Explore Learning - any reviews on its 11+ preparation or do I look elsewhere?

(13 Posts)
seriouslymum Sun 13-Mar-16 04:59:17

Hi, my DS is in Year 4 to start Year 5 this September. I am looking into tutoring for grammar schools and independent schools if good enough.
I have visited Explore Learning but not sure about how they prepare for the 11+.
Has anyone used them. Any review would be helpful.
I am thinking of private tutors as my friends are into this.
For anyone who lives in Sydenham, Elmers End, Catford, Bromley areas any recommendations?

Suffolkgirl1 Sun 13-Mar-16 09:31:36

Never used them but several of my DC's sixth form friends are employed by them!

Panicmode1 Sun 13-Mar-16 11:37:56

The man who founded EL is passionate about education (I used to work with them, but not employed by them) - he runs a prep school in Surrey and his rationale behind the company was to give children in state primaries more individual attention that they get in a class of 30, compared to their independently educated peers, sitting in classes of 15 or so. I think for 'enrichment' and confidence building they are really good - you have to go 3 times a week though which didn't fit in with what we wanted and they don't employ qualified teachers, but (well qualified) graduates or sixth formers, overseen by a qualified teacher/centre manager. We are further south into Kent than you and we used Kip McGrath over Explore, because they have qualified primary teachers doing the programmes with the children and they only go once a week. So far 2 of my 4 children have got into superselective grammars using the 'Kip' format so I'm happy - it obviously depends on each individual centre. May be worth a look if there is one close to you?

wheresthebeach Sun 13-Mar-16 15:59:24

We did it and I wish we hadn't bothered. Not tailored enough to the needs of local school (spent ages on nvr when virtually non of the independents do it around here) and behaviour in class was poor and didn't improve despite promises.
In retrospect I wish we'd just got a tutor.

seriouslymum Sun 13-Mar-16 16:09:16

Thanks panicmode1.
Very helpful comments.
I had a look at EL a few days ago.
Very friendly and warm atmosphere.
DS loved it - but then again he loves anywhere he gets to learn especially if he can play games at the end of his learning session smile
I must say I was pleased with the creative writing as my DS is ahead in maths but English is just OK. So I am really looking for a push in improving his literacy skills.
I have considered 'kip'once. I will definitely give it more thoughts.

PettsWoodParadise Sun 13-Mar-16 16:33:38

We tried Explore Learning for 11+ and ditched it after six weeks. Pluses are regular parents evenings. Negatives were two sessions a week (one eleven plus and one general) which we found hard to fit in. The cost was prohibitive compared to a tutor, the room they had was noisy and chaotic. Many of the children who attended seemed to be hyperactive and noisy which distracted DD. She also found it quite gimmicky. Some of the tutors were great, others weren't. We ended up home tutoring and DD starts at the superselective in Sept.

For those who need a boost to their learning or confidence or are home educating and want some additional support I can see EL has a role.

RancidOldHag Sun 13-Mar-16 16:46:11

I suppose it all boils down to whether you want additional classroom type stuff, or something specifically tailored to your DC.

I would always go for the latter, but different children have different needs.

What exactly do you think your DC needs to cover to be ready for the 11+? Specific gaps? An area that needs more practice in general? Parts of the curriculum you think will be needed but not covered by the time of the exam?

seriouslymum Sun 13-Mar-16 17:04:04

Thanks for your responses.
DS needs a bit of a stretch.
He is top of his class more so in maths.
I am very displeased and dissatisfied with the level of his literacy which isn't bad - because he is a bright boy- but could be better.
If he wasn't then it would be a different story.
He is very confident - no problems there.
He has complained of being bored and neglected by the teachers who focus more on those who need help, leaving him to get on with it cos he can.
He doesn't like this and has requested to change schools.
To answer your question ROH
I am looking for something tailored to DS -more creative writing and comprehension.

seriouslymum Sun 13-Mar-16 17:06:29

Thanks for the comments everyone.
I am leaning towards not using EL for 11+.
I will definitely be looking elsewhere.

Mandzi34 Sun 13-Mar-16 20:09:10

We used Kip (for 11+) and I've been really happy with it. DS has a secondary school English teacher who is very good with him. I think it has really reinforced his learning in school. We didn't want a one on one tutor as he enjoys background noise and is also keen to be around other students. He's always been eager to attend comes out smiling.

Panicmode1 Mon 14-Mar-16 08:12:36

Just to come back on Rancidoldhag's point - Kip do tailor to your individual child - they are just sitting in a room with four other children who are all working at their own pace and with individual attention from the tutor in turn/when needed. We also didn't want a one to one tutor - I felt it was too intense, and Kip provides a good mix of individual attention and group interaction.

Naz588 Thu 16-Jun-16 16:27:32

I work for Explore but would not recommend their 11 plus course. We do not receive adequate training to be offering this service.

nicp123 Thu 16-Jun-16 23:15:42

Look elsewhere...
Explore Learning not tailored for the 11+ exam preparation in my opinion.
The environment is a bit too noisy & hectic, tutors 'running' from one child+computer to another; therefore, spending only a few seconds each time with the pupils individually. We used EL as 'childcare' for our children when doing our shopping years ago and it was OK only as a 'playtime' type of activity. I wouldn't recommend to anyone doing the 11+ prep @ Sainsbury's 'Explore Learning'.

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