Tutor or Prep...(11 Posts)
OK. Here goes.
Let's say your kids are at an average state school... doesn't do very well by the bright kids and the kids standard in most things is a bit below par. Even excelling here, you expect, would be average in other schools that you like. Also, it's emerging from a period of instability and, despite lovely kids and parents, not really what you'd hope for in a school.
Let's say you want your child, who is pretty able, to have a punt at a grammar or a private secondary if that's what turns out to be in their best interests. And this is a school which doesn't send on to selective or grammars.
Let's say your kids are happy where they are but also up for a change. And that the idea of keeping them in the school till Y6 makes you feel a bit depressed.
1. Stay at the school and tutor in essential subjects once a week from quite early on (so it's not a cram at the end). Can this bring them up to scrach?
2. Send them to a nearish prep school and abandon the current school altogether. Thereby loosing the short school run and local friends and introducing loads of homework.
3. Send them to a better local school, trusting that a place will become available before Y4.
Let's pretend money isn't an issue.
If money no issue and you have a good local prep which does the right kind of work to prepare for 11plus, I'd do that. Don't assume that a prep school will do the kind of preparation needed for grammar or for move to a different private school at 11 though. Otherwise, would move to a better local state primary, and do some tutoring on top of that. I think it's good to have a good base from which you can add on extra work for a competitive exam.
If money were no object, I would probably move in year 3 or 4.
However, you could get good results with tutoring if that is the way you choose to go.
If money really wasn't the issue, then I'd probably opt out of the stresses of state school in-year transfers and applications rounds all together and go into the private sector for the entire time in school (assuming ere are good private schools in the area).
If not, then I'd probably go for 1, with or without 3.
If money was no object and I knew the private to be a good academic option as well as outstanding pastoral care then no contest.
A prep school should offer a lot more than extra homework. If you are considering tutoring, what is wrong with homework? Not much difference in my book as a bit of tutoring once a week will get you nowhere unless homework is built into the tutoring. The advantage of a prep school is that the lessons and homework are taught/set by the same teacher thus ensuring continuity and you should have a stronger learning ethos and parental expectation. However, a prep school cannot guarantee success at 11+ and just sitting next to clever children will not make it happen for yours. It is also vital to have plan B at senior level. What would you do if a grammar school place is not forthcoming? The prep school could help with this.
You should also get better sport, art, music and drama at the prep school. If you are not interested in these it could be a mistake to go independent. It is also important to consider if you will fit in. If you do not like homework, then will you always be against the ethos of the school? I am not sure how you can expect high standards without a bit of hard work.
Going to prep school doesn't mean that you will be sitting next to clever children, unless the prep school is selective. You may be sitting next to thick rich children.
I was assuming the prep had a good number of children getting through the 11+ or why would the OP choose it? I agree that some prep schools are not blessed with many academic types but I assumed this type of school would not be considered. My DDs prep school is non selective but regularly gets loads of academic scholarships to senior schools each year. It is not in London and none of the prep schools are selective around here. They have very bright children in them though, rich or otherwise!
None of them.
I'd keep my child at the current primary, assuming they were happy - but I'd make sure their basics ie times tables, mental maths were strong, plus get them to read LOTS. Give them a few lateral-thinking or IQ type puzzle books for fun. Play educational games once in a while. Talk intelligently to them.
Then no need for expensive schools or tutors. Minor exam prep in year 5.
I'd then trust genes to do the job. And if it didn't, assume they'd be fine in a comp of one variety or another.
Poor kids prepped for the 11+ like race horses being put in for some essential race.
I'd then trust genes to do the job
Except all the kids they'd be up against would have the genes and the preparation.
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