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Questions to ask potential 11+ tutor

(19 Posts)

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Gentlysnoring Thu 27-Apr-17 14:02:48

We live in a county with a full grammar system where all children take the 11+ at school unless you specifically opt out. The results decide what schools you can apply for (i.e. grammar / non grammar). The primary schools aren't allowed to teach the 11+, advise on it, or do any practice for the papers.

I'm therefore going down the tutoring route so my DS has an idea on what to expect and some experience in the type of questions, subject matter etc.

When choosing a tutor, can anyone give me any pointers about what questions I should ask? So far I am thinking: do they do an honest assessment, do they do practise papers, what subject matter do they cover, how much homework, pass rates, can they supply references, how do they keep the child engaged?

Am I missing anything? Ideally I'd get a personal recommendation but this hasn't been possible.


sassymuffin Fri 28-Apr-17 14:20:11

All are really good questions to ask.

I also asked:

What what are the tutors qualifications?
How will my child's progress be monitored?
What if my child does not progress?
Cancellation /Sickness / Holiday policy regarding fees?

Are you planning on having a tutor come to you or are you planning on taking your child to the tutor and is it an individual or company that will supply the tutoring?

DS's tutor focused on not just the 11+ but increasing vocabulary, and improving spelling and maths skills which were of enormous benefit in his general schoolwork.

Gentlysnoring Fri 28-Apr-17 22:44:39

Thanks Sassy, really good points about progress - and I hadn't thought about holiday etc policy at all.

The set-up is that we go to the tutor who has a very small group of children (max 6) and a helper so two adults to six kids.

Good to hear that it was of general benefit to your DS and not just of relevance to a couple of hours in a year's time!

user1494609566 Fri 12-May-17 19:29:56

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

LornaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 08-Jun-17 17:06:19

Hi OP,

We're just sweeping this thread into tutoring, please do get in touch if this is a problem.


RaphUKStudyCentre Wed 14-Jun-17 09:14:46

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

CookingDinner Wed 28-Jun-17 14:36:46

Hi, I am an 11+ Tutor. Your questions are good so far. Definitely ask about what happens if lessons have to be cancelled by either party. Some Tutors like you to pay fees upfront straight into their account. Some charge you for lessons you cancel last minute.

Personally, I make it clear at the outset that I may cancel/ move an odd session due to childcare issues (happens rarely). However, I always offer an alternative evening in the week. Therefore, it's OK if a parent cancels a session with me also. This flexibility often suits, but you may prefer a more rigid approach.

I'm not sure which year your child is in at school, but I like to begin the Tutoring in Year 4. I would spend the rest of Year 4 identifying and filling in gaps in their learning (Maths and English), then in Year 5 I would start the more formal 11+ learning (higher level questions, practice papers and non-verbal/verbal reasoning).
Ask a Tutor whether they would provide sessions in the holidays (particularly if they are beginning tuition in Year 5) - I would always recommend carrying on with tuition through the holidays because there is so much content to cover.

Choose a qualified Teacher with teaching experience, and/or with lots of Tutoring experience.

Some Tutors will test a pupil to see if they want to take them on. They will only take on pupils who they feel are likely to pass the test, so they can say they have a 100% pass rate. This does not mean that they are better Tutors! It means their job is easier! If it was me, I'd pick a Tutor who provides 11+ tuition but also offers maths/English sessions for children who are falling behind - because they know how to raise achievement levels.

OrgyofSausages Thu 29-Jun-17 09:15:53

That website is dreadful Raph - all that crap about 'threatening you with a 17th century cutlass'. It tries far too hard. It's pretentious and badly written.

The really good tutors don't need websites because all their work is via word of mouth.

RaphUKStudyCentre Thu 29-Jun-17 12:13:45

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ThinkFastNotSlow Thu 29-Jun-17 12:21:45

I would also ask who marks the homework that is set - the tutor we used told us to mark it during the week, so that her hour with our DC was fully spent engaged with DC (obviously she went over the completed paper and tackled mistakes / problems in the session, rather than doing the actual marking).

Also we failed to ask, but were told later on, the tutor what their success rate in helping kids get into grammar schools was. Whether a handful each year or every child they ever tutor?

ParadiseCity Thu 29-Jun-17 12:21:48

Ask if they sack children. My friends child was sacked by a tutor so they could keep their 100% record and this is not unusual round here!

Ask if parents stay or get involved in any way. Other friend had door shut in face and wailing nervous child whisked inside.

The tutor my children have been to has a much kinder approach, less focus on 'passing' and more on raising confidence, life long skills etc. We have 10 minute chat at end of each session with parent child and tutor.

Good luck.

OrgyofSausages Thu 29-Jun-17 13:41:25

"choosing someone that will be interesting.."

Because they 'stood on the desk' ? really?

Anyway I have reported your post as you are using this thread as an advertising opportunity without paying. Like I said, you can't be that good or you wouldn't need to. wink

CountryCaterpillar Thu 29-Jun-17 13:47:40

Wow starting in year 4 sad My daughter's about to go into year 4 and I'd like her to sit the grammar test but 2 years of tutoring seems so much!!

OrgyofSausages Thu 29-Jun-17 14:09:44

It is too much CountryCatterpillar!

CountryCaterpillar Thu 29-Jun-17 14:17:01

Well yes, I'm not going to do that! what if after 2 years of tutoring she fails, that would feel awful.

I used to teach at a grammar school (and briefly wondered about tutoring but disagree with the effects of it too much!) and wouldn't really recommend that someone that needs 2 years of tutoring apply....

But it's frustrating that that leaves kids like mine who will probably just have some familiarity with the paper type sessions at a disadvantage. It's a vicious cycle sad

OrgyofSausages Thu 29-Jun-17 15:16:29

If you used to teach at a grammar, could you not tutor her yourself? Far cheaper and you can manage it yourself. There are so many materials around these days you can DIY quite easily IMO.

CookingDinner Thu 06-Jul-17 16:08:31

I say start in Year 4, because the 11+ exams take place at the beginning of Year 6 and often children who come to me in Year 5 (unless high achievers), are sometimes not in a strong enough position to tackle the kind of questions they will need to answer, or progress to that level within one year. By then, if they have not had good habits - lots of varied reading, working on spellings and good vocab, etc, it's almost too late to put that right in time for the 11+.

If family is really keen to get their child into 11+, but their child is not at the right level (and one year is not enough to raise their achievement high or fast enough!), I will offer them separate maths and/or English sessions (not 11+) until the beginning of Year 5 to fill gaps in their learning before we start. I will be honest about them about how they are progressing and the likelihood that they will get to the level they need to be by end of Year 4.

Some children surprise you and excel quickly, others make slower progress. It's only fair to be honest. If I tell parents that they are not progressing as I would have liked, sometimes they still want to continue the tutoring, because they think it's beneficial. It's improtant that the child understand that it does not matter if they don't get accepted in a school - the tutoring will ensure they are in a really strong position, no matter which school they attend. (BTW I do have 100% success rate - SO FAR! It may change!)

CookingDinner Thu 06-Jul-17 16:11:16

Wrote that quite fast! Sorry about the errors.

CookingDinner Thu 06-Jul-17 16:14:14

Obviously if they are really bright and it looks like they will be Level 5 when they leave school, then starting tutroing in Year 5 is fine .

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