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11+ tutoring

(61 Posts)
Llanbobl Wed 18-Jul-12 19:10:42

DH and I have had a difference of opinion over tutoring for 11+ exams in Sept. DD is educationally able to cope with a Grammar school ed as she was achieving Yr 6 KS levels at end of Yr4 and has continued to develop in Yr5.
DP is against tutoring and I tended to agree with him - it should be on what a child is able to do so they can cope if they get a place. however am now having a HUGE panic - we've got practice tests etc but I'm struggling to explain all the strategies. So do you think it is worthwhile getting some tutoring sessions during the summer holidays? And does anyone know any tutors in the DN22 7 area (north notts) - if so would you pm me their contact details or link to website etc - thanks

Bati Wed 18-Jul-12 20:40:53

i would say yes get her a tutor
my dd is sitting the 11+ in september and we started her with a tutor last month. Her grades for this yr are 5a in everything so i know she is capable of a grammar school if she makes it in.
However i felt it was important for her to at least get used to what the 11+ is about. I felt it would be unfair on her otherwise, bit like if she sat an exam for french without ever learning french she would fail. However learning french then sitting the exam she has a chance of passing. iyswim

APMF Thu 19-Jul-12 12:25:44

Normally a thread about tutoring attracts a lot of 'tutoring is the work of the devil' posters. Strangely the Usual Suspects are missing from this thread.

SoupDragon Thu 19-Jul-12 12:30:03

Tutoring is perfect for helping your child understand what is required of them.

Like you, knew DS1 and DS2 were academically able enough to thrive in a selective environment. I had them tutored so they knew how to approach the questions - it didn't make them any brighter.

boneyjonesy Thu 19-Jul-12 12:39:37

what does your 11+ consist of ? it varies area to area. If it's VR and NVR i would say don't bother.Do it yourself.What qualifies someone to teach this other than having the brassneck to charge for it and finding a parent gullible enough to pay.

APMF Thu 19-Jul-12 13:18:04

Some schools don't make past papers available. In this situation it would make sense to hire a tutor that is familiar with the school for a few sessions.

nickelbarapasaurus Thu 19-Jul-12 13:19:28

you don't need tutoring, but the papers are unlike anything they actually learn in school, so I would suggest a compromise of getting the practice papers.

nickelbarapasaurus Thu 19-Jul-12 13:20:12

oh, sorry, i saw that you are struggling with the concept blush - why don't you just give them to her and let her figure them out herself?

luckybarsteward Thu 19-Jul-12 14:33:48

The most useful tutoring is to give the child the confidence to sit the test. Anything that can help them relax, from practical exam tips and gaining confidence with the subject/s will be of immediate benefit. It isn't like SATS, where coaching to the test simply benefits the school, this a test that a grammar school, for good or ill, will make decisions about your child from.

Long term, all the evidence points to any educational gains pre-secondary school will eventually be lost, but making the experience as somfortable as it can be for that moment.

mumwithtwokids Thu 19-Jul-12 14:52:22

My DS wasn't tutored and only did 1 practice paper before the entrance exam, he got a place at a super selective grammar and will be starting in September.

If your DD is strong in the chore subjects and is a quick thinker/worker then I don't think tutoring is needed. Would be worth maybe doing some practice papers as others have suggested.

ian35mm Thu 19-Jul-12 18:04:41

This is always a thorny issue.

(And please bear in mind that I'm a tutor, so perhaps biased.)

I live in Buckinghamshire, and this is what I would expect, statistically speaking.

Take the 'best' state primary school in Aylesbury. Let's call it 'B'.

'B' has around 90 kids taking the 11+. LEA figures tell us that 17% of 'B's pupils 'pass' the 11+ (so, say 15 pupils).

Research carried out by the BBC indicates that around 80% of children who 'pass' have been tutored for about a year or so. (so, 12 have been tutored).

That leaves 3 children out of the original 90 that get into Grammar without tutoring of some sort.

In Buckinghamshire, there are places for around 30% of children in the Grammars. But 'B' (a town school with the highest SAT's scores and the best Ofsted report in the town) gets a 17% pass rate! Of them, statistically speaking (and stats aren't real people) only 3 pass without tutoring for around a year.

Obviously different counties and different schools have different experiences, but lets look at another Aylesbury school. Lets call it 'T'. 'T' has around 60 children in the year group. Pass rate (last year) 0%.

A Chesham school (lets call it 'L'). 25 pupils - 1 passed (but didn't take the place.

An Amersham school. Pass rate 50%!!!! Interesting!

mumwithtwokids Thu 19-Jul-12 18:52:02

There will always be an argument about tutoring vs non-tutoring however I strongly believe there are a proportion of kids who are tutored without actually needing it. Parent's decide to tutor because either x,y or z do it or because they feel their DC won't get in otherwise.

The other thing you need to take into account is how able were the children who actually sat the exam? Maybe they weren't of the expected level but the parent's thought they would give it a go. I know quite a few in my DS's class did that.

A child in my DS's class who was tutored for over a year didn't gain a place, yet my DS and another who did gain a place at different grammar schools were not tutored.

4lovelychildren Thu 19-Jul-12 18:55:56

I would visit


Hopefullyrecovering Thu 19-Jul-12 18:57:20

Tutoring is the parental equivalent of a nuclear arms race

I was a member of CND, so perhaps you will not be surprised that I favour unilateral nuclear disarmament. I put it into practice as well - stuck DD in for the 11+ with the equivalent of having done 8 practice papers. Taught her some basic exam technique. She passed with flying colours into a superselective.

So there you have it. Lay down your weapons now.

voddiekeepsmesane Thu 19-Jul-12 19:47:45

This thread scares me. DS in going into year 4 in September so have one year to make the decision. I know I am going to agonize over this in the next 12 months.

DS is at the moment above average in maths and english, do I allow him to take the test on his knowledge as it will be or do I get him a tutor so he knows what is expected in the test?

We got a tutor for DSS 8 years ago for London 11+ exams but not sure what to do now.

Will probably be back to this subject in 10 months or so after much soul searching and still needing an answer smile

breadandbutterfly Thu 19-Jul-12 20:25:04

Yes,it is reasonable to familiarise your child with what is expected in the exams - if they have never seen a VR or MVR paper before, then they will probably be thrown. So practice papers are good and help to level the playing field. Most parents can do this themselves - tutors aren't actually magic.

Also, if maths to the end of year 6 is being tested then it is reasonable to cover this, as the brightest child in the world can't be expected to know what a 'perimeter' is, say, if they've never come across the term.

Where tutoring becomes more controversial is when it goes beyond familiarisation and covering essential topics and turns into exam cramming eg learning long lists of vocab (rather than just reading books), for example.

It's up to you - personally, I don't think that should be necessary nor desirable. I also think all the material is in the public domain - see link above - so paid-for tutoring is not required. eg Susan Daughtrey's book on VR (not v expensive) explains how to do all types of VR questions; the free 11+ websites have lots of free practice materials incl videos available for all to use.

Don't forget a lot of people make a lot of money out of 11+ - they want to persuade you that if you don't pay to tutor you fail your child. The evidence of the need for paid-for tutoring is non-existent and in fact my experience suggests the opposite may be the case.

letseatgrandma Thu 19-Jul-12 21:59:38

MVR paper

What's this?

APMF Thu 19-Jul-12 22:34:11

"I ... stuck DD in for the 11+ with the equivalent of having done 8 practice papers. Taught her some basic exam technique. She passed with flying colours into a superselective.... So there you have it. Lay down your weapons now "

grin When I read posts like this I imagine the other person doing as they are told by laying down their weapons. At which point they get to hear 'sucker!' before being whacked over the head.

Hopefullyrecovering Thu 19-Jul-12 22:57:50

I dunno. DD didn't take up her place at the superselective, for a variety of reasons. So there was no cry of 'sucker' from me.

This is game theory in essence. Do not play the game. There is no need. You are all bonkers. Is that okay?

APMF Thu 19-Jul-12 23:16:42

In the other active 11+ thread, seeker said she didn't tutor her ds and he failed. I tutored mine and he passed. So you and her can share your winning game theory with as many MNetters as you like. It just means less competition for patents who tutor

ian35mm Fri 20-Jul-12 22:46:43

All the available evidence points to the same conclusion. Tutoring works - more tutoring works more.

The reasons are fairly obvious.

If the 'choice' is one of the best (by results) state schools in the country, or one of the worst, then tutoring is a no-brainer if you can afford it. Whether that is right is another issue, but if it's your child's education at stake, really would you risk it?

Hopefullyrecovering Fri 20-Jul-12 23:34:59

Oh cobblers. What nonsense. If a child is bright enough, they'll get through no bother. And I'm talking ordinarily bright, not ivy league bright.

There is a difference but it is at the margins. If your child is at the margins, just think about the impact upon your child will be - being bottom of the class for the next 5-7 years. Reassess your ideas about tutoring.

<lone voice of sanity in the wilderness>

SoupDragon Sat 21-Jul-12 07:29:45

"If a child is bright enough, they'll get through no bother"

That simply isn't true.

If your child has never seen a VR paper or had to do certain maths problems or had to do English comprehensions then they are going to struggle.

SoupDragon Sat 21-Jul-12 07:31:03

Hopefullyrecovering, you seem to be deliberately ignoring the fact that you tutored your child

Llanbobl Sat 21-Jul-12 08:14:01

Sorry - it looked like I'd opened a can of worms and run off- DD is poorly so not been on.
Thank you all for your helpful comments advice and links. We have practice papers - rather stupidly we didn't register for practice tests. I think I will get DD a couple of tutoring sessions - she's doing well but I think a bit of extra confidence in NVR would do her the world of good.
Thanks again smile

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