Can anyone recommend an 11+ tutor? TIA

looking for an 11 plus tutor tia

Choosing a tutor for your child is a big thing.

There are so many considerations and so many variables.

Imagine you are going on a picnic and you ask a group of friends’ what type of bread they recommend for making the sandwiches.
One friend might respond that white bread is best. That’s the only bread their children will eat.
Another will suggest brown bread, it’s the healthier option.
“Best of Both” might be suggested as a good compromise.
Someone else may say you shouldn’t have bread, it’s too high in carbs!
This is a simple question which is really very trivial, but each friend has given a completely contrasting answer.

Imagine the implications when the question is as important as “Can anyone recommend a tutor?”
That’s why I’ve put together this list of points I think it is worth considering for yourself before making a commitment.

Once you think you have found a suitable tutor, look at their website, speak to them, ask if you are committed to a set number of lessons before you commit.

 

A key question is what do you want the outcome of the 11+ to be?

This sounds ridiculous but it’s something that a lot of parents speak to me about.
Some parents are completely focused on their child getting into a specific grammar school. In their mind there is no other reasonable option.
Other parents have spoken to me about the evils of the grammar school system and the prospect of sending their child to such an “institution” would be like committing child abuse!
Then, there are the parents who want to leave as many options open for their child as is possible. They appreciate that not every child is destined to go to grammar school but they want to give their child every opportunity. As long as their child is happy though, they are happy. (Though I often thing these parents do have a slight preference).

When my oldest daughter went into year 6, we had just moved back down here from Yorkshire, where they didn’t have the Grammar school system. We decided it wasn’t fair to throw her into a formal test within weeks of starting a new school. We were confident that Lord Williams would be a good school and she would be happy there. We were not aware that entering the 11+ was the norm, rather than just be the top few.
A year later, my son came of age to do the 11+. My (ex-) husband and I couldn’t agree on the route to take. His belief was Lord Williams’ had been good enough for him, it would be good enough for his son to. My opinion was doors should be kept open. We agreed that he would sit the 11+ with no tuition and preparation. If he passed on his own merits, we would consider the grammar school. A week before the exam we looked around the Grammar school and loved it. He sat the exam and missed the pass mark by 3 points. We had agreed we wouldn’t appeal and he went to Lord Williams’.
2 years later… My youngest daughter came of age to sit the 11+. We had the same debates with the same outcomes. Literally! With no tuition or preparation, she failed by 3 marks – and went to Lord Williams.

 

Why am I telling you this? Over the years I have kicked myself and asked whether we should have appealed. Should we have entered Clara? She has an amazing eye for detail and would no doubt have breezed the non-verbal reasoning but fallen flat on her face with the spellings. Should we have got them a tutor, spent more time preparing them ourselves? I don’t know.
What I do know is that our former neighbour of ours when we lived in Yorkshire was the head of department in a well-regarded secondary school. His attitude was a dedicated child will do well wherever they go. A child who is not motivated will always struggle.
Now with the benefit of hindsight and many conversations I’m happy with the choices we made. All 3 have done really well (Clara works as a Business Manager at the head quarters of a national company, after his GCSE’s (at Lord Williams’) Jamie excelled at his A’ Levels (At the Floyd Grammar School) took a gap year to Australia before coming back to do Economics at Manchester. (Which in all fairness he really didn’t enjoy. He is now doing Geography and Development at UEA is amazingly happy and has been to many places around the world doing voluntary work).

Angel, matched Jamie’s A’ Level results (but stayed at Lord Williams’ to do them) before taking a paid internship in Parliament and now works as a lobbyist for “Shelter”. She debates on a daily basis, whether or not to go to Uni. As a parent am I proud? Very.

Could they have done better? Not in my eyes because each one of them has been able to do what has made them happy. Would going to a grammar school have made a difference? No, I don’t think so.

Once you know where you stand with the outcome it becomes easier to choose an appropriate tutor.
But you also need to bare in mind, whether your child has the same commitment that you have.

Taking the 11+ is a big commitment.

It will take more than just an hour a week with a tutor. You will both need to dedicate time, energy and money.
I know a lad who was tutored EVERYDAY by his mum for 2 hours (no exception). He passed but he was already labelled as gifted and talented in several subjects, yet that was the dedication needed.
I know another family who I started tutoring when she was in year 2. I thought it was just English, but it quickly became obvious it was for the 11+. She had already had to quit her clubs that she attended and had a huge pile or work books to work through. She attended Kumon and a second tutoring establishment. She and her parents, were dedicated. She failed (though got in on appeal). I genuinely believe she burned out before the actual exam.
Another lad, whose brother I tutored maths, started working with me for an hour a week from Easter of year 5. The parents were very much of the view he was a clever lad and they just wanted to leave options open for him.
They brought him some books and I spent an hour a week with him (often in the garden) between holidays. After the exams were over, the parents offered me the books as they had hardly been opened. He passed with flying colours!

Everyone is different.

How we learn also differs for everyone. This will also affect the tutor we choose.
The tutor we choose will, I suggest be influenced by the following 3 personal factors.

 I believe you need to consider the following points, when deciding which tutor is the best fit for you and your child:

1

Where do you want the lessons to take place?

Online? These will be cheaper but the resources available will be a lot more restricted.
In a tutoring centre or at the tutor’s house? Or in an ideal world would the tutor travel to you?
(I’ve written a much longer handout on this, drop me an email and I will happily forward it on to you: dawnstrachan725@btinternet.com).

2

What is your budget?

If you are hoping to pay little more than £10/hour, you are probably looking at online lessons with a student.

The next step would probably be group lessons in a central location where you have the benefit of the tutor present to support the child as they work through the resources.

The other option, which is probably the most expensive option is to have a tutor come to your house and offer a one to one lesson that are completely focused upon the needs of your child. (We charge from £30/hour for this).

3

How does your child learn?

When I was at school, I loved covering the table with books, making notes and writing! If I proposed this to any of my children, they would think I was insane!
We all learn differently. Some people like to work through text books, some like to play games and do quizzes. For some people a black biro is suitable for everything, for others a range of coloured pens and coloured paper is what’s needed to complete the task.
You need to ensure the tutor you choose, uses a teaching style that supports your child’s learning. I believe that a range of resources work best (again I have written about my opinion on this, many times in the past so I will not go into it in great depth now, but if you do have questions, please do ask).
I’m guessing this has thrown up a million more questions and you are now even more confused. But I hope it has given you food for thought. If you do have any questions, please do get in touch and I will do my best to answer them.

Good luck in making your choice!

Supporting your child with maths for the 11+

As the summer holidays begin the 11+ will be forefront of many people’s minds.

How can they support their child and help them to pass the 11+?

You will know that the 11+ is broken in verbal and non-verbal reasoning, English and maths.

Supporting your child with maths for the 11+ blog banner

 

The benefit of additional support in maths is that regardless of which school the child goes to in year 7, this additional support will stand your child in good stead.

There are many worksheets that can be downloaded for free or text books that you can buy to support your child. These are great as they will prepare your child for the type of question and content they will encounter in the exam.

However, you may decide (and I would encourage you to consider) alternative revision techniques than just worksheets and text books. If you want to read more on the benefits of using varied learning styles you can download a section of the e-book I have written in supporting children with their times tables.

Download the chapter of the e-book here

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Teachit maths is a fantastic website for presenting mathematical resources in alternative formats it traditional worksheets.

They use codes to break (also very valuable in the 11+), dominoes, etc. Many of the resources can be accessed on the free plan. All that is necessary is submitting your name and email address to register. (I’m not an affiliate, it’s just a website I’ve found that has some amazing resources and is well worth checking out).

Here are 3 of my favourite alternative games for supporting your child’s maths and helping them to pass the 11+

noughts and crosses

Noughts and crosses can be adapted in so many ways.

This game is so quick and easy to create.

Draw 2 lines vertically. Then draw another 2 lines crossing them horizontally.

In each square (where I have drawn a number in the illustration) write an example question. Before you can claim your square and head towards your row/ column of 3 you need to answer the question.

This is a very brief description but I hope it makes sense.

I will go into more ways of how to adapt it in future blogs.

Rummikub

I love this game. It is fantastic for encouraging your child to look for patterns and sequences.

Even beyond the 11+ I am confident you will receive hours of fun from it.

For the benefit of the 11+ I normally allow pairs and odd numbers to form a sequence as well as just as straight run of numbers.

Pairs

This is another fairly simple game to produce. Create a grid on a piece of paper which is approximately 6 squares by 4. (Leaving you with 24 squares).

On 12 of these squares write a maths problem/ question.

On the other 12 squares write the corresponding answers.

Now place all 12 squares face down on the table between you.

Take it in turns to turn over 2 squares. If you pick up a question and corresponding answer you win the pair and get another go.

If they don’t match place them back down and the other person gets a go.

The person with the most pairs at the end is the winner.

Regardless of how you choose to support your child with their maths for the 11+ I highly recommend that you ensure your child is confident with their times tables.

A thorough knowledge of the times tables is like providing a strong foundation when building a house.

It’s obligatory to progress on to higher more difficult levels.

I have recently put together the 11+ million times tables challenge.

I explain it in more detail in the following page if you are interested:

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The 1 Million Times Tables Challenge

Any trouble downloading the extract or if you are looking for a tutor this summer to help your child stand a better chance with the 11+, please do get in touch.

Speak soon

Do I need to get my child an 11+ tutor?

Should you get your child an 11+ tutor?

Should I get my child a tutor for the 11+_yes or no_ Facebook

Quite possibly not!

I quite appreciate there will be many people who disagree with my opinion. This is how I will justify my answer.

Only get a tutor for your child if they actually want to pass and it’s not just the dream of the parents.

There are many children who are quite indifferent about the secondary school they attend, for them staying with their friends is what is of importance to them.
The 11+ is designed to be difficult. It is designed to separate the children who can keep up with the pace set by grammar schools.
Passing the exam takes a lot of work and if the child’s heart isn’t in it, is it fair to put them under that pressure.

I know life isn’t fair.

When you tutor a child and they are not enthusiastic and wanting to put in the effort, you realise very quickly that they may not have the dedication it is going to take to put in what it is going to take.

Although you may have a tutor for a couple of hours a week on the lead up to the actual exam, it will still be necessary to put in a fair amount of time with your child yourself.

There are many activities as a parent you can do to support your child:

  • There is a wide range of books you can purchase with sample exam questions.
  • Worksheets to familiarise your child with the type of questions they could encounter.
  • Playing games such as:” Sets” or Rummikub number will give your child practice in spotting sequences and problem solving.
  • Playing anagram games with scrabble letters is great for practising the verbal reasoning tasks.
  • Read together and talk about what you have read.
  • Play games where you are against the clock so that you get used to pressure that this adds.

Too much pressure put on the child’s shoulders by the parents is often detrimental. It is often those children who have motivated themselves which do better.
Keep some of the resources you use a bit lighter hearted so that it helps relieve some of this pressure.
There is a long list of words that children are expected to have a sound knowledge of their meaning. Make them into pairs games, matching the term with its definition.

The 11+ is a huge commitment for both the child and the parents.

Whether you decide to get a tutor or not, I wish you and your child the best of luck with the 11+.
If you do decide you want to get an 11+ tutor, have a chat to us about 11+ tutoring.


We can obviously not guarantee a pass, but no tutor can. We will do our best to put your child in a better position to pass and boost their skills along their way.

Have a great summer and speak soon