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Tutoring - opinions please!

(11 Posts)
multiplemother Tue 10-May-05 16:10:17

Is it good or bad? And are the good tutors really booked up for 18 months in advance? I have 3 yr old twins and in catchment area for failing school (and can't move house). not sure whether to send them there and spend the money on a tutor on areas I can see them falling back on, or enter the private school system - though already worried about reception/prep entrance 'chats' upon which they accept or turn your child down, especially as I have non-identical boys of wildy varying talents - if one gets in and the other doesn't, what on earth will I do? And most scary of all, ex-colleague (W11 resident, wife of TV presenter) told me she has neighbours using a tutor who costs TWO HUNDRED POUNDS AN HOUR!! Has anyone heard of this? Any ideas on what the going rate for normal people is? Of course now I'm scared if I do get a tutor, if it's not the 200 quid an hour one, I might as well not bother applying to the private schools as they're all so over-subscribed...
Any calming advice and/or recommendations gratefully received. Have absolutely no idea where to start. Live in west london

foxinsocks Tue 10-May-05 16:21:09

I think a lot of these prep school chats are as much to 'judge' the parents as they are the child!

If you are thinking about entrance at age 4 and are thinking of private schools in West London, I think you'll find you need to get your name down fast. A lot won't even give you a place, even if you've been down on their list since birth - they'll do a ballot or whatever.

In your position, if you are seriously thinking of private school, I would start phoning around to see where you have a reasonable chance of getting 2 places first and then worry about the 'chats' afterwards.

We have 4 or 5 friends in W London with kids in private schools none of whom had tutors before the chats so you should be OK.

foxinsocks Tue 10-May-05 16:24:31

have you looked round the failing school? if it is failing, chances are the LEA will start throwing money at it and it may well start to improve. Always worth having a look just to see what you think - you may be surprised (and you may not! but always best to judge yourself rather than relying solely on the stats)

binkie Tue 10-May-05 16:33:55

Where to start: work out what your realistic options are for schools - it's quite true that if your twins aren't down for Norland (eg) already you probably don't have a hope, tutoring or not. You may be in the catchment for various different state schools - is it upmystreet.com that lists them? Or the hotcourses website? Have a look at Ofsted reports. Definitely visit rather than rejecting on hearsay. Check ISIS listings for private schools and/or (dreaded) Good Schools Guide (as it will put your blood pressure UP).

Should you decide you need a tutor, London is stuffed with lovely, lively overseas visiting primary school teachers (Aussies, Kiwis, SA) keen to do extra work after-school or in holidays for about £8-12 an hour.

frogs Tue 10-May-05 16:43:14

Ah, don't panic, most of this hype is bollix. And those bits that aren't involve schools you probably wouldn't want your child to go to anyway.

In the first place, your primary school choices may be wider than you think -- schools change quite quickly, so your catchment school may have improved by the time your children are due to start. It's rare to find a truly terrible foundation stage -- it's later that things can become a bit more problematic. Also, it's worth casting your net a bit wider -- the crunch for places is worst at nursery and reception entrance. After that, most schools have a regular turnover and places do come up -- we were offered places in three of the most oversubscribed schools in the borough, despite being not particularly close. So you could accept the place you're offered at 4 and sit tight for a few months waiting for something else to come up, which it will if you're persistent.

wrt to tutoring, £200 an hour sounds apocryphal to me. Or maybe the parents just have more money than sense. I pay £25 per hour for my dd1 (age 9) to go to a tutor, who used to be deputy head of a little north london prep school. I got the tutor through Gabbitas, which I would highly recommend. You may pay slightly more if you want a tutor to come to you. But frankly I wouldn't bother until they're in the juniors (7+) -- all they really learn in the infants is reading, writing and basic maths, which you can teach them yourself.

7+ entry to private school seems like a good route to me if you decide to go that way. We tried it with dd1 and she was offered several places, both in big schools with secondary departments and in little prep schools. Admittedly, w. London is a slightly different proposition, but there is still movement at 7. There are some horror stories about particular schools being unbelievably snotty to parents (Wetherby's comes up again and again) but that's probably a good reason to avoid it.

hth

frogs Tue 10-May-05 16:49:07

Hi binkie, how is dd getting on in reception?

binkie Tue 10-May-05 16:57:02

She's a little rocket!

A month ago, she was being asked to read a word here & there, so that's what she was doing. Now she's expected to master a book a week, so she does. Pure case of raise the bar & up comes the child.

motherinferior Tue 10-May-05 16:58:54

errr Binkie, she also has somewhat literate and fantastic parents

Frogs, you have just cheered me up no end about schools (Dd1 just got into one which is not quite as ahem posh as I might like). Have to say I wouldn't dream of tutoring her, though.

frogs Tue 10-May-05 17:15:11

You wouldn't dream of tutoring her at 4, MI, but things may change when she's older and you want her (a) to be in a position to get into a selective school or (b) to actually learn something as opposed to going to school to run a lucrative racket in football stickers and hone her skills in scoubi-doos.

But you know that already -- after all, you clicked on the thread title...

Stilltrue Tue 10-May-05 17:17:53

I can't believe the £200ph figure either. Also agree there's no need to tutor 3 year olds! If you do end up going for "chats" at prep schools, the sort of things likely to come up - for your boys if not for you - are things like their sociability, readiness for school environment, etc. Not sure where a tutor would fit in there.

beatie Wed 11-May-05 10:53:53

I believe he NUT recommends £25 per hour for private tutoring.

I know of lots who charge less (inc DH) so don't be put off by the £200 per hour rate your neighbours pay. That sounds like madness.

Still, your children may never need a tutor. I would think, that if you have the money, paying regular school fees to send your boys to an Independent School might be better than squirreling away money to 'top up' the areas they might end up failing in (if they really are likely to fail in subjects by attending your local state school)

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