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The Best Start in Life - Tonight ITV1

(34 Posts)
difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 19:46:04

Watching this open-mouthed. 11+ teacher charging £50 an hour and she has a waiting list of 200. Really surprised.

Programme is about tutoring young children, including 3 year olds to do Kumon Maths and English. Utter madness.

difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 19:47:17

One child they spoke to is doing 25 hours a week extra study for the 11+ (home and then several hours with a tutor at the weekend).

JakeBullet Thu 08-Nov-12 19:49:06

Sad isn't it? I mean okay if the child loves and wants to study as I am sure some children do. If its being forced on them though then it's dreadful.

difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 19:51:32

Poor weird boy telling the interviewer that gaining intelligence is more important than having friends as his mum told him people will want to be his friend if he is intelligent. Double hmm to that.

losingtrust Thu 08-Nov-12 20:22:11

So sad for the boy after I read your post Bisjo. That is shockingly bad. How can a mother really think like that.

difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 20:25:40

I feel bad that I described as weird. Of course he isn't, he is just lacking in social skills. Finland have it the best way - learn social skills first and then education. Imvho good social skills will take you further in life than a stellar academic education.

GreatAuntMaud Thu 08-Nov-12 20:32:40

They all seem like a bunch of weirdos.

difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 20:42:53

Maud I agree about the parents but the children can't help how they are.

NewFerry Thu 08-Nov-12 20:45:16

However much a child loves and "wants" to study, I would seriously question any parent allowing a child to study for 25 hours a week.

GreatAuntMaud Thu 08-Nov-12 20:47:55

Of course bisjo, that goes without saying. The kids seem to be robots that fulfill the parents' needs for academic success at any cost.

difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 20:51:39

I can't imagine my ds being so compliant, but I suppose they have been raised not to have a choice about anything they do.

losingtrust Thu 08-Nov-12 21:10:18

They will also be the adults who are least likely to take any risks and stay in boring jobs that give them no satisfaction so they can do the same with their kids.

honeysmummy1 Thu 08-Nov-12 22:52:29

It saddened me. Children should be able to have a childhood, fun memories. I could not believe a mother would have their child study for three hours after shool and six hours at the weekend, rediculous.
I'm all for encouraging my child to do well and excell but not sacrafising her childhood.
I have a two year old, she can count up to ten, knows her colours and is learning the alphabet and im really proud of her, but would never put her into maths and english classes at age two dont think its fair at all, she should be out at the library looking at picture books, playing in the park and learning how to socialise with other children.
The children on the program seemed like they were being kept in to study to fulfil their parents dream of having an einstien child! pfft.
what chance do these kids get to make friends. There is only so much you can learn about the world on paper.

mummov3 Fri 09-Nov-12 07:47:43

I watched the programme and was astounded at the pressure some mums put on their children. I must say though that I send my eldest to a tuition class for 1 session a week for help with reading - something I wouldn't do if he didn't like it! Since attending it has made him happier and more confident in school. I think it has actually put him under LESS pressure because he is now keeping up with the others in his class.

orangeberries Fri 09-Nov-12 08:54:01

We don't live in a grammar school area, but I have family who do and the amount of pressure put on the children is terrifying.

The government has some responsibility to stop it, in my view it shouldn't be about making the tests tutor proof, it should be about scrapping the grammars altogether or if they decide to keep them then making them available to a much larger extent so competition is a lot less fierce.

I can't believe this is being allowed to continue really.

RosemaryandThyme Fri 09-Nov-12 11:24:17

would have liked to watch this as I'd love to drill my lot more, anyone know if it is available online or going to be repeated ? thanks

hopingtodrive Fri 09-Nov-12 11:53:51

It's available on itv1 player

Hamishbear Fri 09-Nov-12 13:35:29

Interesting. A few things strike me.

First off, Maddie. When she gets to school undoubtedly she'll be on a G&T or some form of extension programme. She'll so get extra resources directed at her and won't be left to coast as she progresses through junior school. Maddie could be most of our children, if they had that input they could be doing as well academically. Many, IME, don't seem to grasp that. That boy, with the Kumon leader mother, was reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at 6 and able to grasp it. Again, many children could I believe with that level of exposure and practice. Again at school he will perhaps be on a G&T programme and so have extra resources coming his way etc. These children are likely to do very well at 7 at 11 and beyond. If they are 3b or 3a at the end of the Y2 - for example - there will undoubtedly be high expectations for 11.

Secondly, Kumon maths. It's an arithmetic tool. It means that children will usually develop speed and accuracy if not the understanding early on. This means a likelihood of top set, top table in infants and juniors. Again a increased chance of a better academic outcome. Speed and accuracy are valued early on, they're noticeable in a large setting, these children stand out and so usually these children have a head start. They will often be seen as brighter.

57% of those surveyed thought their children weren't stretched at primary school - strikes me as a lot. I do feel that children can do more than many realise. Striving for academic rigour, even when children are young, isn't always a bad thing IMO especially when the children have balanced lives and play too.

I thought it was a good point that the overly coached child often felt resentful and alienated from peers who were more intent on playing etc. Made me think perhaps, as the world is going to get much more competitive, whether this will change in the UK in time?

difficultpickle Fri 09-Nov-12 13:49:45

I'd be in the 43% who either thought their dcs were ok at primary school or not bothered if they weren't being stretched (there was no break down offered of the details).

Primary school is supposed to be about developing a love of learning with the hard work coming in secondary school. I wonder how Maddie will be at 13. Will she be eagar and enthusiastic about learning or will she spend her teenage years rebelling against the enforced learning regime she has been subjected to?

I'm also squarely in the category of no homework in primary school other than reading. Imvho the homework is more about the school showing the parents what their dcs are learning rather than actually about doing the work. I won't help ds do his homework at all but I wonder how many parents do? I will facilitate in the sense he has somewhere quiet to do it but if he doesn't know how to do it then I write in the homework diary that he didn't know how and leave it for the teacher to explain.

I can't imagine an 8 or 9 year old child doing 25 hours extra study on top of the time they spend at school. I know a few parents who do similar in terms of having their dcs coached for everything. The children are compliant but the discipline is incredibly strict - someone I know banned their dcs from watching tv for two weeks as they turned the tv on without permission. Their dcs are doing very well at school but I wonder at what cost both financially and emotionally.

Sonnet Fri 09-Nov-12 13:57:53

Just watching this on I player. The child of the kumon teacher said her son would be at A level standard for reading comprehension at year 3. confused surely a lack of maturity/life would make this impossible?

Hamishbear Fri 09-Nov-12 14:34:16

Isn't primary school also about building excellent academic foundations, developing confidence (academic and otherwise), establishing a work ethic, socialisation, making friends and having fun in the process? Having lots of fun and essentially coasting to 11 means a risk of serious underachievement later on I'd have thought. I've seen so many who don't buckle down to homework, they hate it, resent it and won't study when it starts to seriously begin around 14. Those at prep schools etc who are used to it take it in their stride. Same thing struck me with all those 'nervous' children (re: tests) they interviewed at the start. Reminded me of the countless preps I've visited where children just toss another completed test paper nonchalantly onto the pile before going out to play.

Maddie's mother said she was bright, confident and it was all coming from her. It might be she ends up with a scholarship to St Paul's Girls or similar at 11 because she's confident and been encouraged academically rather than being an outright rebel? Sometimes I think our academic expectations are woefully low. Maddie will be ahead, this can increase confidence and engagement with school you hit the ground running .

I know an awful lot who limit TV and screen time, their children have gone on to do extremely well. Of course anything taken to an extreme is unhealthy though - I thought the comments about A level standard for reading comprehension at Y3 were a bit bonkers. To be way ahead because of high expectations and exposure to books at 8 I can well believe but not to the level of a 17/18 year old. Why would you want to take a child that far in that area so fast too?

Startail Fri 09-Nov-12 14:43:01

I truly do not understand hot housing DCs to take the 11+ from age3.

Surely a few practice papers a week in year 5 are all a half way good enough child needs.

I'm certain DD2 could have got in had she wanted to, without any more than that. DD1 can get in the top 5% for NVR without ever having done more than her a few CATS papers in her life.

Unfortunately, she's dyslexic and she didn't read well enough in Y6 to think of entering her, for our very VR heavy 11+

I'd have walked the 11+ without trying (but sadly didn't live in a grammar school area).

I guess the London super selectives are so over subscribed that you basicly need 100% at break neck speed, but round here I doubt vast amounts of work push more tan a tiny no. of DCs ahead of those who are just naturally bright.

Forcing naturally bright DCs to do loads of academic work is surely wasting time they could use to learn other things and simply be children. It also risks them becoming very neurotic about exams and not having the self belief that they can do things without vast amounts of work.

losingtrust Fri 09-Nov-12 15:11:15

To anyone who really believes a child who is clever at four is going to be the same level at year 6 needs to consider that this is not necessarily true once the young ones in the year catch up which they do and often exceed because they have been chasing the pack there will be a reshuffle. Some children just level off to their rightful place. IME year 2 levels mean nothing in the long term. I am a mother of summer borns so have seen those with 2cs getting their fives in year 6 when maturity kicks in with no extra tuition just their natural brains and competitiveness shining through. All those who think kumonvis worth it consider countries like Finland where outcomes for kids are better with no homework and pressure in the early years.

Hamishbear Fri 09-Nov-12 15:25:22

The NC essentially divides the cohort up into high, middle and low ability. If you are identified as high ability more will generally be expected from you at 11.

losingtrust Fri 09-Nov-12 15:33:42

But it does not guaranty you will do better or take into account that some kids are nearly a year younger.

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