got 98% on his first try, he is bright but not a genius. I have to wonder why parents tutor their children when a firm grasp of the basics is all that is needed.

Kenlee Thu 19-Sep-13 11:05:40

exactly poppy doppy....

NomDeClavier Thu 19-Sep-13 11:30:41

The problem is that few entry papers are all-rounders though, and a mathematical genius will struggle to pass the Bucks 11+ for example but a child who is an utter dunce at maths but excels at English will fly through. They'd not need tutoring to pass but by him do they need it at GCSE. So passing really doesn't mean you'll automatically cope without tutoring.

Similarly exams are designed to test certain types of thinking and if a child hasn't been taught that then they won't pass the exam unless they're tutored, but again they won't necessarily need tutoring to keep up at school.

Or the child whose primary doesn't prepare for competitive entry? They'll need tutoring to put than on a level playing field with schools that do prepare.

FWIW Y5 and autumn Y6 at my prep were spent doing practice papers for 11+ entry. Were we all being collectively tutored? We coped fine! There's no way the school down the road did it but those who got in coped just fine too and my secondary was top 5 at the time (don't know if it still is).

There's a bigger question than just tutoring for entry, it's about whether a child genuinely has the academic capacity and the temperament to cope in a hot house environment. You need both. Your niece's school sounds very like mine - excellence was paramount and some girls just could not cope with that despite being extraordinarily bright.

LaQueenForADay Thu 19-Sep-13 12:12:46

I'm not getting into the Fair Vs. Unfair debate about tutoring. In some circumstances it isn't fair if you can't afford a good tutor. I accept that.

However, I think there is a common misconception that by having your child tutored for the 11+, you are somehow buying them extra intelligence.

If only you could hmm

In reality (and I have spent the last year dealing with tutors, and the 11+ system for DD1) you are really buying them improved technique, ability to time themselves, more confidence and a familiarity with the 11+ format (which is highly unlike anything they will have seen at school).

DD1's tutor was very honest with us from the outset. He made it clear he had no interest in tutoring only average ability children in order for them to scrape a pass, only to then struggle academically for the next 7 years at GS.

He told us he was only able to really teach The Three Ts - technique, timing, and a few tricks as he called them. But the child had to provide the raw material for him to work with.

His general rule of thumb, was to only accept pupils who were predicted Level 5s, and then he would assess them over a 4 week period. At the end of the 4 weeks he would notify you as to whether he felt your DC was a suitable candidate for GS.

Luckily, he was happy to accept DD1 and she's enjoyed working with him, and confidently completed the VR paper last Saturday and is looking forward to the NVR paper this Saturday smile

Out of the 8 girls taking the 11+ from her class all have received some form of tutoring, or preparartion either from a professional or parents.

I think it would be incredibly unfair to just throw your child into an 11+ exam with no preparation. You wouldn't enter them for a highly competetive cross country run, when they'd never run more than a few yards before, and furthermore expect them to run it in wellies - when the other candiates had been in training for months and were wearing flash trainers.

LaQueenForADay Thu 19-Sep-13 12:20:51

And, I do think some parents are naive if they think that 'a naturally bright child will pass with no tutoring'.

I'm sure that some do.

But, very often they are up against equally bright children (all of DD1's friends who sat the 11+ are what I would consider very articulate and academic, with high reading levels) who have also received plenty of tutoring in some form, or another.

Around here, the comprehensives are pretty grim, so parents simply aren't prepared to take any chances with the 11+. So the vast majority of children, with their supportive MC parents, and their Levels 5s already in the bag by the end of Yr 5, are also having tutoring.

I agree it's bizarre. But it's the system we are in, so you have to play the game accordingly.

LaQueenForADay Thu 19-Sep-13 12:28:03

And, one final point.

Yes, I do know there are children who are intensively tutored for 2 years in order to pass the 11+, by tutors who must secretly know the child isn't naturally academic, or really suitable for a GS environment.

And, yes, sometimes these poor children will scrape a pass, and then be unable to cope with the grammar school environment, and that is incredibly unfortunate sad

But, the majority of children pass the 11+ because they do have the natural ability, and so once at GS don't feel hugely pressured, or hot-housed. They find the work challenging, of course, but not overwhelming.

They're at grammar school because their abilities make them ideally suited to exactly that environment, and they thrive.

Kenlee Thu 19-Sep-13 16:07:55

Thank you LaQueen ...Im not against tutoring...Im against tutoring for a child who is not suited for that environment.

LaQueenForADay Thu 19-Sep-13 17:16:42

So am I Kenlee, so am I.

I have friends who teach at grammar schools and they see the results of children tutored to death, who just cannot cope with the level of work expected at a GS, and the ensuing unhappiness sad

Tutors really should be honest. They must secretly know whether the child will struggle once at GS, and should be frank with the parents.

BlackMogul Thu 19-Sep-13 17:53:06

I think there is a problem with tutors who just want to make money and know the child they are tutoring is not up to it. Someone i know had her DD tutored in VR for 2 years as these were the exams to be sat at 11+. The score required for grammar school was 121. The DD scored 103. Huge amounts of money on a child who was never grammar school material and the tutor must have known. This young lady has, however,done very well at the school she attends and should never have been tutored. Some people try every possible avenue and VR is not taught in the schools so parents tend to think they can make a child good at it by tutoring. They can't. This child would never have coped at a grammar school but she was her parents' darling and they had not seen that she was not as bright as some of her peers because they chose not to look.

FormaLurka Thu 19-Sep-13 18:14:41

Kenlee - no doubt you disagree but you are coming across as being very narrow minded.

I mean, your DD loves living away from her parents but over people's DD's must hate going to a selective. Other parents choose a GS for bragging rights but you chose a £30k pa school for your DD because you want what's best for your DD.

LaQueenForADay Thu 19-Sep-13 18:20:53

Stories like that make me so angry BlackMogul. It's not even really the parent's fault - but the ruddy tutor needs shooting.

If they are working in a gramar school area, they should have a very informed idea of what child is/isn't suitable for a grammar school environment.

FormaLurka Thu 19-Sep-13 18:36:57

The (English) girls at my DD's indie invariably play at least one instrument, often two. They invariably do dance,whether it's modern, tap, or ballet. Quite a few do drama. Then there is netball clubs, lacrosse etc.

So it's kind of silly and a little bit racist to argue that Chinese mums load their kids up with extra curriculum stuff just to gain an edge.

As for the academics, your average HK kid at a non selective probably has the same workload as A UK selective kid. hardly draconian

handcream Thu 19-Sep-13 18:42:15

Going upthread. £30k is boarding school fees and its a little unrealistic to state the OP could look at that option. I have to say being in the private sector that the Chinese ARE often excellent at almost everything non sport, ie music, academic achievement. My DS had a chinese friend and it is very clear that the Chinese culture IS competitive. You push and push your child. My DS lost contact with his friend when they moved schools and it was very clear this lad was being tutored and pushed to compete.

handcream Thu 19-Sep-13 18:45:10

We also live in the grammar catchment areas. I have no doubt we could have got the children through the 11+ with extensive tutoring. However they are not massively academically inclined so we went down the £30k route and they are thriving at boarding schools. Best decision we ever made. I would have hated for them to struggle at the grammar for 7 years.

Kenlee Thu 19-Sep-13 19:54:41

handcream exactly....

You see I believe n grammar school for the naturally bright no matter what economic educationl backgound. I also believe that the not so bright no matter what background should not be sent if they will struggle.

I know my daughter would even though she did pass the entrance exam. Therefore she is at a private selective rather than a super selective.

It is easier for her so she can concentrate on making friends . Whom most likely will last a life time. If she was struggling to make headwater with school work then that will be impossible.

You may feel me narrow minded that I would send my daughter 7000 miles half way around the world to get an education and only getting to see her three times a year may not be ideal.

Yet I prefer her to be well educated in an environment where she is safe. Where the school pastoral care is second to none. I deliberately chose a school that will not tax my daughter to hard as I think its important to make friends. To learn interaction skills.

This can only be done if the school you attend fits you...If you struggling i.e. over tutored students they will find it difficult.

O btw on sports.. my daughter is a great swimmer because i had a private tutor in to teach her one on one...The emphasis wasnt on winnng though but enjoying....

As a Chinese parent we see academic results as more important than sports, music or arts. The later 3 are for entertainment although a certain attainment level is required if you want to pursue it.

although my daughter can not compete with her HK counterparts in this category either.

most are grade 8 music...are exhibited at some gallery for art. I dont have any contacts with arts people in my network so my daughter's art was placed in the local town hall. Almost all the girl have finished their primary 6 ballet. I think my daughter came bottom and scraped a pass.. My daughter academically never ever reached the top 10% as they all got 100% all the time.

So why did I send my daughter to the UK...well if you havent worked it out yet...It is a waste of my time explaining.

FormaLurka Fri 20-Sep-13 06:57:39

Kenlee - I am not calling you narrow minded for what you are doing with your child.

I am calling you narrow minded because you do what you do but pontificate as if there is a difference between you and other parents. I mean, you send your child to another country because you want what is best for your child. Yet to you a mum who sends her average ability DC to a nearby super selective is a bad mother. Could it be that she wants what's best for her child as well?

DP is HK Chinese so I'm not exactly unfamiliar with HK life. Like I said, DD goes to a leading UK indie and a lot of the girls there are accomplished musicians. A small number are with the Royal Academy's program for gifted musicians. We also have a number of girls in national and international sports. On average DD spends two hours a night on home work. A few of her friends do 3-4. Their parents are top of their respective professions and are determined that their DDs will excel

You are narrow minded in that you look at your high end comunnity in HK and you assume that it's the norm HK wide. It isn't. You live with the HK elite and you assume that even the secretary's DC is doing ballet, violin concertos etc. Any one who has contact with 'normal' Chinese either at uni or at work, will tell you that this tiger mom stereotype isn't typical.

Kenlee Fri 20-Sep-13 10:32:01

Formaluka where you seem to have fallen down in your argument my secretary's child actually has completed his grade 8 in music and is working on i think its called concert grade.. not sure about that term.He is also tutored 4 to 5 hours a day and excels in all subjects. He also wishes to have a life outside of academia. He goes to a super selective in HK. I would never dare to send my daughter to the equivalent girls school.

He has applied for UK University entry as he finds it difficult to compete with his peers in HK.

You seem to be hung up on the fact that HK kids do better than British kids and want to labour over this point.

To be honest HK tutored kids are only good at rote learning and will get high grades if you need a carbon copy of a text book. If analytical thinking is required then you would most likely need a child from a selective school if not a super selective.

The point I am making is that these rote learners when thrown into an environment where thinking is the norm will find the change difficult and will under acheive.

leading back to my original point that over tutored kids taught specfically to get in. Will find it difficult at a selective school. It would be better if they were taught the basics of each subjects.

Again I reiterate my point there is no point in attending a school that is not right for your child.

To be honest I do talk to my cleaner lady and yes even the lady who throws my rubbish away also has her child tutored. In fact I think most parents in hk would prefer to skip a meal than not give their child a chance at success..

I hope that this will not be the norm in the UK.

Again in the superselectives in HK the ones who arent bright enough suffer long hours of tortured tutoring. The sporty ones who aren't bright enough to take the final exams after winning for the school also suffer the indignanty of been asked to find another school so that the exam results do not suffer.

So its not about a competition about race as you are trying to imply...but about over tutoring causing a child to suffer so that their parents can be proud and boast at cocktail parties.

So your constant deviation from the main point will still not change the fact that an over tutored child that is not bright enough for a super selective will suffer and be unhappy.

Now if he is over tutored and loves it .. I see no problem but if you are struggling it is difficult.

rabbitstew Fri 20-Sep-13 10:51:28

OP, if your only realistic choices were between a pushy super-selective state grammar school, entry for which your child needed intensive tutoring, and a failing comprehensive with dire facilities, low teacher morale, chaotic lessons and appalling behaviour standards, which would you consider the most harmful to your child, then? Isn't it all relative?

Maybe it would have been better to phrase your OP as saying that you are very lucky that you can get your child out of a system of which you disapprove (unlike your secretary) and into a school that no doubt still delivers good results and has outstanding facilities? I can hardly believe that it would really be THAT embarrassing at a cocktail party to say that you have sent your child to an incredibly expensive boarding school in England because you think they'll have more fun there and stand every chance of getting good employment in the international marketplace at the end of it. And, of course, you have cleverly avoided direct comparisons between the school your dd goes to and the hierarchy of HK schools, anyway, because you have sent her into an entirely different education system in another country - much easier to brag about that than defend sending her to an "inferior" Hong Kong school that "isn't academic or competitive enough" in the eyes of your peers.

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