Tutoring for grammar school entry(34 Posts)
I want to give my DD the best chance of getting into a grammar school in my local area (Gloucs). Can anyone give me any advice on what to do for the best? Is tutoring a good idea? if so, what kind of tutor? She's bright (obv ), but won't be getting any help from her primary school to be able to pass the entry exam.
Bond Assessment papers from WH smith will save you a small fortune
Find out which papers the school uses.
They vary around the country and you don't want to waste effort practising skills your dc doesn't need.
Our local library sold the appropriate material and there are good (free and fee-based) online tutorials. Try www.elevenplusexams.co.uk which also has useful forums if you need advice.
You can home-tutor just fine, but it depends on your relationship with your child - can get a bit intense. But tutors are £££££££!
I will be grateful if anyone can send me the details of tried and tested tutors to prepare my dd for the 11plus exams entry into Nonsuch, Wallington and Tiffins
If the school you mean is in Cheltenham - it is very hard to get into. They only take the top percentage of those who pass. So whilst it is definately worth trying for make sure you have a good back up plan.
I think that it is a bad idea to tutor for the 11plus because the Grammar is VERY competative and children drilled to pass the 11 plus can struggle to keep up once there. I am very pro Grammar school but definately think you should go into it armed with your natural ability. If it is right for your child they will get in and if not they won't. My 2 good friends did not pass the 11 plus and one is a doctor the other a headteacher so it is not the only way to success.
I would just make sure she has had a go at some practice papers so the format is familiar to her and she is used to working them out in an exam time frame.
Best of Luck!
DE did the exam for Glos last year, and I would second the Bond papers (they're the ones the school recommends.)
We (well, DH mainly) home tutored by competing with her to see who got the highest score (usually her).
Agree that the eleven plus forums are useful.
thanks for the advice
Plan B has always been the local comp, which is a good one. I just want her to have a shot at Grammar if she can get in relatively painlessly, but I wouldn't want to push her to get in and then for her to struggle when she's there, iykwim.
the good news about Gloucs is that she will only need to revise for one topic, which is verbal reasoning. This cuts down the amount of preparation that she has to do, whereas some other areas of the country have to do maths, English and non-verbal reasoning in addition.
Info on the format of Gloucs tests can be found at
As mentioned by other posters elevenplusexams.co.uk has a great forum with a specific section on Gloucs, where parents share advice.
11plus.co.uk is a great free site with thousands of free verbal reasoning questions, an area that they are specialists in. They also have free videos that teach verbal reasoning techniques.
I don't think that you will need a tutor for it. I think she will be able to do it on her own, with your help as well as the free resources on the net. You can always top up with a tutor near the end if you think it is necessary.
I think the tests are probably based on the NFER tests, you can buy samples of these in Smiths. As mentioned by other posters the Bond tests in Smiths are also similar.
Yes NFER rings a bell - think we had those as well.
There are also books on how to do VR.
The main thing that struck us was the importance of a good vocabulary - knowing what words actually mean rather than just the contexts in which they are used.
Wide reading is invaluable I think, as is getting in to the habit of looking up words she doesn't understand straight away - dictionary by the bed maybe.
Gloucs grammar's eh?
Pate's - certainly in the top10 hardest to get into schools in the UK. Being the only grammar school within 5 miles of Cheltenham Spa (a town with one of the highest educated workforces as % of the population in the country) might have somehting to do with it. However, Balcarras is one of the best comprehensives in the country so might be worth considering them.
Stroud High - competition not as fierce as above, but new head and early days. Sixth form has had many problems.
Denmark Road - same as above (Gloucester and Stroud not quite as populated with type a personalities as Cheltenham!) and sligthly smaller.
Thomas Riches, Marling and Crypt all boys schools.
Of the above I'd go for Denmark Road unless your daughter is a REALLLY bright, prodigy type, and try for Pates as it is a co-ed school.
Or save yourself the hassle and go for Balcarras as it is an excellent school and Pate's does nothing that Balcarraas hasn't been doing for some time now.
Titgovi, I'd never heard that interesting fact about Cheltenham before!
Must be due to the existence of GCHQ I suppose (although you'd never believe it when you're on the High Street on a Saturday afternoon!)
Have name changed for this as don't want to be outed!
Have got three children who have been through both Pate's and other Glos grammar. They were not professionally tutored ( I 'tutored' them). They received no help from state primary.
Obviously download papers from the Pate's website, go on the ElevenPlusExams website, Glos section, very helpful. Buy papers from WH Smiths and practice vocabulary. Basically if your child is bright and you go through the papers with them, they are in with as good a chance as everyone else. It sounds daft but practice things like writing fast and not dithering about etc.....
Balcarras is certainly a very good comprehensive but wouldn't necessarily agree with the statement that 'Pate's does nothing that Balcarras hasn't been doing for some time'.
I know this is not helpful, but I find it really that this is what the UK education system has come to! I took and passed the 11+ without ever knowing what it was, or what the consequences of it were. I loved school. It's a shame that dcs today have to have such pressure put upon them. I'll get my coat.....
Actually, I'd suggest visiting all the schools with an open mind.
I happen to know Stroud High is a lovely school, as is the head - have no idea of what the 6th form 'problems' might be but you'll obviously decide for yourself whether this will colour your decision
There's also Ribston Hall, which I don't know much about but a lot of people choose it over Denmark Road for their own reasons.
And I also find the statement about the comprehensive hard to believe.
Haven't got a child at secondary school yet but I have also heard that many people choose Ribston over Denmark Road.
Fact is that in this country it doesn't matter if you go to a grammar or a comprehensive school, no path is closed to you - you can still do A levels, go to university etc. On the flip side going to a grammar school is no guarantee of success - dh went to one and left with just two O levels - just couldn't be bothered at the time, but now has two degrees and a good job.
Also Pate's is not full of child prodigies.
I certainly wouldn't say my DCs are/were child prodigies, and they certainly wouldn't class themselves or their friends as such, far from it I am afraid, sorry to disappoint if that it what you are looking for!!!!
The fact remains that many extremely bright children who fail to get into Pate's would probably get into Denmark Road of SHS.
I agree though about the pressure it puts on children. Cheltenham is quite unique in having a grammar school alongside several very good comprehenives within 5 miles. In many other parts of the country (Kent!) there are grammar schools, which are excellent, surrounded by secondary moderns which are not. The class divide in Kent secondaries is quite tragic.
Hope your daughter manages to get into the school of your choice, but remember that the world is littered with highly academic people who have never amounted to much and academic no-hopers who've become high-flyers in other fields.
"The race is not always to the swift" (sorry, but not sure where the quote comes from, Aesop perhaps?)
we are in a different grammar area and have two DC at the grammar.ds is not very motivated and sometimes lacks confidence so had about 6-8 sessions of tutoring which mainly helped him feel prepared.
dd would have been fine but wanted to see the tutor because her brother had so she went 3or4 times and got the highest score in her school.
In my experience,because 80% of kids are tutored,if yours aren't they are at a disadvantage.
I wish no-one even new the 11 plus was happening so there was no pressure on the kids.
Some kids have a tutor 2 or 3 times a week for 2 years before poor things!
I have name changed too. I have one DC at Pate's in year 7. So very puffed up to see some nice things being said.
My DC is not a prodigy, just a bit brighter than some at conceptual type stuff, good memory too. Good at Maths and Science type things, but nothing special in other subjects.
DC was not a big reader until recently (Pate's influence?) and I would second the comments about vocabulary. This is where DC struggled in practice tests.
DC had some sessions with a tutor just for orientation really, to help with pacing and to practice. The tutor tested DC at the first session, did very well, so was advised only to have occasional sessions and these were usually cancellations. I think it helped with confidence but would only have moved DC up a point or 2 as the initial tests were high results.
I used the chuckra website for some free downloads.
DC actually took the test at another school then we decided to put in for Pate's too. Glad we did.
Feel free to CAT me (although a bit new to MN so not sure how all that works) and I can pass on the contact details for the tutor.
We have friends at Ribston and Stroud High. All doing well and are happy.
I heard a rumour (from a teacher) that they are bringing forward the 11+ exam date to the summer term, starting THIS YEAR, but haven't told parents yet.
cat, I'm out of the system now, but i agree with that. Grammar school was intense. I was considered "clever" at my primary school. I never struggled with work, was on the "top table" and had a very advanced reading age.
At Grammar School I was average. Streamed high for languages and low for maths. Why would you want to coach your dcs for an environment that they might struggle with in the long term?
1) I failed kent test and got a first at chemistry at Uni. so don't worry about not passing the 11+
2) don't promice reward for passing 11+ thats just adding pressure. (thats not to say you can't treat them if they do pass)
3) my DD is bright and has just passed kent test this year. She has above average sats so we decided to support her in preparing for the test.
4) we used Bond papers and the 11+ website. She saw a tutor for 4 sessions in January last year to give her some orientation. then 3 sessions in July (to identify gaps) then finally 3 sessions in the last 2 weeks of August to practice timing, and exam techniques. we made it very clear that we didn't want her tutored above her natural ability. Just to get advice and help with a couple of troublesome areas.
5)she went into it all as relaxed as possible these days.
6) she was very pleased to pass but heres the rub
7) we are now dealing with the fallout of the fact that she will now go to a separate school from her best friends so she is not actually very happy at the moment (although she knows that it will all be ok once she gets to the new school)
8)I hate the idea of tutoring but as everyone does it unless you are confident in your own tutoring abilities a few sessions with a professional tutor is a help
9) good luck
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