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.

Bunbaker Sat 14-Sep-13 20:06:11

I agree with you. DD was offered a place at an independent grammar school because she passed the exams without tutoring. We didn't accept the place because we couldn't afford the fees. She is now at the local comprehensive, in the top sets for everything, but struggling slightly with maths, so we are getting a maths tutor so she can keep her place - something we can afford because we don't have school fees to pay for.

Ladymuck Sat 14-Sep-13 21:22:09

I don't think the issue is anything to do with the tutoring though. It It is to do with whether that school is the best fit for that child.

Ds1 is in a selective independent. It is not so much about hot-housing than believing in the child and teasing knowledge and learning to develop, using a good potion of educational psychology in the process. The teachers are brilliant. I want the same for ds2. I believe he too can flourish in a school like this. But I also know he will need to start tutoring soon for this to be achievable for him. He is keen to learn, but more keen on sports atm.

Kenlee Sun 15-Sep-13 07:49:11

I m not agaisnt super selective for the select few who can cope with the preasues of super selectivity. I am more concerned about parents who send their children to these schools because they see it as a brand name.

It is something they can brag about when at cocktail parties. The only problem is when the child can not perform and struggles...

Its the parents that are at fault...your child is not a status symbol. If they require a mass off tutoring to get in then most likely super selective is not for your child.

Save the cash and go on holiday my daughter and I went to Taipei ..Bangkok...Singapore.... Lego land in Malaysia... Shanghai... Bejing ...Seoul ....Ching mai..Hua hin.. We enjoyed it... If you think about it..its better than staying at home doing NVR and VR ...for a test to get into a school that will probably reject your child before the exams..To keep thier place in the league table.

I just wanted to introduce the idea that tutoring for selective if your child is not made of that stuff...is a waste off money and the child would be happier on holiday with their mum and dad in tje pool

FormaLurka Sun 15-Sep-13 09:37:29

Kenlee - you obviouly have an open mind view on the subject grin.

Assuming that this is not a made up child, the problem is with the school itself and not the type of school.

In any case, for most of us its not an either or situation. I mean, we have a skiing holiday in Feb and then a summer one. In between there are school trips. Very few of us are holidaying at Butlins just so that we can afford £30k plus per year for two kids.

If we are talking about super selectives, no, I would not have sent either of my child to those. I want them to have a childhood too!

children hmm

Kenlee Sun 15-Sep-13 13:39:40

FormaLurka I actually dont think it is the schools problem. They have set out their stall to garner students with a certain criteria. The parents who over tutor their children just to get in are the problem. Dont waste the money go on holiday....

My daughter is in a 30K private school...didnt do the tutoring but passed the entrance exam. The point is she is not struggling at school.

Whereas her cousin was tutored to death doing pass question often till 8 at night....

The thing is now that she got in...She is tutored to keep up...So she misses out on real school life the clubs the sports the sheer fun of just being with friends.

Im really just writing this to remind parents being in a super selective is not the be all and end all....let your child enjoy school...

Do you honestly think that people here have not thought about that?

Some people are in a position to both spend 30k per kid on schooling, and also go on lots of fab holidays. It does not have to be either or. It is not so black and white as you seem to think.

todaysdate Sun 15-Sep-13 13:59:13

Thanks.. My ds1 set a test for a super selective yesterday....
We had a tutor for the last 5 months, he did just an hour a week..

He's brilliant at maths, really intuitive but his vocab isn't great.
He's also a whizz at science.

The test for the school changed recently and it seems they have lmore focus on literacy and vocab.

I suspect he won't get in, though he's obviously a geek!
Bit if that's het the school values now, it's not the place for him.

He's cool with it, the alternative school is ok

todaysdate Sun 15-Sep-13 14:01:29

I wanted him to go there as he is a real geek and he's also a bit eccentric.
I thought the selective school might suit him a bit better.
We don't need a child to be at the school for its own sake tbh. It goes against our politics.

Not sure what we will do wih his siblings

Wuldric Sun 15-Sep-13 14:15:53

I don't know what makes you think that superselectives do not enable children to have childhoods. As far as I can see, they have too much flipping childhood for my liking.

Kenlee Sun 15-Sep-13 14:18:03


I am sure that most parents have thought about wether or not to send their child to super selective. I am just trying to let them know its okay not to accept if your child will struggle when they get there.

I an sure as most in here we have the fiance to support our children with fees and other things. In fact im sure some spend a vast amount on tutors too.

What I am saying is that is it really necessary if your child will not fit into the school.


I really hope he gets in...if its right for him.. a good school with the right student is a great combination.

todaysdate Sun 15-Sep-13 15:45:00

I think it's. fab school and I think he will fit in perfectly.
He's so into science..
BUT his strength is maths and the test is new and very maths might, so maybe they are trying to get a different type of kid... More literacy based maybe..

It is what it is...
He's not been over tutored. We baulked at getting him to learn lists of words for the synonyms and antonyms becuAse it seems thst this isn't a test of innate intelligence and if that's what they think is important then they don't deserve him -)))

gazzalw Sun 15-Sep-13 18:39:04

DS goes to a super-selective. He wasn't tutored but I wouldn't say that he's flourishing academically yet. He hasn't quite grasped the level they're expected to be working at. Hopefully it will come hmm. It is, however, the school he was very keen to go to and he stands by the decision that it's the right school for him.

I wouldn't say that he is disheartened but I think it's been a real eye-opener to him that there are such a lot of really clever boys about!

Taz1212 Sun 15-Sep-13 19:24:03

DS is at a selective private school. I refused to do any tutoring with him. I did have him sit a mock 11+ exam over the course of a few days just to give him a bit of practice for that type of test. I only wanted him to be accepted if he were suitable for the school - not because he was tutored and would then possibly struggle academically!

He was up around the top few students in his state school in all subjects He is now amongst the top for reading/English, middling for maths and decidedly at the bottom on the swim team which he nevertheless enjoys ! He loves the school and thanks us every day for sending him there. grin

DD will be applying in 2 years and I'll be making sure she is familiar with various maths concepts and run her through a mock 11+ but again, that's it.

stella69x Sun 15-Sep-13 19:29:45

If they gotta be tutored to get there it makes sense they gotta be tutored to stay there so maybe they shouldn't be there in the first place? Why should money buy an education the child's intellect doesn't deserve? Why should smart lower income kids be deprived a place coz mummy & daddy could afford to 'buy' a place with tutoring?

Kenlee Sun 15-Sep-13 21:11:34

I dont disagree with tutors as such. You can't expect a child to excel at every subject. My daughter had private swimming lessons and she enjoyed them.

What I am in disagreement with is wether or not the parents can afford it or not to force their child to go to a prestigious super selective. That is not suited to their child for the simple reason of branding. Yes if the child is smart and can keep up with the work then their social life at school will be great. Where they will take it in their stride to be on the school sport team. Enjoying themselves after school playing games amongst their peers.

This will not happen to the unfortunate over tutored child. Who will struggle and will require tutorial covering all subjects. They will not have time to be social ...often being labelled as dumb and ignored or made fun off.

Having a full day at school and being tutored till late at night to keep up is not what School is about. The certificate and school name is unimportant unless your child learns social interaction and how to enjoy themselves.

I say this as my daughter had been up agaisnt children in Hong Kong who are tutored till 11 pm at night. If they are not tutored they are in private sports lessons or music. If that doesn't kill them. They are then subjected to learn painting or an art.

My daughter is now at an independent selective school in the UK as I refuse to join the pack and subject her to 6 years of super tutoring to make her pass her exams.

I just feel so sorry for my nieice.

Dancingdreamer Sun 15-Sep-13 22:33:09

The sad fact is that unless your child is tutored (and this includes parents who train and tutor children, not just paid lessons) kids don't get in to superselectives. I know of children that were consistently top of the class at school and failed to get into superselectives when less able kids in the same class got in. The reason? The less able were tutored to get to the school. Don't belive these superselectives that say they disagree with tutoring. Nearly all the kids are tutored who get in are tutored (if you question the parents closely - they like to pretend it is all natural genius!). The majority of these so called aptitude tests can all be learned with practice. And by the way, the less able tutored kids are all doing fine at their schools!

Kenlee Mon 16-Sep-13 01:34:30

The only problem arises when the less able are really really less able. I have seen tutored children who when given a blind question are unable to comprehend the question let alone answer it.

I understand that in most cases a little tutoring to brushup on skills on an already bright child will not eat to much into their play time.

Im really talking about Children that require more than 3 hrs a night to get in and then most likely that many hours when they are in...

englishteacher78 Mon 16-Sep-13 06:31:38

I went to a superselective. I wasn't tutored. Many of my students at the selective I teach in were not tutored. Some were. Some of those students do then find it difficult. I find it quite sad that students are being tutored for 2 (or more) years for these exams.
One of the reasons for the move in some areas to include extended writing is that it can often show the difference between the talented and tutored (but not always). I believe Kent are keen to make their exam 'tutor proof'. A good goal, but probably impossible.

gandhara Mon 16-Sep-13 11:22:43

Amazing how many people decry the benefits of tutoring and how getting in to a grammar without tutoring should be the measure.

For the record, my dd received alot coaching from me and went to weekly tutoring for a year and got into a superselctive. She wasn't great prior to the tutoring but it did get up to the standard. just scraped in as well, not far above the pass mark! But, once in she thrived. She's now predicted and on course for 13 a*s in her GCSE's in 2014.

She tells me virtually all of her class were tutored. None of them are struggling and all are predicted A's too.

I'd say now that tutoring is the norm (at least where i live).

Xpatmama88 Mon 16-Sep-13 14:13:39

Kenlee, if you are comparing HK education system on over-tutoring, I can certainly echo your concern. But again Chinese parents' high expectation of their kids are well known, as many of them are really tiger mums/dads.
In Asia, as well, they do have a very strong education system, and achieve highly in all International education rankings in Maths/ Science/ languages. In order to achieve that the parental support has to be paramount.
Also, many parents worry their children are not keeping up in this competitive system, they try everything to give their children an upper hand, like music, art, ballet....etc.
I experienced all these while I lived in Asia (HK, Singapore, Japan) many years ago, even I felt I need to do extra activities with my kids in order to keep up with their peers, mind you both my children were in Int'l schools and not the local school.
Also need to understand there is a different mentality and culture. They don't have well established social benefit system or pension system like the western world. Many asian parents are expectating their children to look after them financially when they get older, so hence better educated child hopefully lead to a higher paid job and more comfortable life. So more pressure on the kids to achieve academically.
Like you said, you can afford to send your DD to UK to board in order to escape that system, plus many fantastic holidays, many can not.
Your niece made the cut to get into a super-selective, she must be really bright. The problem is when she faces her even brighter peers, how she reacts. Work harder to get better, or totally lost her confidence, and feels she will never be as good as so and so.
We sent ours to board in UK too. My DD got into a super selective girl boarding school back in UK while we were in Singapore (10 years ago)she spent couple of years in an Int'l Sch in HK before that. Obviously did her no harm, and being a very competitive girl, she got all top results and make it to medical school.
My DS also make the cut to a very academic boy boarding school. Do we tutor them? The answer is yes/no, we encourage them to read a lot, and research and discuss on interesting subjects for them to gain knowledges on broad spectrum of topics. We never paid a tutor for academic subjects, but we did paid for piano and tennis lessons.
At the end of the day, they are the one who have to sit exams to get into these super selective schools. As a parent, we have to encourage and support them, tutoring or not!

Theas18 Mon 16-Sep-13 14:34:55

It is possible to attend superselective, have a life outside school and do well after, socially and academically.

However these schools are not the right place for all children even of the same academic ability.We still need to think very carefully about the choice of school.

Some for of exam technique tutoring at least is required for even the cleverest state school educated child though - the 11+ is taken in the 1st weekend of year 6 now and no state school has the kids " exam ready" for anything by then.

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.

Kenlee Fri 20-Sep-13 11:12:10

Rabbit stew...The point being all the schools in Hk are quite competitive. The one that she could get into and did get into is not one to be sniffed at either. I did not send her to the school not because it wasnt elite enough but I disagree with how they teach the kids. They were quite upfront saying if your child is failing in any subject they do expect you to remedy it. I.e. tutoring.

I sent my daughter to primary in HK one because she was young. Two to learn Chinese and three she has the basic understanding how to rote learn. This is a technique that ia useful when used in conjunction with analytical thinking.

She is now sent to a UK indie selective to learn analytical thinking. It is important for children to learn this. As it is important to learn how to make interaction with other children.

Bragging rights about my child do not feature as whichever school she attends I could brag to my hearts content. I do not as it is improper to do so.

Actually my secretary could afford to send her son to the UK but did not as she wanted him by her side.
I do think though you are going off topic...

Xpatmama88 Fri 20-Sep-13 16:11:56

Kenlee, all parents want the best for their kids, you chose to send your DD to UK, I'm sure it is not an easy decision to make, and the whole process of UK school hunting is not an easy one too if you live abroad. For us, we can keep ours with us and move them from one school to another everytime we move, but we decided boarding school is our best options. Our kids have exposure to HK education system, and actually that help them to understand the work ethic of Asian culture. The children are hard working, they all concentrate during lessons, hardly any disruptive children in class, and the teacher expects the parent take part in education of the child too. Actually, I do believe in role learning, it helps to gain knowledges, without learning facts how can anyone progress to 'analytical thinking'.
HK school is well known to be competitive, even more so in University level, their 3 universities are ranked within top 50 in the world. Obviously have very high standard. But I believe only the top 10% can make it to these universities, hence many wealthy parents will send their children overseas to other universities in USA, Canada, Australia, and UK. ( Even your own secretary is willing to fund her son to study in UK, that say a lot). And the parents with limited finance, they can only hope with tutoring, their children can make it to these universities.
I don't think I will mock them for paying for tutoring or paying for ballet, piano, violin, swimming etc. Like you, they just want the best for their kids. And they believe with tutoring they may improve their chances. If every parent is doing it, paying for tutoring in one form or the other. What is the chance for a child gaining a place in these HK universities without any tutoring, without any additional activities (piano, ballet, drama, violin, swimming....). I think you already know the answer.
Same in UK, getting straight A* and A will not guarantee a place in top University in some competitive courses.

rabbitstew Fri 20-Sep-13 17:46:13

So, what you appear to be saying, then, Kenlee, is that many of your compatriots do send their children to competitive schools for bragging rights and that they consider competition to be more important than happiness. You also think that a lot of them can't think analytically, because that's not considered important enough in school. That does seem like quite a harsh judgment of a lot of people, although if it is an accurate reflection of a culture, I must say I would also rather my children were not educated within it! You have obviously thought out what is best for your daughter and seem to have been successful in finding a school that will educate her effectively and make her happy, but to be completely honest, whether intentionally or not, you are painting a rather black-sounding picture of schools in Hong Kong.

FormaLurka Fri 20-Sep-13 18:18:00

Kenlee - please point to where I say that HK Chinese kids do better than UK kids confused

I am simply making the point that many Brit parents load their kids diaries with music, sports and academics. Yet you go OMG! at the HK tiger moms.

grin at the secretary anecdote. DP has relations who work as waiters, take away staff abd cooks. Hardly prime examples of a super race where even the DC of a secretary is a concert class musician.

I accept that your average HK kid probably studies to the same level as you average Brit GS pupil. Beyond that I see little evidence that HK pushy parents are any different from UK ones.

Anyway, it's kind of silly to go OMG at pushy Brit parents who over tutor their kids and then generalise about how pushy Chinese parents are in comparison to laid back Brita

Kenlee Sat 21-Sep-13 01:02:56

The whole point is that I am using Hong Kong as an example that hopefully the UK will not follow. Its rife in HK to use tutoring to get ahead is the norm in HK. Kids are tutored from the age of 3 right through to adulthood. The point is an over tutored child usually will do well in school. Tick all boxes. Is it a true reflection on his ability ? Well yes as your not there to take the exam. The point being and going back to my original point. The child will suffer if they are not made of the right stuff for the school you are forcing them to attend. Anyway if your tutoring. Any school you attend will be of little consequence as your child will be tutored.

Ok now the reason why I do not like OVER tutuoring for a child is that most are taught how to pass the exam and not the basics of understanding. They get really good results...Im not saying all but all over tutored (OT) children will pass with good results hence the prevalence of tutoring in HK. Do I stand agaisnt tutoring. To be honest No ..I will use tutors to bring in specialist knowledge for my daughter if she can not understand a topic in a certain area.

Again Im not against tutors Im against over tutoring for kids so that they get into a super selective. Then feel over whelmed and are unhappy.

Formaluka my father is an immigrant to the UK. I am a first generation Chinese. I worked on the counter of my fathers Chinese takeaway when I was six. Moving up to the woks when I was 11...Then waitered throughout University to makes ends meet. I suppose the reason why I dont make class distinction is because I came from the non super class as you put it.

O btw I lost all bragging rights for my daughter when I chose to send her to the UK. It will always be deemed she couldn't make it in HK thats why she got sent away.
So I wont get to brag at the cocktail party. Although she will be happy and that to me is the best part.

Again let me reiterate my post is about OT to get into a school not suited for your child.

Anyway if your child is happy for you to OT them fair enough. Although the tutored children generation are beginning to enter the work force.

Rabbit it is quite bleak that's why we tend to hire from abroad. If the locals dont make the grade. Ha ha I have had parents come with their university graduate child for interviews... So yes it is a black picture indeed.

Xpatmama88 Sat 21-Sep-13 04:52:56

Kenlee, different children learn at a different rate, some clever kids can pick thing up quickly, some need more time to digest and understand concept.
I don't believe there is thing call over-tutored. An example, say some people may only need 20 hours to learn to drive and pass the driving test, but some may take 40 or 60 hours, so the one who need 60 hours of learning to pass the test are they being over-tutored. I don't think so, I think they just need longer time to master the skill.

The same theory apply to children in learning. Some children are quick learner and some are not. Some need more reinforcement to learn some theory or understand certain concept. And you can't gain Grade 8 piano without any practice. Some may only need an hour practices a day, some may need 2 hours.

I think most parents want their children to get into a good school, and they choose the school because they believe that is the right school for their child, and they believe their child are bright enough to get in. If the school offer the child a place after all these selection processes, that means the child is able, no matter how they are tutored, at the end of the day, the child has nto sit that exams and need to apply himself/herself to these tests. So please do give them some credit if they make the cut into these grammar/selective schools. Mind you they are only 11 years old.

I think you are applying this with your niece who obviously had not settled into the competitive school of her parent choice. She passed the entrance exam so she must be bright. If she used to be top in her prep Sch, getting into a superselective, she may be not top of the class anymore, I think that may knock her confidence. Instead of thinking she is in the wrong school, you should actually encourage her, like what I have said before some children take longer time to learn thing.

Kenlee Sat 21-Sep-13 08:32:39


I agree with your idea of some kids take longer to learn than other kids. That is why she is tutored. My daughter included also takes longer than most to understand comprehend and then use some concepts.

The point I want to drive home is that rather than trying for a school that ability wise will overwhelm your child. It would be better to place them in a school more suited to their needs.

We all know super selectives move at quite a quick rate.Therefore it would be better for a child who moves at a slower pace to attend a school that does not expect the child to be Einstein.

Some schools expect this and to be rather frank if you cant keep up you will be too busy catching up to enjoy the other pleasures that school can bring apart from academia. Im not saying that super selectives are wrong I think they are a good idea. I just dont think its a good idea for a child who is struggling.

Yes if they get in they must be bright. Then there are degrees of brightness I know that most kids are tutored now for 11+. Its to what extent that worries me. Again I am not against tutoring. I am agaisnt Over tutoring. If a child requires a longer period of time than most then wouldnt it be better to allow them to go to a school which allows this time for them to acclamatize to the subject. Rather than being expected to be in the know with the first touching of the subject.

We cant all be little Einstein's but we can allow our children to learn at their own acceptance rate. That does not mean we shouldnt push them. It means we must know and understand the rate at which our children learn. It is not a comparison between her peers nor a competition. I know of children who started slow went to a selective and got better than some burn outs in super selective.

I just feel it is important to make the argument that over tutoring may harm your child more than help in the long run. Even if they get in and are bottom of the pile if they are happy to be there...Enjoy the prestige and are willining to work to keep up ... I say go for it...On thr hand if they feel totally overwhelmed. Hating every second of being the dunce in the class. Then Im sorry your not meant for that school.

My niece happy to say has been accepted to a new indie school and will have her first day Monday...Hope she does well...fingers crossed. She is busy and happy now...She says she needs to read up in all her stuff as she doesn't want to be bottom of the pile again.

encouragement is always needed in Children but we shouldnt place our deficit in education and place them on the shoulders of our children.

FormaLurka Sat 21-Sep-13 09:39:07

HK parents visit their DC's universities with them? We Brits would never go with our DCs to their university open days, eh? grin

What I find 'funny' about your posts is the men sweat but women glisten perspective. I mean, you go OMG! at stuff that Chinese parents do despite the fact that we Brits do it as well.n

FormaLurka Sat 21-Sep-13 10:06:51

Kenlee - DP has nephews and nieces who go to non selective schools in the Shatin area. Sure, they get lots of homework and tests but no more than what you would expect from a UK selective. Yes, the girls do ballet and music but they are at the same level as my kids.

You can afford £30pa to send your DD to boarding school here in the UK so I suspect that you mix with the rich and successful. Their children are going to be pushed by their rich and successful parents in much the same way as their Brit counterparts.

Kenlee Sat 21-Sep-13 10:27:45

That is exactly what Im am baulking agaisnt. It does not matter if your Chinese British or Martian. It doesnt matter what eco social group you belong to either.

The fact stands that an over tutored child who is entered into a super selective that is clearly not suited them. Is wrong.

The parents have a responsibility to make sure their child is enrolled in a school that reflexs their childs ability. I dont care if its fair or not fair that tutored children get an advantage or not.

I just want to say its ok for your children to enjoy school. To do the sports that are avaliable to them. To play and interact with their friends.

O BTW forma I was talking about graduates going to a job interview. I would hope you will not hold your childrens hand when doing that. It does irk me when the parents answer for their child. P.S. as a rule of thumb we dont hire them.

FormaLurka Sat 21-Sep-13 13:28:50

Kenlee - are you seriously telling me that these parents sit in on the job interviews AND that the interview panel allow them to? <inserts incredulous emoticon>. Or is this another example of you retelling an urban myth as if it happened to someone you know?

Nothing I say is going to convince you that you are a narrow minded judgy pants so this is my last post on the thread.

My DP's nephews and nieces attend a non selective in the Shatin area. The academics are about comparable to an average GS, despite being non-selective, and the kids do extra curriculum stuff similar to MC Brit kids.

If you can afford £30k pa on fees then I suspect and you are part of the expat/HK elite circle. Despite the picture that you like to paint, the average HK family/school is not like the International schools that your rich friends send their kids. But you don't want to send your DD to a local school because it would be socially embarrising so you elected to send her abroad. Am I getting close?

My DD goes to top 10 UK indie. It's like me saying that my DC isn't going to fit in here or at Henrietta B or ... or ... So I'm sending her abroad to a country that isn't as pushy. Sounds kind of ridiculous when it's put that way, isn't it Kenlee?

Anyway <reaches for the HIDE THREAD button>

Kenlee Sat 21-Sep-13 17:20:51

Thank goodness for that....

I think you may have a problem in understanding my English.

The point of my post is to go against what I consider over tutoring. I have never you attacked you personally because it really is not the done thing. Although, I do appreciate your attempts to belittle me with your personal attacks. I am to high up on the pay scale to worry about it to be honest. That is why I do not take the bait.

Again let me reiterate for those who are still needing a little more time for understanding the subject in hand.

Over tutoring a child to gain entry to a super selective school can back fire on your child. If they have the strength to fight their way up. Then kudos to the child they deserve their place. If they are the bottom of the pile and they are unable to fight or unwilling to fight. It maybe better for them to change to a school which is less hot house. It is not that your child is not bright. Just that your child is not equipped for that competition at this stage in their lives. I am also adamant that parents who full knowing that their child are suffering and prefer to just give extra tutorials to remedy the problem are really do a disservice to their children.

I have throughout this argument suggested that all children should be given the opportunity not only to excel in academia but also in sports and the arts. Therefore if their academia is lacking then they will not be afforded the time for the other activities.

I am a firm believer in a basic understanding of rote learning but in conjunction with analytical thinking. In which I find that a child that is bogged down in tutoring begins to adopt the former rather than the later. I believe that some form of tutoring as a top up on basic understanding or explanation is a good thing. I just don't think it is a good idea to tutor your child everyday without the concept of play. If your child can accept this then ok....but I don't see many that will.

I don't really care what socio economic group you belong too. Its not about how rich you are ....nor how poor you are.. Its about bright children getting into gifted schools. Not so bright getting into a school that will help them to get brighter. Its not about what you want to brag about at the cocktail party, but what is best for your child.

O and the interview its not a myth. I actually had to let a parent sit in as she would not stop making a fuss. So to get rid of her politely as we do in Hong Kong we let her in ....she answered the question we did not hire her child. The rest of the interview went quite smoothly for the other candidates.

I hope that has helped in your understanding of my original post. It still has nothing to do with HK in comparison to the UK or vice versa.

This I hope will be my last post to you and hopefully this time you will get it...As it is tiring to write the same message in different forms in the vain hope that the message will get through to you...

yours sincerly,

narrow minded judgy pants

Xpatmama88 Sat 21-Sep-13 20:58:43

Kenlee, good luck to your niece in her new school.
What I see is an able girl facing her first hurdle in life, she has to learn to have confidence to jump over it, but instead of teaching her to jump over the hurdle, the parent just move her to another track, and think that will give her a smoother run.
Life is competitive, these children your niece are with now will be the same group that she will be competing against for a place in University.
Both mine gained places in these superselective boarding schools from other Int'l Sch, they did struggle a bit at first with the fast pace academia, but with persistence; hard work and excellent teaching, they regained their confident. And both have a great social life, and into all sort of actitivites.
And I believe if the school admitted them and think they are good enough for their superselective school, then my child will survive there. These schools and their teachers are experienced educators, they have seen a lot of different children in their careers. They know what they are doing, they can spot talent.
The girls in my DD school most gained straight A* and A, even the one in the 'bottom of the pile'. I don't think the standard of school teaching overwhelm your niece, ( they mainly base on national curriculum, should be quite similar everywhere at this level), the thing that overwhelm your niece is the ability of her peers. That why she feels she is in the bottom of the pile. By moving her to a different school, you already acknowledge that she is not good enough.

christine44 Sat 21-Sep-13 21:55:37

Being at a super selective school doesn't stop children having a life! My daughter has [I hope] a great life outside school. We didn't tutor her but wish we had for dd2 who scored 97% in 11+ but didnt get a place. She is happy at her comprehensive and in top sets but they are not offered the same opportunities as the Grammar school kids. Would love to give her a wider range of choices in her education but no way can we afford private or would we want her to be the poor girl with the scholarship .

rabbitstew Sat 21-Sep-13 23:20:25

I disagree with Xpatmama88. What can be the making of one child can be the breaking of another. You have to know your own child and respond appropriately.

Kenlee Sat 21-Sep-13 23:24:42

I think we have already acknowledged she is not bright enough yet. Who knows she is still young and as she gets older maybe she will hit the pace required off her. She has started to re focus and seems happier. Thank you Xptman.

Christine it certainly doesn't if your child is bright enough to deal with the rigors of the academia. Im sorry your daughter missed out on GS. Your daughter is probably what they are looking for as well.

Bemused33 Sun 22-Sep-13 10:17:11

There is a massive culture for tutoring here. I am talking three years plus. Dd was in a class with one boy who was tutored every weekend for six hours on each day and he was miserable.

Another boy was tutored to the point he was having panic attacks at school and barely attended the last term.

I know of another boy having tutoring costing over £300 per month.

Dd decided to take the eleven plus to see how she did. We did about three hours work familiarising her with the test using some papers off amazon.

Amazingly she passed. All of the children above did not.

englishteacher78 Sun 22-Sep-13 10:23:53

All this puts so much pressure on the students. I invigilated this year's 11+ and we had students crying over the papers. And being offered all manner of bribes. Crazy.

Elibean Sun 22-Sep-13 11:55:00

I agree with Rabbit. You have to know your child, and support them as they are - not as their parents, or the world, or any particular system, would like them to be.

All the best to your dd, Kenlee, and I hope your friend's parents see the light and move their dd to where she can be herself and excel at that.

There are other paths, and values, through Education that don't focus entirely on academic inflation and the panic that underlies it smile

Elibean Sun 22-Sep-13 11:55:24

blush sorry Rabbit, just did it again grin

Mumzy Sun 22-Sep-13 15:46:05

My cousin got her ds1 into Tiffin but the amount and intensity of tutoring he had was unbelievable and this is a child who was always at top of his class at primary school. DS1 is in a selective indie and compared to Tiffin his entrance exam was a fairly straightforward. ( som familiarisation with exam and brushing up on exam technique). However if I was not able to afford school fees I think I might have joined the queue to Tiffin. OP you have the luxury of being able to do what you have done for your dd for others the choice is getting into a grammar or a sink school

Kenlee Sun 22-Sep-13 17:26:15

Mumzy :

I really didnt realize that the local comps are so dire in the UK.

Although I do agree my daughter is one of the lucky ones.

Thanks Elibean.

Xollob Sun 22-Sep-13 20:40:30

The problem is, when so many people do it others do it to make it an even playing field.

Elibean Mon 23-Sep-13 10:27:52

Extraordinary selection of opinions.

I am in SW London, and we don't necessarily have the best or shiniest comps in the country (and no grammars in my Borough), but goodness me they are not sinks. I know any number of happy, well behaved, bright, creative kids at quite a few of them.

And we are definitely looking at state as well as indie for dd1. I can see advantages in both, at the moment.

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