Tutored to get into selective school

(64 Posts)
Kenlee Sat 23-Nov-13 03:46:15

I am just wondering what happens to the kids that are over tutored for admission to a super selective. Then find that the bright kids can do it so easily. Whereas they struggle and fall behind.

Do they get tutored even more or move to a new school. I know some people will say school academic results are the most important and the kids should suck it up for their future. Although I still have this romantic notion that school should be fun and where especially in secondary meet life long friends. I think if your being over tutored then you may miss this opportunity...

summerends Sat 23-Nov-13 05:15:41
Ladymuck Sat 23-Nov-13 10:48:06

To be honest it is much rarer than you would think, despite all the fears on mumsnet. There isn't a huge IQ discrepancy across the intakes at superselectives and the children are still taking the same GCSE exams that the rest of the population take.

I think the real issue with superselectives is that even when only the top 2% get in, someone (in fact quite a few someones) still will be in the bottom set. They will come out with a string of As and A*s and still feel as if they are bit less clever than average. Not because they were over tutored to get in, but because they are in a specific environment. For some children, the effect on their self-esteem is so great that they may be better off being closer to the top of a less selective school. That said, a critical mass of bright children tend to bring up the standards of those around them anyway, so it does depend on the individual child.

Also at age 11, what does over tutoring mean? That they've been taught maths and English up to the end of level 5 really well? Will a well prepared diligent student do worse in the long run than the innately brighter student who hasn't learned how to apply themselves?

Slipshodsibyl Sat 23-Nov-13 11:01:26

I agree with Ladymuck. Admissions can be imperfect but if a child gets in, they are capable of the work. And at superselectives the tests are versions of iq tests, so will not be wildly out of kilter with reality The idea that there are a lot who can't cope is unlikely although some may not cope with pressure, the school environment or position in the hierarchy etc. and this might be what people refer to raher than an absolute inability to keep up. Only a happy child learns to the best of their ability.

One of the advantages of the all round education I think is it can have an impact on confidence and perseverance which has a positive effect on classroom focus and hence attainment.

Kenlee Sat 23-Nov-13 11:39:50

I do agree that..is so...I actually dont think its IQ .but it must be horrid to be near the bottom...even though your brighter than the other 98% ..

Kenlee Sat 23-Nov-13 11:40:12

I do agree that..is so...I actually dont think its IQ .but it must be horrid to be near the bottom...even though your brighter than the other 98% ..

Suffolkgirl1 Sat 23-Nov-13 11:45:09

At DS's superselective there is minimum GCSE grades to progress to the sixth form. One boy did not make this last year and transfered to another local sixth form but it is not common.
The sad situation with the tutoring culture is that most of the children would have passed without tutoring but it has become so common place that many parents do not dare not to.

Isabeller Sat 23-Nov-13 11:55:24

Being naturally brainy and finding schoolwork relatively easy can be great but someone who's had a really good tutor and learned how to be an expert learner, how to make the most of their strengths how to be self disciplined and plan their work has other advantages.

It's always a good thing to learn how to learn things which don't come naturally and how to cope with the emotional side of finding something really tough going.

...genius is 99% perspiration...?

CaroBeaner Sat 23-Nov-13 11:57:27

Over tutoring perhaps means having a child tutored heavily since Yr 3, with onerous amounts of homework from the tutor on top of the school tasks, then adding nightly test papers from Yr 4 onwards (oh, it's only 20 minutes a day') , comparing the child's score week after week....doing endless exams and tests in selective schools across the region, and by the time they start Yr 7 they are sick to death of it all, look on passing the test and getting in as the end of the process and feel disaffected from any more homework.

Over tutored perhaps means structuring your child's time into a rigid timetable of tutoring, homework and practice papers so that they lose any sense of self motivation and then feel intense disappointment when they are mediocre in their class but because the tutoring and structure has been imposed they lack the initiative and self belief to get themselves going and push themselves.

I have seen both these scenarios within the smallish pool of parents I know, so I don't think it is that rare

The children who do best in any school, in any setting (and of any ability) are those who are self motivated and actually enjoy the learning they do.

CaroBeaner Sat 23-Nov-13 11:59:42

SuffolkGirl - at a highly selective competitive girls independent quite near us a third of girls left before going into sixth form because of the A / A* requirements.

tiggytape Sat 23-Nov-13 13:52:46

Since tutoring is so common, it doesn't seem to happen like that.
Even incredibly bright children are usually tutored for selective school exams (or as a minimum given guidance and past papers at home over several months). There won't be any child, however clever, who goes into most of those exams relying purely on natural ability because 2000 compete for 150 places and it is all about speed and technique (since most of those entering are clever, it is just about being a bit faster and a bit more prepared than everyone else).

Of course, however children are selected, once at the school there will be children who are bottom of the group. Nationally, they may be in the top couple of % but in relation to their peers, they are bottom. That can be hard to manage for some and is something parents probably need to think about when they choose schools. It doesn't mean the children shouldn't be there. If they pass the exam, with tutoring or not, they must be very able indeed. No amount of tutoring can get a below average child a place since competition is so fierce.

MathsMan Sat 23-Nov-13 17:26:07

I can't speak for superselectives, I suspect the comments of other posters are valid. However, I have seen pupils that have been tutored to pass the eleven-plus, and pupils admitted to grammar school that have not passed the eleven-plus (it does happen), that are out of their depth in my subject. What happens ? They struggle, and it's no fun.

23balloons Sat 23-Nov-13 23:22:18

Ds has twin boys in his class who have been totally tutored and have passed the tiffin test with high 240 scores. They are not in the top sets in his class and are averaging level 4s in maths & English and level 3 in science. They were intensively tutored throughout the summer, on weekends and took 1 week off before the test to practise every day.

I have no Idea how they will get on in Tiffin but I guess if they are prepared to put in that level of effort when they get there they probably will end up with A*s. Each to their own, ds is naturally brighter but would never put in that effort without constant pressure. I guess only time will tell what will happen?

Kenlee Sun 24-Nov-13 03:31:07

I agree if the child is willingly putting in the work. Double thumbs up. Im just intrigue about how much is them wanting it....and how much is it the parents.

I think sometimes tutors are needed esp for 11+ entry but more so for understanding. Sometimes the teacher moves to fast and you have misunderstood a point.

I have although seen my friends children doing question upon question... just to practice them....

That surely not a good idea....but to be honest thats my opinion so it could be wrong

MiniMonty Sun 24-Nov-13 03:54:51

I hate to break this bubble but there IS a huge IQ gap in Britain. There is also a HUGE and HORRIBLE reality with selective schools.
The kids that get in ARE brighter. The Tutored kids make it if they were going to make it anyway but otherwise - they DON'T.

Tutoring makes ZERO difference so don't waste your money on it.
The kids you are up against are so good that they DON'T NEED TUTORING. The kids you are up against are nerds and geeks and serious faced ten year olds who have been reading "The New Scientist" for fun.

If little Jill or Johnny is obviously part of this brigade they will sail through but if they're not you seriously DON'T want them to go to a selective school where they will spend seven years in the bottom stream of the bottom class of the the bottom arse end and leave feeling destroyed.

School without fun is the subject of just too many bad books and Radio 4 dramas.

Ladymuck Sun 24-Nov-13 06:39:53

I think that as far as tutoring in senior school itself goes, this is far more common than it used to be, but not necessarily universal. For those pupils who are on track to come out with a string of A/A* results, then I have seen parents supplement the weakest subject with tutoring, in order not to end up with a single B.

Whether or not this is reasonable, it is a very different case from the child who has to be tutored in every subject just to keep up with a selective standard.

Tiffin is an interesting example as their entrance exam is purely VR/NVR, which is very unusual these days, especially in London. The tutoring bubble for Tiffin is an odd one, as the effort that goes into the tutoring doesn't have an impact on general schoolwork. Other grammars in either Barnet or Sutton say have maths and English as the core tests. Whilst these can still be tutored for, usually the result means that the child's general numeracy and literacy improves, whether the child is successful or not. Tiffin does tend to attract the more compliant child who will do Kumon/VR papers etc for hours. Provided they stay compliant, then they get the GCSE and A level results too.

Squiffyagain Sun 24-Nov-13 06:55:36

Minymonty - not true. In our neck of the woods we have a non-selective private prep that is the same as a normal primary except that for year 5 they do pretty much nothing but prepare for the test (then in yr 6 they catch up with the bits of the curriculum they dropped - science etc). They consistently get 93-97% of children through.

Unless you believe that only high IQ people can afford the fees and that there is a 100% correlation between parent IQ and child IQ (against which I exhibit 'Mark Thatcher') then tutoring will pull a child through regardless of IQ.

LinseyBluthFunke Sun 24-Nov-13 11:22:59

DS was tutored for 2 years. I always thought it'll be a miracle if he'll pass 11+. He scored almost full score in his exam with 10-15 min to spare in each section. He asked to go to the toilet during the exam and said it was so easy, he found it boring. He also had a CAT test in his grammar school and scored a very high score. He is not struggling at all, qquite the opposite.

Kenlee Mon 25-Nov-13 09:49:26

So the question is would he have passed without the tutoring?

LinseyBluthFunke Mon 25-Nov-13 10:03:27

Absolutely not. He used to struggle with maths, was in the bottom of the middle set. Tutoring and his prep school had helped him so much, maths is his favourite subject now, his maths teacher at grammar school is very impressed. By the way his prep school was non-selective, yet over 90% of his classmates had passed the grammar school exams.

LinseyBluthFunke Mon 25-Nov-13 10:09:42

By the way the only people that worry about tutored kids at grammar schools are parents of kids that did not get into those schools. Every single child that I know had been tutored, doing just fine and their parents are not worried.

Farewelltoarms Mon 25-Nov-13 10:58:26

So you sent him to a prep school and had him tutored?
And 90% of these prep school kids pass. Are they intrinsically brighter than kids at state schools? Or are the reaping the benefits of smaller classes and lots of prepping for the 11+.
Ah the grammar system, such a great leg-up for the bright working classes...

Bowlersarm Mon 25-Nov-13 11:09:07

I have a number of friends who tutored their children both for grammar schools and the top private schools in the area, and on their evidence it seems that once a school has accepted you, tutored or not, they look after you once you are in and ensure you get the right amount of help in house to keep up.

I know of no one that has been asked to leave for academic reasons even though they had originally struggled to get into their chosen school.

LinseyBluthFunke Mon 25-Nov-13 11:09:10

This is my point Farewell, tutoring CAN make a difference. I believe most kids of average intelligence can be tutored to pass 11+, and grammar schools are not some magical places, you don't have to be a genius to study there.

LinseyBluthFunke Mon 25-Nov-13 11:12:17

Bowlersarm, what I also like about our grammar is the fact that there are no sets, all kids have access to the same standard of teaching, so the late bloomers still got a chance to get good GCSE results.

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