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"tutoring for grammar school is cheating". AIBU to be fuming at DSIL's attitude?

(665 Posts)
twiceupinarms Fri 26-Apr-13 19:29:46

namechange coz as much as I don't care if she reads this, I don't want her to know my normal nickname.angry
I am getting my DD tutored for grammar school. DSIL thinks it's cheating if she can't get in without being tutored and will therefor struggle when she gets there. for fucksake, the exams are not based on school curriculum - it's like being a brilliant footballer but been trialled to get in the team on your ability to tie your laces. fucksake.
Anyone else encountered this attitude?
Oh I can add hypocrisy to the list? Her DD audtitioned to go to Stage Boarding School. Did she do any practice/preparations for the audition? Only 9 lessons a week, every week, for 6 years.
AIBU to be cross?

CloudsAndTrees Fri 26-Apr-13 20:44:06

Your SIL should concentrate on end own children instead of yours. Lots of people have strong opinions against grammar schools, even more have strong opinions against tutoring.

They can use their opinions on their own children's education, and leave everyone else to do what they think is best for theirs.

Szeli Fri 26-Apr-13 20:44:46

Doing practise papers isn't tutoring; practise papers get you used to the exams and I am aware schooling has changed dramatically since I was there but Sod the curriculum if we were further ahead at primary we got harder work and this was reflected in how far you could get through the Maths and English parts of the test.

As for the verbal reasoning (the main part of the test) that was laid out very much like an iq test anyway so I don't see how traditional tutoring would help.

I think yabu your child won't necessarily struggle but perhaps it will end up with the teachers having to teach to the lowest common denominator and it boring the girls meant to be there resulting in their lack of interest and then effort...

IMO practise papers fine/tutoring is unfair on your child and unfair on the children who will have to have lower ability children in their classes x

letseatgrandma Fri 26-Apr-13 20:45:46

DS has just recently taken his 11+ and whilst in the past, I have always thought that you shouldn't need to do anything extra, like we didn't back in the day (25 years ago), things just aren't the same as they were then.

Our catchment school is dire-so I felt the alternative to grammar was something I would go to a lot of lengths to avoid. The private schools nearby do VR at school every day from Y3, as does the local 'grammar crammer' state primary school. Every single other child in DS's year at his state (not grammar crammer!) primary who was taking the 11+ (about half of the year) had a tutor. I could have stood by my principles and done nothing extra for/with him, but I was fully aware that it wasn't a level playing field to begin with so I was immediately putting him at a disadvantage by doing nothing.

I didn't get a tutor for him, but I did do VR and comprehension/maths with him at home myself for the year before the 11+. I would do this for him if he struggled with any subjects at secondary school, so whilst I didn't see this as anything out of the ordinary for me and wasn't paid tutoring, I know that I was tutoring him! I had a few wobbles about it but I didn't think a tutor would have offered much that I couldn't. As it was, DS passed and got the best mark in his year; I think it was worth it. Had I not been confident in my subject matter though, I would have found a tutor.

Only 15 children in DS's year passed. 44 had tutors. As far as I could see, a lot of people hired tutors and then switched off and assumed their DC would pass because they had a tutor. This was absolutely not the case-so even if you do get one, make sure you are aware of what's going on!

I've waffled completely-sorry! As for your SIL though-have you pointed out the hypocrisy in her words!

Coffeeformeplease Fri 26-Apr-13 20:46:39

We had to give our children extra stuff to do because they were both bored at the end of year 4. Primary school refused to give them advanced things to do, they were sent to sort out the library/help in lower years/clean the playground etc.
I asked about having them jump up a year but was told it's unheard of. They both started Kumon, because they love maths and weren't given any challenges at all.
Before the 11+ we did papers with them and explained them. How on earth can a child do nonverbal reasoning without ever having seen a paper? They could thankfully do them (as I was clueless), but needed some exercise to do them at speed. If that's cheating, I can live with it.

Lots of the maths had also not been covered yet at the beginning of year 6. The primary was completely unconcerned with 11+, they didn't care and didn't even ask what school they got into. All they cared about was the Sats, which got on my nerves, because that was just for the school, not for the children.

Both got into very selective grammars, both are doing well, they love it.

Regarding what your SIL said, ignore her. Listen to your instincts. My children wanted those schools, they went to the open days and came away asking what they had to do to get in. They never moaned about the practice papers. I think that's the attitude to look out for. They will need to be self motivated to do well. If they're not, they will start to struggle once puberty hits. You can't teach them this, it's intrinsic.

jamdonut Fri 26-Apr-13 20:46:42

There are no Grammar Schools in our vincinity and I'm glad. It seems like an awful lot of pressure to be dumping on an 11 year old just because you want the 'best ' education for her. High achievers tend to continue to achieve highly even if they go to a common old comprehensive.

I can see how people perceive it as cheating,and it seems particularly unfair on bright kids whose parents cannot afford to get their children tutored.(That would be me,if I was so inclined)

But even if the exam is not stuff covered by the National Curriculum,aren't the children sitting it supposed to be clever enough to work out what is required? To be able to 'think outside the box',which is why they should be attending Grammar School in the first place?

HollyBerryBush Fri 26-Apr-13 20:46:57

I live in a grammar area.

DS2 is naturally bright. DS3 scores equally in tests with DS2, but would not cope with the pressure at GS.

Our borough was compulsory 11+ testing until last year. I toued with to withdrawing DS3 on the grounds (a) GS was not my chosen model of school for him (b) he cracks under pressure. I was coerced into 'giving him a chance' - he cried solidly and had to be taken out. He was still only just short of a pass for GS. But I would never have sent him to a GS, he is far better in the GS stream of the sec modern. big fish, small pond syndrome works for him.

All three of mine went to very different schools, comprehensive, grammar, sec modern. You can tell the difference in education. DS2 is far more self assured than the other two. He is groomed to succeed in life. There is a fine line between arrogance and self assuredness, I do stamp on arrogance which does come to the fore now and again.

Even those who were let go at Y11 results day and have to trade down (in their eyes) a lesser 6th form, carry themselves with a work ethic that is rare in a sec modern. BUT there are those who mature later and take their A*'s into the GS 6th form and do very well.

I don't see GS as the holy grail that some parents see it as. If you have a child that is capable mentally, academically and emotionally then go for it. Pushy parents unfortunately rarely ever care about the emotional well being of their child.

Undertone Fri 26-Apr-13 20:47:30

I had to be tutored for 11+ because primary school hadn't prepared us for those types of questions. Passed, got into grammar school, thrived.

No reason to get bent out of shape about tutoring. Maybe primary schools should look at 11+ prep as a matter of course.

Kids don't have "natural ability" to know what to do in an exam. Bloody irresponsible to not equip them with the proper tools if the means are available.

MagicHouse Fri 26-Apr-13 20:47:48

I think what you're doing is absolutely fine. I wasn't "tutored" for the 11+ (a million years ago!) but my dad talked me through lots of practice papers and I remember my scores going up from in the 60's% to in the 90's. It was just like you say - being familiar with the sort of questioning. I didn't struggle at all at grammar school.
I think though, the fact that you're "furious" means there's more to this than meets the eye. If I had my dd "tutored" and someone said I was cheating I would laugh to be honest, or else calmly disagree. It wouldn't make me furious. It would make me think the person who said it was jealous or miserable about something. I think she's trying to make you feel bad, and it's working, but people who try to make you feel bad are usually pretty miserable underneath! Give her a big smile, say you disagree and change the subject!

kilmuir Fri 26-Apr-13 20:49:10

, as much as I agree that excessive tutoring is doing the child no favours, I did get DD to do some 11plus prep. Non verbal reasoning type of questions needed going over.
I do have friends whose children passed 11 plus exam but are now struggling as they are basically not bright enough

MmeThenardier Fri 26-Apr-13 20:53:23

Its a real shame that some very bright children go into the 11+ exam with no idea of what to expect and how would they? Many primary schools don't prepare them for the 11+. Some children wont have sat so much as a test paper.

Meanwhile those with tutors will know exactly what to expect, be used to the questions and very importantly be well versed in exam technique for eg had skills reinforced like reading the question twice. Doing the easy ones first, going back and doing the harder ones etc etc They will have all the confidence that comes from practice and experience.

The system may be flawed but who wouldn't want to put the child on a level playing field?

assumpta Fri 26-Apr-13 20:53:46

A lot of tutored kids DO struggle to keep up with the naturally bright kids, and yes the 11 + can be passed by a child that has not been tutored, and I know that for an absolute fact. I also know that those tutored to get in are identified by their teachers within the first 6 weeks, mainly through difficulty with maths. However, if you, like a lot of other parents, are willing to pay for outside tuition in various subjects to keep your child in the top set, then, why not. At the end of the day, you know your child.

Fleecyslippers Fri 26-Apr-13 20:58:41

I assume then that she, and others who share her view, will never ever allow their children to revise or prepare for exams ever - because it's all just cheating ? hmm
Sour grapes OP - just ignore.

SacreBlue Fri 26-Apr-13 20:59:23

Clarification on my part - tutoring re the type of exam is very different to tutoring to the level of an exam. I totally stand by my comments re the parental involvement though - if you aren't prepared for the long haul - why should your kids be

HollyBerryBush Fri 26-Apr-13 21:02:55

When the English paper was removed (well it was here) the GS schools were having to extend their SEN units to deal with the influx of below par literacy pupils who were very numeric. The English paper has been reintroduced.

From my perspective, with a falling birth roll for Y7's until 2015 this is good business for the sec modern I work in, we fight tooth and nail for pupils who . Those in GS who have struggled with literacy are bums-on-seats fodder for me to pick up when they get slung out on results day.

In my experience, professionally, and anecdotally through DS2, the GS don't give a flying monkeys about pastoral care, it is all about results. Non performers are shifted out very quickly - but their intrinsic work ethic can be harnessed.

The way I see it (first hand professional story coming up), If your mum died of cancer when you were in Y10, and your dad did in a car crash 6 months later and your nanna took you in and you are dealing with that level of berevement and councelling in Y11 and you only managed to get B's and C's you, the school, have a duty of care to that pupil to keep her in her surroundings, not announce she's not fit for A level purpose and chuck her out, isolating her from her peers, teachers and routine.

That is the side of GS I don't like

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 26-Apr-13 21:04:33

I personally feel that tutoring for Grammar IS cheating - but that may be because my untutored 11yo DS1 missed out on a GS place by just one point - despite having an IQ that measures as 134 and a parent with no hope of affording either tutoring or private schooling.

He lost out to plenty of boys nowhere near as clever as him, but that had had two years of tutoring to pass the test, with established tutors.

My DS1 had me.

It IS cheating - GS's should be testing an equal playing field, not one skewed by tutoring.

There is still hope that my DS1 will get in from the waiting list though...

PrettyKitty1986 Fri 26-Apr-13 21:04:52

To me, it seems like a huge amount of pressure to put a child under.

I am very, very glad we live in Wales tbh. No grammar schools to worry about.

FreedomOfTheTess Fri 26-Apr-13 21:05:03

It isn't cheating as such, but I do think if a child cannot get pass an entrance exam for a grammar school without extensive tutoring, they're not cut out for it in the first place.

So in that regard, I do agree with your SIL.

landofsoapandglory Fri 26-Apr-13 21:06:15

Each to their own.

We moved from an area without grammars to an area with just as DS1 started Yr6. We took advice from his previous HT about doing the 11+ and he was of the opinion of not to bother as the vast majority of the DC would have been tutored to an inch of their lives, so DS1 would have been at a distinct disadvantage. He went to a comprehensive and gained 10A*&As at GCSE. He is in Yr 13 now and is on at least 3A's at A2. The DC who left his primary for grammar, who had been tutored, did not do as well in their GCSE's.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 26-Apr-13 21:07:47

Thank goodness I live in an all comp area!

This just sounds like hell on Earth to me

MyDarlingYoni Fri 26-Apr-13 21:13:41

Hollyberrybush I went to Grammar and I had a tough time at home, I was sobbing in nearly every lesson for a long long time, I was helped enormously and they got people in to try and support me.

I found it to be a brilliant supportive warm wonderful school that looked after us all in a caring holistic manner.

LucilleBluth Fri 26-Apr-13 21:13:56

Tutor all the way baby......I don't give two shiny shites if people think it's cheating to use a tutor. My DS1 is very bright but you need to train specifically for the 11+ ,........ my son had a tutor who not only prepared him for the exam but he also did GCSE maths work with him and now he is flying in maths.....thanks to his 11+ tutoring.

HollyBerryBush Fri 26-Apr-13 21:19:40

I do passionately believe in the tri part system I grew up in (70's)

Grammar for the academics
Techincal for the hands on
Sec Mod for the pen pushers

FWIW I'm a pen pusher and paper circulator grin

Oddly, 4 of us at primary, we all went to different secondaries (S) mixed comprehensive (C) girls tech (L) the elite mixed grammar (Me) girls sec mod

this is how we panned out at 16:

(L) obviously got the best O level results, followed by (Me) then (C), (S) did CSEs

(L) did not do A levels, (Me) did one year then worked abroad, (C) did nicely at A level (S) went straight to work, no 6th form

At 17/18 this is how we panned out

(L) dropped out, (C) got pregnant (S) married well (Me) had the only thing discernable as a career back in the 80's and 90's. I am the only one who married late, had late children, who isn't a grandparent.

imour Fri 26-Apr-13 21:43:49

yanbu how is it cheating , if your daughter passes then shes got the brains to go there and keep up , sounds like a bit of envy .

anothermadamebutterfly Fri 26-Apr-13 21:48:55

YANBU - around here, some primary schools have extra classes to prepare the kids for the 11+, others don't. Private schools likewise prepare the kids for 11+. There is no level playing field to start off with. Very few kids get in without tutoring of some sort (the parents who don't tutor tend to be the ones who can help the kids prepare for the exam without a tutor).
Do as you feel best.

greenformica Fri 26-Apr-13 21:58:15

I totally agree with you and so do all my friends.

I think a child could be a genius but fail the 11+ because they weren't familiar with the specific question techniques used in the exam.

My DS's teachers suggested he attend the grammar and so we started practicing this month for a 2013 test. We do about an hour a week and cover the different problem solving styles. At the moment he has a go at an exam paper and then I help him work out how to solve any missed/wrong questions. He is very quick to catch on and I'm sure he will do well. If I felt he was boarder line I wouldn't enter him as I wouldn't want him to be bottom of a grammar school.

Exams aside, I think that it's quite helpful/fun/stimulating for children to learn problem solving and verbal reasoning.

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