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Tuition from year one and grammar school chances

(151 Posts)
squashpie Mon 22-Feb-10 13:47:16

Couldn't think what else to call this question. DS is in year 1. He seems to be in top third in the various subjects. A few of his classmates have tuition/ kumon, which I'd always been dead against. Now I've discovered today that two of those tutored/ kumoned kids have extra maths to stretch them because they are clearly excelling.

We live in the London area and competition for grammar schools is fiercer than fierce and the local non-selective state schools are dire. It is our dearest wish that, if he were capable, DS would get into a grammar school. But how much of an advantage are the tutored/ kumoned kids getting. Will they be that far ahead when it comes to 11+? I've read on here that pupils level out but I can't help thinking that those who are so far ahead they are getting extra maths because they are already ahead of their year group are just going to maintain that lead. Do non-tutored but bright kids get into grammar school at 11?

Sorry for long post. blush

OP’s posts: |
smee Mon 22-Feb-10 13:52:39

He's only year one, why don't you wait a couple of years and see how it goes. Let him be little I say.

Strix Mon 22-Feb-10 13:54:04

I tink you are exactly right. Kids (who are already capable) begine to excel when they have been tutored. Then they are recognised and moved up to the top table. And then they are challenged a bit more. And, of course, there gap gets bigger and bigger.

My DD does Kumon. She is in year 2 and started in year 1. She has come on leaps and bounds in the last year. I think Kumon serves well those who are already mathematically inclined. I hear much less favourable reviews from people who enrolled their kids because they were already struggling.

Strix Mon 22-Feb-10 13:58:35

See now I should have had a typing class when I was younger. blush

LoveRoses Mon 22-Feb-10 15:05:20

Hi Squashpie,

In my opinion, it's never too late to start tutoring / preparing a child - esp. if they're keen to learn. I think the most important thing is to make learning as much fun as possible (esp. when they're so young) as children learn through play.

Having said that, it's a well known fact that most State primary schools do not prepare children to sit grammer school exams unlike their counterparts in private schools.

Thus a heavily tutored bright kid in a prep school is more likely to succeed in the 11+ compared to an equally bright child in the state primary who hasn't received any tution (IMHO again!)

That's not to say that bright kids in state primary schools don't get in though, it's just that the percentage of those who get in without any tuition is much lower than their counterparts who've been tutored.

smee Mon 22-Feb-10 15:19:59

Lordy am a bit shock at some of this. He's what, 6 at most? If he's keen to learn that's great and school (if good) should foster that and help him blossom. At home you can read with him, have fun with him, play educational games, etc. But to tutor on top so young?? I honestly think that's too much too soon. Surely there are people out there who can answer the OP's question and say you don't need to go there so young?? Please, please tell me there are.

Strix Mon 22-Feb-10 16:50:45

As you say Smee, learning through play is still learning. Whether or not this is harsh depends on the approach your tutor will take.

Kumon, for example, is 10 minutes a day. I hardly think that has stolen my 7 year old's youth. She has worked hard (for ten minutes a day) and has done a great job over the last year. She has a real sense of achievement and her confidence in math is far superior to most of her classmates. The boys in the playground tell her they are smarter and she shows them otherwise in the classroom. grin

GrungeBlobPrimpants Mon 22-Feb-10 17:02:38

Smee - I am totally [shock} too! Admittedly I'm not in a grammar area, but there are a lot of competetive parents and about a third of the class go on to private school at end Y6 - and even they don't start tutoring till Y4!!

My own dc's were lower half and bottom table respectively in Year 1, ds being on a PEP. DD now doing v well at secondary, and porr ds who was once labellled as not being bright is now getting test scores that are hihger than many of those being tutored for v academic selective schools.

So squashpie - please don't worry. Sounds as though he's doing fine - far too early to worry about grammar/secondary yet and let him enjoy himself. By the way - those who really DO need tutoring from that age will actually find it v hard at a grammar, I'd have thought.

Strix Mon 22-Feb-10 17:14:37

"those who really DO need tutoring from that age will actually find it v hard at a grammar, I'd have thought. "

Now there is an atitude I find shock and sad

Some people sign up for tutors because the school isn't doing their job, not because their child is stupid.

smee Mon 22-Feb-10 18:30:37

Strix, honestly I wasn't having a go, and certainly not accusing you or anyone else of stealing their kid's childhood. Was just genuinely bemused to hear people might think it's necessary to start tutoring so young as it seems absurd to me.
+ actually I think GrungeBlob's point's fair enough. She wasn't saying all children who are coached/ tutored aren't bright enough, but she's right as there always are some who are primed to get through, then suffer when they get there. I remember a girl at school who felt woefully inadequate because she was always bottom at everything. She was very obviously out of her depth, but still bright. Big shame I think.

GrungeBlobPrimpants Mon 22-Feb-10 18:48:23

Yes what smee said (but put a bit better) - what I'm trying to say is that if a child cannot get to grammar/selective school without tutoring all the way through the primary system (whether state or private), then the chances are that they will still need that support once at senior school which again produces problems of its own.

I think that there is a slight tendency (I am trying hard not to generalise, but ...) to assume that if a child has a problem then they need a tutor - that's not always the case. Children are individuals and learn at different rates - some shine in the early years but don't later, some late starters - and all sorts of permutations in between.

I just think that Year 1 is far to early to think about whether a child is grammar material or not, really.

cat64 Mon 22-Feb-10 19:08:57

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DebiNewberry Mon 22-Feb-10 19:16:50

No, I don't think it is necessary. I wouldn't until Yr 5 at least personally and even then I think we may decide agin. Spend the money on doing something different - extra music maybe -supposed to be good for maths, in a roundabout way.

Blu Mon 22-Feb-10 19:23:45

Crikey! Rather than endure 5 years of anxiety and competitive frenzy, I think I would move to an area which has inclusive state schools with which you are happy. Good state secondaries do exist in London!

Tutor in Kumon (whatever that is) if you wish, and if your child enjoys it and it enhances natural ability or gives extra support or confidence, but 5 years of pressure all round in competition for a Grammar place? Which you might not get because everyone else is doing the same thing? Madness and misery all round.

emy72 Mon 22-Feb-10 19:24:02

My local school is jam packed of kids that get tutored from year 1 as a lot of them go to selective private schools age 7 onwards....I am totally against it and that's why I haven't sent my children there. The teachers rave about the fact that the school is one of the top in the country, but the headteacher told us that "well we are spoilt as most of the kids get tutored", that says it all really.
I would only tutor my Y1 child if they were seriously struggling and I was at the end of my tether as to how to help them.

Lizipads Mon 22-Feb-10 19:38:04

In answer to your question, I'm pretty sure there are non-tutored but bright kids passing the 11+, but I'd imagine they would be those who outperform their claassmates anyway - top third without tutoring I'd have thought "no", not if competition is as fierce as you say.

Yes, they level out. But Y4 or Y5 children will catch up (and overtake) more quickly if they start tutoring then, so I'd prefer a bit of a crash course at that stage to the slow-burn piling it on fron Y1.


squashpie Mon 22-Feb-10 19:40:42

I think we would all agree that no-one is delighted by the idea of a 6 year old being tutored, to put it mildly. But, to live in the real, albeit maybe crazy, world, that is what happens as a matter of course in the area of SW London we live in. For 140 places at the most local grammar school, over 1400 people applied - more than 1 in 10 - and, because of the Greenwich ruling, anyone can apply to get in from all over the country. So, I know there are people who travel in from North London and, indeed, Berkshire (to cite the two egs I know of) to take their kids to school here.

What I was asking for, was whether anyone knew of any examples, where kids weren't tutored from such an early age but still managed to get in, or whether, you need the edge that years of tutoring gives you.

Perhaps we'd like any future government to provide more selective schools and for them to be particular to that area (which is not the case in London, as mentioned above), so that we can indeed give our children back their childhood and parents aren't lambasted for trying to do their best for their children in the area in which they live.

OP’s posts: |
squashpie Mon 22-Feb-10 19:42:44

thanks lizipads. That sounds the most sensible suggestion so far.

OP’s posts: |
SofaQueen Mon 22-Feb-10 19:47:26

I disagree that Kumon suits those who are more mathematically able. Kumon is very effective for those who do not intrinsically grasp math (I mean the theory behind maths). It is the idea of confidence boosting by repetition and practice. If your child is struggling with maths, and is happy to do repetitive tasks (i.e., multiple worksheets daily), I think that it is great.

The tutoring thing is a vicious cycle. People want to have an edge so they get their kids tutored. Other parents hear about the tutoring, so they panic and feel like their children are now at a disadvantage so they then get their kids prepped also, and so on... Completely understandable, but a bit scary (particularly when one takes a step back).

If a child is truly exceptional, extra tutoring wouldn't be necessary to get into grammar (just find out what is required and do a couple practice tests). If he is bright but not exceptional, then he might need tutoring just to compete with the other bright but not exceptional children to get in.

DebiNewberry Mon 22-Feb-10 19:49:09

I live in SW squash. Which grammar are you talking about - do you particularly have your eye on?

squashpie Mon 22-Feb-10 19:53:40

Wilsons, Sutton, Tiffin

OP’s posts: |
smee Mon 22-Feb-10 20:07:36

Blimey Squashpie, you sound miffed. Nobody lambasted you did they? or did I miss it? Your OP shows you're just trying to give your son the best chance and most on here have replied saying they don't feel extra tutoring's a good idea, nothing attacking you in that.
But as you mention it, I would definitely not like more selective schools. You yourself give a very strong argument against them in your original post, as look at the worry such a system is already causing you and your child is still only in Yr1. How will you feel if as Blu says you do decide to tutor and he doesn't get in? Or even if you don't tutor and he doesn't get in. Either way he'll possibly feel a failure at 11. Seems extraordinary to label kids at that age to me. I'm totally for stretching all kids to the best of their abilities, but that's different imo.

DebiNewberry Mon 22-Feb-10 20:09:36

You might get more specialist advice on admissions to those schools if you go onto Mumsnet Local for those areas - are they Kingston and Surrey? Not my manor sorry.

zapostrophe Mon 22-Feb-10 20:23:43

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Strix Mon 22-Feb-10 20:48:22

The problem I have with a statement like "those who really DO need tutoring from that age will actually find it v hard at a grammar, I'd have thought. " is that it suggest that a child's intelligence is a pre determined set level and that tutoring gives him or her a false elevation in test scores. I think this is totally false. Studing and exercising your intellect actually makes your brain more able. Hence tutoring helps to build the brain that is needed to thrive in a place like Tiffin. It does not set one up for a life of unrealistic expectations.

Of course there are natural and genetic limitations. But, you impose yet further limitations by not exercising the brain.

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