As a parent what can you do to help your child through the 11+?

As this year 6 parents breathe a sigh of relief as the 11+ comes to an end, the year 5 parents take in a sharp intake of breath as they realise what is dawning!

As a parent what can you do to help your child through the 11+?

These are some of the activities that we do at Starr Tutoring. I hope they offer you some inspiration.

Obviously encouraging your child to read is going to support them in all areas of their lives. It will boost their abilities in spellings, grammar and punctuation.


Confidence with the times tables will also help your child through life and help with the fundamentals of maths. I won’t go into the games we play here as I have talked about them previously in many other blogs, the most recently being:



There is a long list of words (100+) that I have downloaded from the net


What I have done is split this list into smaller lists. I have then split these into groups of about 12 words. Each sub set I have then made into pairs games. I have used definitions from the Oxford English dictionary to achieve this. The aim of the game is to create a fun way of expanding the child’s vocabulary. Many of these words are quite obscure and not used often in modern day English.

Children are normally more receptive to doing something more than once when it is fun. This repetition will help reinforce the child’s knowledge of these words.


Spot the difference is a great way to help your child easily spot the difference in patterns and sequences.Sudoku is another brilliant way to help your child spot number patters,
The brilliant thing about these is that they can be purchased for very little money or downloaded for free.
Taking a leap back in time Rubix cubes are also great at helping children solve problems and master the skills needed in non-verbal reasoning.



Rummikub was introduced to me a couple of years ago and along with being a truly addictive game, it is also a great way to practice simple number sequences.
There is a word version which is equally fun and a really a good way of looking at spellings and vocabulary. Bananagrams and scrabble are also great games for playing to assist in these areas.

To support spellings, I often take the list of words we are practising. We then choose one of the words from the list, take the letters needed to spell the words and mix them up. You then pass them to the other person who has to rearrange the letters and work out what the words is.


5 Minute Challenge.


I have also created a selection of 5 Minute Challenges (challenges NOT tests). It is simply a sheet of A4 split into 4 columns and approx.12 rows. In the first column on the left-hand side I will write a category:

Synonyms for xxx
Antonyms for xxx
Places beginning with xxx
Words ending with xxx
Things you would find in xxx

You then have 5 minutes to think of 3 words for each category. The aim here is to get the child used to working in timed conditions. If you both do it together you can compare answers at the end making it more enjoyable.


I hope these ideas get you started and offer some inspiration.

There is also a huge range of books that can be purchased and worksheets that can be downloaded on line.

Good luck and if you have any questions, please do comment below and I will do my best to answer. If you think these ideas would help someone else, please do share the link.

Best wishes

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

Help your child Learn to spell the fun way


For many the weekly spelling list is a slog. Hopefully, some of the suggestions here will make it a more enjoyable experience and remove some of the stress.

Most primary aged children will bring home a spelling list most weeks, and for many families this is; an inconvenience that doesn’t get done, is done quickly in the car on the way to school or when is undertaken at home is an arduous task to say the very least.

Hopefully these five ideas given below will help the task become a more enjoyable experience and take very little time to prepare and at no additional cost to yourself.


  • Hangman

Use the child’s words to play hangman. By doing this, the child is having to think carefully about the letters in each word and the order in which they go. Have the list in front of the person in control of the board so that the child is spelling it correctly, but the other person can’t just immediately guess the word from reading the list.


  • Make a word search

Make a grid each that is roughly 10 squares by 10 squares depending on the length of words the child is learning. Each of place the spellings in the grid; each word has to be in a straight line though it can up or down, forwards or backwards, left or right. You then exchange grids and seek out the other person’s words. This can be done one way, with just you creating a word search for your child to solve.


  • Snakes and ladders

Again make a grid, this time roughly 6 by 5. Write one word on various squares around the grid and roughly 4 snakes and 4 ladders in various places around the board. As with the traditional games you move around the board going up the ladders and down the snakes. This time however, each time you land on the word you need to write it down, spelling it correctly.


  • Noughts and crosses

Again this game is like any other game of noughts and crosses, except in each position on the grid is a number. Each number relates to one of the spellings. As you choose your number, the other person will tell you the word that this number relates to. You then have to try and spell the word correctly.

  • Battleships

I hope I have saved the best until last. You each have two boards with 1-9 across the bottom and a-I up the side. Place the words in the grid, one letter in each square and again, the words must go in a straight line. Then, taking it in turns, choose a co-ordinates to try and find where the other person has placed their words. The first person to find all the other persons words wins.

There are several reasons why it is beneficial to present your child’s spellings as games:

  1. If it is fun, hopefully your child will be more receptive to taking part
  2. Each time you play a different game, you are creating a different memory. The wider range of memories you have the more likely it is that you will be able to recall the relevant information when it is needed.
  3. We all have different learning styles; visual, audio or kinaesthetic or a combination of 2 or more. Again, the more variety of games we play, the more likely you are to cater towards the learning style of that particular child, again helping them to recall the information when required.

This is the philosophy upon which I have built my company Starr Tutoring Ltd. If you are interested in more ideas on creating a relaxed environment when working with your child, why not sign up to my blog or get in touch and I will send you a weekly email offering you techniques that you can use to support your child at home?

I hope you have found these ideas useful, let me know what you think. I’d love to hear about your own experiences as well by leaving your comments in the comments box. Thank you in advance.

If you liked this article, please share it with your friends.

I set Starr Tutoring Ltd up in 2012 and we have gone from strength to strength during that time. My background was predominately working in early years and special needs, in particular dyslexia where a varied, interactive approach to learning is highly regarded. My opinion was, why couldn’t you use the benefits of this style of learning with everyone. If you are relaxed, you are more susceptible to learning and retaining the information, rather than in a tense situation where you are feeling on edge, and often to nervous to remember what you are being told.