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Is tutoring for 3+ 4+ 5+ 7+ now the norm?

51 replies

mumteacher · 20/01/2013 08:47

In my previous support thread there is alot of discuss about this and also if tutoring is now required once the child has gained a place so that they can keep the place.

What are your thoughts and rcperirnces?

lesmisfan horsemadmum knock yourselves out! Wink

OP posts:
SelinaN6 · 04/08/2013 07:24

Dear mum teacher,

I have found ure posts very helpful! Thank u so much. I have a little girl who will be going the 4 plus this January 2014. From ure posts not sure if u r saying that they don't need preparation of if I should be doing something to help her! ? ( We read , do puzzles and drawing together) We r really keen on NLCS. My little girl is quite bright but can take time to warm to new adults ( she is fine with kids!)

Any advice? Also is it easier to get in at 4 plus or 7 plus? For 7 plus when do u think we should start with tuition ( maybe a year in advance?) and for good tutors when do we have to sign up?


PhoenixUprising · 04/08/2013 07:28

Selina - mumteacher is a tutor for these exams. So it's a good bet she believes in tutoring.

SelinaN6 · 04/08/2013 08:17

I don't have a problem with that to be quite honest. Seems like she is a pretty super tutor so asking for her advice!

Elibean · 04/08/2013 11:29

Not around here! (Leafy SW London borough)

At least, not amongst the littlies at my dds' school. School is considered perfectly adequate, and any parents that worry about forthcoming 4+ or even 7+ indie applications just get a few workbooks and do stuff at home.

KS2 is a different matter. I'd say about 20% of dd1's Y4 class have had, or will have, some tutoring before Y6.

Elibean · 04/08/2013 11:30

Plus, I should add, the local indies are not keen on tutored kids applying, afaik.

mumteacher · 04/08/2013 14:33

Yes I am a tutor. However like I have said in previous threads/posts tutoring for me means a parent/nanny structuring playing it doesn't have to be a 'paid' adult in the form of a tutor. As long as the child covers the activities required to do well in the school assessments.

Elibean- alot of school in Nw say they don't recommend children to be tutored and that they know the children that are tutored however it doesn't stop them from taking these children on.

Selina thanks for your pm I have replied.

OP posts:
Elibean · 04/08/2013 15:07

No, I'm sure it doesn't. Maybe SW London is different....but either way, parents here don't seem to want tutoring for very young children. Perhaps because the primary schools are very good Smile

ThisOneAndThatOne · 04/08/2013 15:20

I struggle to understand how a paid adult can make much of an impact in an hour a week.

We were told (and no offence to mum teacher) that spending money on a tutor for a 4 year old was pouring money down the drain. And having gone through the process with DS1 and DS2 at Habs, Arnold House and the Hall, I really don't see how paying for a tutor would have made any difference.

There were a few activities, particularly at the Habs 5+ assessment that I just don't see how you could prep your DC. They would either have been developmentally ready or not.

I suspect that most of the tutored DC would have got in anyway.

I don't have any experience of the 7+. But I can see that a tutor may be more beneficial for this age group because past papers are published and there is an academic baseline to be crossed.

For the 4+ and 5+, the lack of transparency of the actual assessment breeds a certain degree of hysteria and paranoia. This stems primarily from the mistaken belief that there are people out there that know more about the content of the assessment than they really do. And that they have the magic answer to help your DC get in.

ThisOneAndThatOne · 04/08/2013 16:08

Just to explain further my comment on what can a paid adult achieve in an hour ......

One of the more common 4+ and 5+ assessment tests out there seems to be cutting out a circle.

DC cutting skills develop over time and practice. At pre-school / pre-prep and at home. Cutting all sorts of things in all sorts of contexts.

This is a gradual skill you pick up with practice and some DC perfect it earlier than others.

I guess I don't see how an hour a week (or whatever time period tutors offer) can help develop these skills fast enough to justify the cost and the time and inconvenience in getting the DC to and from the tutor.

Dreamingofcakeallnight · 04/08/2013 18:41

Elibean - how do you know they aren't tutoring? Pretty certain most parents wouldn't openly admit to it. I know for sure it does go on both sides of the river. Private oversubscribed schools which assess will open up a market and create a demand for tutors who know how to play the system and target the things that the child will be asked to do. Money well spent? That's a personal decision, but I assure you SW London is not exempt.

PhoenixUprising · 04/08/2013 20:31

Don't they ask for your development milestones? Eg how old you walked, in problems at birth? Stuff like that.

I know one school does, and that certainly can't be tutored for (though I guess there's no way they check the truth of what you say)

ThisOneAndThatOne · 05/08/2013 18:23

I have never been asked for development milestones for any of the selective North London boys schools.

I don't see what relevance they would be. They are interested in current performance and future potential.

The Habs head stated that if you fail to get in at 5+ then you are welcome to try again at 7+. No records are kept of the 5+ as just because a child was not ready at 5, it does not mean they will never be ready.

Elibean · 05/08/2013 18:31

dreaming, I don't know about all of SW London! Only our school, and the other two local primaries. But I do know most of the KS1 parents at our school, and those who could afford tutors have discussed it with me. And I have friends at the other two schools, and they feel the same.

That said, I did hear from a friend with dc at a Richmond school that half her ds's class was being tutored - but that was for the 11+, not younger.

In my daughter's Y4 class, there is one child being tutored for private school entrance - as he is by far the youngest, and needs help in one area - and one who had confidence issues with maths, and is tutored for that. But will be going to state school, so no test issues at all. My own dd had a term's tutoring at the start of last year as she was bursting into tears over maths homework, but now she's full of confidence - no longer. She will, however, probably have a year's tutoring for 11+ so she can get her head around stuff her primary wouldn't prepare her for.

There is one child being tutored in KS1, and that is because he is the only child in the school applying to go to one of the top local preps - several others are applying to Latymer at 7+, and they are not being tutored. Nor were their older siblings (who got in).

And loads of dd2's friends from state school nursery went off to PHS and various preps. No tutoring for 4+, though (aptly, by the sound of other posts!) lots of practising cutting out with scissors Smile

ThisOneAndThatOne · 05/08/2013 21:22

The cutting with scissors assessment seems to have been around for ever.

My aunt tells the story that when my cousin was doing her assessment for Francis Holland around 15 years ago she refused to do the cutting test saying "my daddy doesn't let me play with scissors" Smile

Elibean · 06/08/2013 14:21

Grin clever child. I would have given her a place on the spot.

MummytoMog · 06/08/2013 14:42

Oh god, I don't let DD play with scissors either? Should I be teaching her to cut out?

[it is ridiculous for me to worry about this as DD is developmentally delayed and certainly wouldn't pass any 4+ assessment]

muminlondon · 07/08/2013 23:09

Elibean I think you are right. In my DC's primary the only parents I'd heard of who found tutors before age 9 wanted extra help to keep up with general level of the class. Those who used tutors to pass 11+ or other entrance exams are quite open about it (their children talk about it to each other so you get to find out anyway) but it's more about coaching on exam papers for two or three terms in small groups than one-to-one. If you aren't aiming for that sort of school there's no pressure otherwise.

In London pupils are generally ahead of other regions of the country (both in the leafier SW and inner London suburbs), and schools often provide a wealth of trips, clubs and other enrichment activities. No need to tutor apart from specific catch-up.

Pyrrah · 08/08/2013 12:42

One of the most competitive super-selectives in London told me that they didn't object to parents tutoring children who were at state primaries as most wouldn't have covered the all syllabus required for the 7+ and 11+ exams. But they didn't want them over-tutored and especially they didn't want interview questions rehearsed to the nth degree.

We plan to have DD tutored for the 11+ (she is not the kind of child who would be amenable to being tutored by parents, so although we are perfectly capable I imagine we will be delegating it in the interests of sanity).

I would be very unimpressed if I had to continue to tutor DD after that. I suppose if she was struggling with some aspect of maths in the run up to GCSE then a couple of sessions would be an idea, but I rather think that is the school's job to spot that and sort it.

I was at a private prep and had been to 4 different schools by the age of 8... I had therefore covered some maths topics 4 times and some not at all. The maths teacher had me come in every morning for 3 weeks in the first summer holiday for extra tuition to fill in the gaps and get me up to speed.

If a child needs continual tutoring to keep up with the class, then I would suggest that they are at the wrong school and might well be happier elsewhere.

Elibean · 08/08/2013 19:56

I think tutoring for 11+ from state primaries is fairly normal, certainly around here. As MuminLondon says, in order to cover areas the state primaries don't cover.

Totally agree that there's something wrong somewhere if tutoring has to carry on indefinitely!

ouryve · 08/08/2013 20:03

Maybe in certain circles it's normal. Those circles are very small, though. Personally, I think that putting so much pressure on children that age is inappropriate. I don't move in those circles, though.

Effjay · 08/08/2013 20:41

God, I never even knew there was a 4+ or 7+ exam! So not the norm where I live ...

SanityClause · 08/08/2013 20:47

All my DC go/went to selective primary schools, my DDs at 4+ and DS at 7+.

Of course we didn't tutor them! We put no pressure on them at all.

We didn't even tell the DDs that it was a test, although for DS, at the age of 6, he was obviously aware that it was a test.

mumteacher · 11/08/2013 01:52

Ummm ok so 1 hour a week isn't enough time teaching a child to cut. It definitely is enough time to introduce the activity. Enough time for a child to learn to take on instructions, learn to concentrate, enough time to correct any mistaught methods if carrying out particular activities.

These assessment don't drastically change each year. There are a few changes of course, but like it has been said here some activities have been around for years.
Yet here we are just on this thread alone a parent who didn't know that a child going to fit sit 4+ will be tested on this (irrelevant of the special circumstances of this child)

A parent will have feedback from one child as to what was asked in the assessments. A good tutor will get feedback from all her/ his students. Multiply that by the number of years the tutor has been teaching and it adds up to a lot more insight.

It is not a 'mistaken belief' on my part as a tutor that I know more about the assessment process and the activities that are going to come up. I do know.

A parent uses info from child1's assessment to prepare child2. I have approx 30 odd children sitting these assessments each year. That is where I guess I have the 'magic answer' x

OP posts:
babasheep · 11/08/2013 19:59

I haven't read all the replies. However I think some of the reasons why some parents pay tutors to support their dcs because they found it too stressful, haven't got time or have some personality or relationship issues. Private tuitions can provide a structure and place away from home regularly and everyday distractions so a dc can focus better. If you are able to support your own dcs well at home you are very lucky. Don't forget parents need support too. If you can afford and think it is the right choice to help to take some stress off yourself and your dc then why not. I am not here to promote private tuitions but parents shouldn't be criticised based on choice to support their dcs. Most parents want to do their best for their dcs in their circumstances.

mumteacher · 13/10/2013 23:25
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