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Tutoring for grammar/selective school

(74 Posts)
Kenlee Sat 14-Sep-13 19:57:33

I was just wondering is it really worth it? If your child is clearly not good enough to get in.

I have a close family member who's daughter although quite clever and was tutored to get into a super selective hot house school. which now they have regretted.

Their daughter is an avid swimmer but isnt good enough ....She can play the piano but not well enough. She can not play another instrument. She likes to dance but she is not graceful enough. She was near the top of the class in prep school but now she is not smart enough.

I have seen a bright child with a great outlook on life with many friends become the shunned girl at school.

So the question it really worth it.....?

She now cries her way to school. Im not sure what happens inbetween but she looks so sad when I have picked her up...

A little retail therapy helps but how much will be needed for her to last 5 to 7 years..But now her Uncle is in Hong Kong ..retail therapy is few and far between as her parents can not afford it.

Im so glad my daughter went to a school with good pastoral care. I think with enjoyment comes learning.

Elibean Mon 23-Sep-13 10:27:52

Extraordinary selection of opinions.

I am in SW London, and we don't necessarily have the best or shiniest comps in the country (and no grammars in my Borough), but goodness me they are not sinks. I know any number of happy, well behaved, bright, creative kids at quite a few of them.

And we are definitely looking at state as well as indie for dd1. I can see advantages in both, at the moment.

Xollob Sun 22-Sep-13 20:40:30

The problem is, when so many people do it others do it to make it an even playing field.

Kenlee Sun 22-Sep-13 17:26:15

Mumzy :

I really didnt realize that the local comps are so dire in the UK.

Although I do agree my daughter is one of the lucky ones.

Thanks Elibean.

Mumzy Sun 22-Sep-13 15:46:05

My cousin got her ds1 into Tiffin but the amount and intensity of tutoring he had was unbelievable and this is a child who was always at top of his class at primary school. DS1 is in a selective indie and compared to Tiffin his entrance exam was a fairly straightforward. ( som familiarisation with exam and brushing up on exam technique). However if I was not able to afford school fees I think I might have joined the queue to Tiffin. OP you have the luxury of being able to do what you have done for your dd for others the choice is getting into a grammar or a sink school

Elibean Sun 22-Sep-13 11:55:24

blush sorry Rabbit, just did it again grin

Elibean Sun 22-Sep-13 11:55:00

I agree with Rabbit. You have to know your child, and support them as they are - not as their parents, or the world, or any particular system, would like them to be.

All the best to your dd, Kenlee, and I hope your friend's parents see the light and move their dd to where she can be herself and excel at that.

There are other paths, and values, through Education that don't focus entirely on academic inflation and the panic that underlies it smile

englishteacher78 Sun 22-Sep-13 10:23:53

All this puts so much pressure on the students. I invigilated this year's 11+ and we had students crying over the papers. And being offered all manner of bribes. Crazy.

Bemused33 Sun 22-Sep-13 10:17:11

There is a massive culture for tutoring here. I am talking three years plus. Dd was in a class with one boy who was tutored every weekend for six hours on each day and he was miserable.

Another boy was tutored to the point he was having panic attacks at school and barely attended the last term.

I know of another boy having tutoring costing over £300 per month.

Dd decided to take the eleven plus to see how she did. We did about three hours work familiarising her with the test using some papers off amazon.

Amazingly she passed. All of the children above did not.

Kenlee Sat 21-Sep-13 23:24:42

I think we have already acknowledged she is not bright enough yet. Who knows she is still young and as she gets older maybe she will hit the pace required off her. She has started to re focus and seems happier. Thank you Xptman.

Christine it certainly doesn't if your child is bright enough to deal with the rigors of the academia. Im sorry your daughter missed out on GS. Your daughter is probably what they are looking for as well.

rabbitstew Sat 21-Sep-13 23:20:25

I disagree with Xpatmama88. What can be the making of one child can be the breaking of another. You have to know your own child and respond appropriately.

christine44 Sat 21-Sep-13 21:55:37

Being at a super selective school doesn't stop children having a life! My daughter has [I hope] a great life outside school. We didn't tutor her but wish we had for dd2 who scored 97% in 11+ but didnt get a place. She is happy at her comprehensive and in top sets but they are not offered the same opportunities as the Grammar school kids. Would love to give her a wider range of choices in her education but no way can we afford private or would we want her to be the poor girl with the scholarship .

Xpatmama88 Sat 21-Sep-13 20:58:43

Kenlee, good luck to your niece in her new school.
What I see is an able girl facing her first hurdle in life, she has to learn to have confidence to jump over it, but instead of teaching her to jump over the hurdle, the parent just move her to another track, and think that will give her a smoother run.
Life is competitive, these children your niece are with now will be the same group that she will be competing against for a place in University.
Both mine gained places in these superselective boarding schools from other Int'l Sch, they did struggle a bit at first with the fast pace academia, but with persistence; hard work and excellent teaching, they regained their confident. And both have a great social life, and into all sort of actitivites.
And I believe if the school admitted them and think they are good enough for their superselective school, then my child will survive there. These schools and their teachers are experienced educators, they have seen a lot of different children in their careers. They know what they are doing, they can spot talent.
The girls in my DD school most gained straight A* and A, even the one in the 'bottom of the pile'. I don't think the standard of school teaching overwhelm your niece, ( they mainly base on national curriculum, should be quite similar everywhere at this level), the thing that overwhelm your niece is the ability of her peers. That why she feels she is in the bottom of the pile. By moving her to a different school, you already acknowledge that she is not good enough.

Kenlee Sat 21-Sep-13 17:20:51

Thank goodness for that....

I think you may have a problem in understanding my English.

The point of my post is to go against what I consider over tutoring. I have never you attacked you personally because it really is not the done thing. Although, I do appreciate your attempts to belittle me with your personal attacks. I am to high up on the pay scale to worry about it to be honest. That is why I do not take the bait.

Again let me reiterate for those who are still needing a little more time for understanding the subject in hand.

Over tutoring a child to gain entry to a super selective school can back fire on your child. If they have the strength to fight their way up. Then kudos to the child they deserve their place. If they are the bottom of the pile and they are unable to fight or unwilling to fight. It maybe better for them to change to a school which is less hot house. It is not that your child is not bright. Just that your child is not equipped for that competition at this stage in their lives. I am also adamant that parents who full knowing that their child are suffering and prefer to just give extra tutorials to remedy the problem are really do a disservice to their children.

I have throughout this argument suggested that all children should be given the opportunity not only to excel in academia but also in sports and the arts. Therefore if their academia is lacking then they will not be afforded the time for the other activities.

I am a firm believer in a basic understanding of rote learning but in conjunction with analytical thinking. In which I find that a child that is bogged down in tutoring begins to adopt the former rather than the later. I believe that some form of tutoring as a top up on basic understanding or explanation is a good thing. I just don't think it is a good idea to tutor your child everyday without the concept of play. If your child can accept this then ok....but I don't see many that will.

I don't really care what socio economic group you belong too. Its not about how rich you are ....nor how poor you are.. Its about bright children getting into gifted schools. Not so bright getting into a school that will help them to get brighter. Its not about what you want to brag about at the cocktail party, but what is best for your child.

O and the interview its not a myth. I actually had to let a parent sit in as she would not stop making a fuss. So to get rid of her politely as we do in Hong Kong we let her in ....she answered the question we did not hire her child. The rest of the interview went quite smoothly for the other candidates.

I hope that has helped in your understanding of my original post. It still has nothing to do with HK in comparison to the UK or vice versa.

This I hope will be my last post to you and hopefully this time you will get it...As it is tiring to write the same message in different forms in the vain hope that the message will get through to you...

yours sincerly,

narrow minded judgy pants

FormaLurka Sat 21-Sep-13 13:28:50

Kenlee - are you seriously telling me that these parents sit in on the job interviews AND that the interview panel allow them to? <inserts incredulous emoticon>. Or is this another example of you retelling an urban myth as if it happened to someone you know?

Nothing I say is going to convince you that you are a narrow minded judgy pants so this is my last post on the thread.

My DP's nephews and nieces attend a non selective in the Shatin area. The academics are about comparable to an average GS, despite being non-selective, and the kids do extra curriculum stuff similar to MC Brit kids.

If you can afford £30k pa on fees then I suspect and you are part of the expat/HK elite circle. Despite the picture that you like to paint, the average HK family/school is not like the International schools that your rich friends send their kids. But you don't want to send your DD to a local school because it would be socially embarrising so you elected to send her abroad. Am I getting close?

My DD goes to top 10 UK indie. It's like me saying that my DC isn't going to fit in here or at Henrietta B or ... or ... So I'm sending her abroad to a country that isn't as pushy. Sounds kind of ridiculous when it's put that way, isn't it Kenlee?

Anyway <reaches for the HIDE THREAD button>

Kenlee Sat 21-Sep-13 10:27:45

That is exactly what Im am baulking agaisnt. It does not matter if your Chinese British or Martian. It doesnt matter what eco social group you belong to either.

The fact stands that an over tutored child who is entered into a super selective that is clearly not suited them. Is wrong.

The parents have a responsibility to make sure their child is enrolled in a school that reflexs their childs ability. I dont care if its fair or not fair that tutored children get an advantage or not.

I just want to say its ok for your children to enjoy school. To do the sports that are avaliable to them. To play and interact with their friends.

O BTW forma I was talking about graduates going to a job interview. I would hope you will not hold your childrens hand when doing that. It does irk me when the parents answer for their child. P.S. as a rule of thumb we dont hire them.

FormaLurka Sat 21-Sep-13 10:06:51

Kenlee - DP has nephews and nieces who go to non selective schools in the Shatin area. Sure, they get lots of homework and tests but no more than what you would expect from a UK selective. Yes, the girls do ballet and music but they are at the same level as my kids.

You can afford £30pa to send your DD to boarding school here in the UK so I suspect that you mix with the rich and successful. Their children are going to be pushed by their rich and successful parents in much the same way as their Brit counterparts.

FormaLurka Sat 21-Sep-13 09:39:07

HK parents visit their DC's universities with them? We Brits would never go with our DCs to their university open days, eh? grin

What I find 'funny' about your posts is the men sweat but women glisten perspective. I mean, you go OMG! at stuff that Chinese parents do despite the fact that we Brits do it as well.n

Kenlee Sat 21-Sep-13 08:32:39


I agree with your idea of some kids take longer to learn than other kids. That is why she is tutored. My daughter included also takes longer than most to understand comprehend and then use some concepts.

The point I want to drive home is that rather than trying for a school that ability wise will overwhelm your child. It would be better to place them in a school more suited to their needs.

We all know super selectives move at quite a quick rate.Therefore it would be better for a child who moves at a slower pace to attend a school that does not expect the child to be Einstein.

Some schools expect this and to be rather frank if you cant keep up you will be too busy catching up to enjoy the other pleasures that school can bring apart from academia. Im not saying that super selectives are wrong I think they are a good idea. I just dont think its a good idea for a child who is struggling.

Yes if they get in they must be bright. Then there are degrees of brightness I know that most kids are tutored now for 11+. Its to what extent that worries me. Again I am not against tutoring. I am agaisnt Over tutoring. If a child requires a longer period of time than most then wouldnt it be better to allow them to go to a school which allows this time for them to acclamatize to the subject. Rather than being expected to be in the know with the first touching of the subject.

We cant all be little Einstein's but we can allow our children to learn at their own acceptance rate. That does not mean we shouldnt push them. It means we must know and understand the rate at which our children learn. It is not a comparison between her peers nor a competition. I know of children who started slow went to a selective and got better than some burn outs in super selective.

I just feel it is important to make the argument that over tutoring may harm your child more than help in the long run. Even if they get in and are bottom of the pile if they are happy to be there...Enjoy the prestige and are willining to work to keep up ... I say go for it...On thr hand if they feel totally overwhelmed. Hating every second of being the dunce in the class. Then Im sorry your not meant for that school.

My niece happy to say has been accepted to a new indie school and will have her first day Monday...Hope she does well...fingers crossed. She is busy and happy now...She says she needs to read up in all her stuff as she doesn't want to be bottom of the pile again.

encouragement is always needed in Children but we shouldnt place our deficit in education and place them on the shoulders of our children.

Xpatmama88 Sat 21-Sep-13 04:52:56

Kenlee, different children learn at a different rate, some clever kids can pick thing up quickly, some need more time to digest and understand concept.
I don't believe there is thing call over-tutored. An example, say some people may only need 20 hours to learn to drive and pass the driving test, but some may take 40 or 60 hours, so the one who need 60 hours of learning to pass the test are they being over-tutored. I don't think so, I think they just need longer time to master the skill.

The same theory apply to children in learning. Some children are quick learner and some are not. Some need more reinforcement to learn some theory or understand certain concept. And you can't gain Grade 8 piano without any practice. Some may only need an hour practices a day, some may need 2 hours.

I think most parents want their children to get into a good school, and they choose the school because they believe that is the right school for their child, and they believe their child are bright enough to get in. If the school offer the child a place after all these selection processes, that means the child is able, no matter how they are tutored, at the end of the day, the child has nto sit that exams and need to apply himself/herself to these tests. So please do give them some credit if they make the cut into these grammar/selective schools. Mind you they are only 11 years old.

I think you are applying this with your niece who obviously had not settled into the competitive school of her parent choice. She passed the entrance exam so she must be bright. If she used to be top in her prep Sch, getting into a superselective, she may be not top of the class anymore, I think that may knock her confidence. Instead of thinking she is in the wrong school, you should actually encourage her, like what I have said before some children take longer time to learn thing.

Kenlee Sat 21-Sep-13 01:02:56

The whole point is that I am using Hong Kong as an example that hopefully the UK will not follow. Its rife in HK to use tutoring to get ahead is the norm in HK. Kids are tutored from the age of 3 right through to adulthood. The point is an over tutored child usually will do well in school. Tick all boxes. Is it a true reflection on his ability ? Well yes as your not there to take the exam. The point being and going back to my original point. The child will suffer if they are not made of the right stuff for the school you are forcing them to attend. Anyway if your tutoring. Any school you attend will be of little consequence as your child will be tutored.

Ok now the reason why I do not like OVER tutuoring for a child is that most are taught how to pass the exam and not the basics of understanding. They get really good results...Im not saying all but all over tutored (OT) children will pass with good results hence the prevalence of tutoring in HK. Do I stand agaisnt tutoring. To be honest No ..I will use tutors to bring in specialist knowledge for my daughter if she can not understand a topic in a certain area.

Again Im not against tutors Im against over tutoring for kids so that they get into a super selective. Then feel over whelmed and are unhappy.

Formaluka my father is an immigrant to the UK. I am a first generation Chinese. I worked on the counter of my fathers Chinese takeaway when I was six. Moving up to the woks when I was 11...Then waitered throughout University to makes ends meet. I suppose the reason why I dont make class distinction is because I came from the non super class as you put it.

O btw I lost all bragging rights for my daughter when I chose to send her to the UK. It will always be deemed she couldn't make it in HK thats why she got sent away.
So I wont get to brag at the cocktail party. Although she will be happy and that to me is the best part.

Again let me reiterate my post is about OT to get into a school not suited for your child.

Anyway if your child is happy for you to OT them fair enough. Although the tutored children generation are beginning to enter the work force.

Rabbit it is quite bleak that's why we tend to hire from abroad. If the locals dont make the grade. Ha ha I have had parents come with their university graduate child for interviews... So yes it is a black picture indeed.

FormaLurka Fri 20-Sep-13 18:18:00

Kenlee - please point to where I say that HK Chinese kids do better than UK kids confused

I am simply making the point that many Brit parents load their kids diaries with music, sports and academics. Yet you go OMG! at the HK tiger moms.

grin at the secretary anecdote. DP has relations who work as waiters, take away staff abd cooks. Hardly prime examples of a super race where even the DC of a secretary is a concert class musician.

I accept that your average HK kid probably studies to the same level as you average Brit GS pupil. Beyond that I see little evidence that HK pushy parents are any different from UK ones.

Anyway, it's kind of silly to go OMG at pushy Brit parents who over tutor their kids and then generalise about how pushy Chinese parents are in comparison to laid back Brita

rabbitstew Fri 20-Sep-13 17:46:13

So, what you appear to be saying, then, Kenlee, is that many of your compatriots do send their children to competitive schools for bragging rights and that they consider competition to be more important than happiness. You also think that a lot of them can't think analytically, because that's not considered important enough in school. That does seem like quite a harsh judgment of a lot of people, although if it is an accurate reflection of a culture, I must say I would also rather my children were not educated within it! You have obviously thought out what is best for your daughter and seem to have been successful in finding a school that will educate her effectively and make her happy, but to be completely honest, whether intentionally or not, you are painting a rather black-sounding picture of schools in Hong Kong.

Xpatmama88 Fri 20-Sep-13 16:11:56

Kenlee, all parents want the best for their kids, you chose to send your DD to UK, I'm sure it is not an easy decision to make, and the whole process of UK school hunting is not an easy one too if you live abroad. For us, we can keep ours with us and move them from one school to another everytime we move, but we decided boarding school is our best options. Our kids have exposure to HK education system, and actually that help them to understand the work ethic of Asian culture. The children are hard working, they all concentrate during lessons, hardly any disruptive children in class, and the teacher expects the parent take part in education of the child too. Actually, I do believe in role learning, it helps to gain knowledges, without learning facts how can anyone progress to 'analytical thinking'.
HK school is well known to be competitive, even more so in University level, their 3 universities are ranked within top 50 in the world. Obviously have very high standard. But I believe only the top 10% can make it to these universities, hence many wealthy parents will send their children overseas to other universities in USA, Canada, Australia, and UK. ( Even your own secretary is willing to fund her son to study in UK, that say a lot). And the parents with limited finance, they can only hope with tutoring, their children can make it to these universities.
I don't think I will mock them for paying for tutoring or paying for ballet, piano, violin, swimming etc. Like you, they just want the best for their kids. And they believe with tutoring they may improve their chances. If every parent is doing it, paying for tutoring in one form or the other. What is the chance for a child gaining a place in these HK universities without any tutoring, without any additional activities (piano, ballet, drama, violin, swimming....). I think you already know the answer.
Same in UK, getting straight A* and A will not guarantee a place in top University in some competitive courses.

Kenlee Fri 20-Sep-13 11:12:10

Rabbit stew...The point being all the schools in Hk are quite competitive. The one that she could get into and did get into is not one to be sniffed at either. I did not send her to the school not because it wasnt elite enough but I disagree with how they teach the kids. They were quite upfront saying if your child is failing in any subject they do expect you to remedy it. I.e. tutoring.

I sent my daughter to primary in HK one because she was young. Two to learn Chinese and three she has the basic understanding how to rote learn. This is a technique that ia useful when used in conjunction with analytical thinking.

She is now sent to a UK indie selective to learn analytical thinking. It is important for children to learn this. As it is important to learn how to make interaction with other children.

Bragging rights about my child do not feature as whichever school she attends I could brag to my hearts content. I do not as it is improper to do so.

Actually my secretary could afford to send her son to the UK but did not as she wanted him by her side.
I do think though you are going off topic...

rabbitstew Fri 20-Sep-13 10:51:28

OP, if your only realistic choices were between a pushy super-selective state grammar school, entry for which your child needed intensive tutoring, and a failing comprehensive with dire facilities, low teacher morale, chaotic lessons and appalling behaviour standards, which would you consider the most harmful to your child, then? Isn't it all relative?

Maybe it would have been better to phrase your OP as saying that you are very lucky that you can get your child out of a system of which you disapprove (unlike your secretary) and into a school that no doubt still delivers good results and has outstanding facilities? I can hardly believe that it would really be THAT embarrassing at a cocktail party to say that you have sent your child to an incredibly expensive boarding school in England because you think they'll have more fun there and stand every chance of getting good employment in the international marketplace at the end of it. And, of course, you have cleverly avoided direct comparisons between the school your dd goes to and the hierarchy of HK schools, anyway, because you have sent her into an entirely different education system in another country - much easier to brag about that than defend sending her to an "inferior" Hong Kong school that "isn't academic or competitive enough" in the eyes of your peers.

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