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Another Grammar tutor thread

(15 Posts)
recyclingbag Sun 28-Jun-15 22:28:16

DS is just finishing year 4.

I'm in a dilemma about an 11+ tutor.

In principle, I'm opposed to them, would rather everyone got there on merit etc. However I keep being panicked by the number of children who already have one.

I don't want him to be tutored and get a place, only to struggle. However at the same time I don't want him to lose out on a place to one of those children because we didn't give him the help he needed.

I found a tutor who seems really nice and I think DS will like but I'm still not sure when to start, if at all.

My worry is if I leave it til Christmas or Easter they will all be booked up. On the flip side, if he starts in September we might be pushing him too hard or making it into a bigger deal than it should be.

I find it impossible to have a sensible conversation with anyone about it.

We live in grammar county with secondary moderns. We're in the catchment for outstanding secondary modern which I'd be happy with but this year we wouldn't have met the qualifying distance.

DontCallMeBaby Sun 28-Jun-15 23:05:32

I felt pretty much like that about tutors. We were going to wing it, have DD do a few bond papers, try to teach her a bit about exam technique, see what happened. Then in October of year 5 we got DD's CATS results, realised she was in with more of a chance than we'd realised, and perhaps we should take it a bit more seriously. I think we got the last slot the tutor had left, but didn't start until January.

I do think starting in year 4 is excessive, and leaving it until January is fine, if you can ensure you have a slot with the tutor.

It was really worthwhile - DD got the result I thought she probably would, even without a tutor, but she actually enjoyed the process, thrived on the one-to-one attention, and I'm pretty sure it turned her attitude to maths around.

holeinmyheart Sun 28-Jun-15 23:10:13

I think you need past papers to familiarise your DS with the format. The school should be able to give you a couple.
You should also be able to get some from Smiths. I got them from all the fee paying schools in the vicinity as well.
All my DC 's went to State Grammar schools and they didn't have a tutor. They did the past papers though, because they are time trials.

They have to know their times tables backwards up to twelve.
If you go on it tells you the work a year 5 and 6 could be doing. They should be able to do almost year 7 Maths.

Entry to Grammar school also depends on the Head's report. You aught to ask them for their opinion. Although their opinion is not infallible.

It is possible but unlikely that they would get through the 11+ exam and then struggle. A coached child will still come up against an unexpected question and will have to use intelligent reasoning.

The Grammar school will not give any support if they can't keep up, you would just have to remove them.

mandy214 Sun 28-Jun-15 23:17:50

Have to disagree - grammars have changed their exams locally to make them more "tutor proof" because they were getting children who had been coached intensely and then couldn't keep up particularly in English which wasn't weighted as heavily as the maths / non verbal reasoning side.

Most children who have a chance of passing here are tutored, usually from the October or November of Year 5.

karbonfootprint Mon 29-Jun-15 03:53:27

You don't need a tutor, you can do it your self. There are thousands of papers online.

mugglingalong Mon 29-Jun-15 05:43:34

Shhhhh! <we had a tutor> or rather have a tutor. Dd in yr5. Our reasons were- 'everyone else has one' , well not quite but about 15/18 sitting the 11+ in her class. Even those who are very very able. Some had had one for a number of years. We felt that on the balance of probability we would be making the playing field more level for dd rather than giving her a huge advantage. Some of the other dc sitting the test will have been in private education since they were 3 so a brief stint of tutoring would just redress some of that advantage.

Secondly the other secondaries that she is interested in stream at least at the top rather than set. Her class in that school will be determined by a test at entry to the school anyway. Some tutoring now will hopefully mean that whichever school she goes to she will be more confident going in to the school.

I sat the 11+ with no prep a long time ago and passed. I remember it as being the weirdest exam ever and I wished that I had known that before going into it as it did throw me at first.

Dd really wanted to have a tutor. She wasn't so keen on just doing past papers with us. She has loved going to a tutor, even on special days she has still wanted to go, and it is great as a parent to get detailed feedback on what she needs to work on.

It has given her confidence, we knew that she was able but she lacked confidence, now she believes in herself too.

It doesn't work for everyone. Some dc have got really fed up doing extra work outside of school - but then that is useful information to weigh up when deciding on schools. Maybe a school with less of an academic emphasis will be better for them.

The other thing to weigh up is the cost and consider any siblings. We feel that we need to at least offer tutoring to the other dc so that they don't resent it when they are older.

CamelHump Mon 29-Jun-15 05:53:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

recyclingbag Mon 29-Jun-15 07:38:49

Thanks, that's useful.

I shall ask if I can book a space for January.

Can I just ask how you made the decision which tutor? Did you meet a couple or did you purely go on recommendations?

holeinmyheart Mon 29-Jun-15 08:38:21

There are loads of 11+ sample papers on the internet, all free, maths, English and verbal reasoning.

Ladymuck Mon 29-Jun-15 08:39:23

Agree with muggingalong. Year 5 is a useful time to consolidate/top up learning and ensure that they are in a secure place for whatever secondary school they attend. Decent vocab and secure maths skills will definitely help them in year 7 and beyond.

In terms of choosing a tutor, I think that style is important, and it may be worth meeting 2 or 3 if you have the option in order to see who clicks with you and your child. But as others have said, you can do a lot at home for just the cost of the materials, especially where it is a full grammar county (so you're aiming to be in the top 25% or so, rather than the top 5% in superselective areas).

recyclingbag Mon 29-Jun-15 13:49:07

I've just had a look at a past paper. I'm not sure he would know how to tackle some of the questions but I think he would do OK with a bit of practice.

I think it's 10 to 15% for grammar school places so not super selective but still quite tight.

mgm1966 Mon 29-Jun-15 17:57:40

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

LilyTucker Mon 29-Jun-15 18:51:43

All the top set G&T kids who got in had tutors round here. They were competing against privately educated kids and hadn't covered half the curriculum so it was a no brainer.

Primary heads view has nothing to do with it except in an appeal I think.Look at the admissions criteria on the school websites to be sure. Certainly didn't in our case.

Frankly imvho any kid who passes CEM deserves it regardless of the road they travelled.

MayPolist Mon 29-Jun-15 21:02:57

We live in an 11+ area with VR and NVR 11+ exams.You absolutely don't need a tutor.We just bought the GL assessment 11+ practice papers so they could have a few trial runs.. eldest three children passsed comfortably, youngest to sit this autumn.I really wouldn't buy into the 11+ panic.
They just need practice.

recyclingbag Tue 30-Jun-15 18:01:37

We're in a CEM area which I thought would be better but from what I've heard, it actually favours tutored children as speed and accuracy are more important.

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