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 Post subject: Over tutored pupils
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:10 am
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I recall a while back reading something on here regarding the tutoring that goes on at CHB. I sort of dismissed it as it is by reputation one of the top schools, even given the smaller intake than KEFW for example probably gives a misleading impression of the overall abilities of pupils from the entry score

I recently had a conversation with a sikh colleague about schools and he mentioned that many in the Asian community are now realising the implications of over-tutoring for gs, either continue private tuition outside school (see comment above) or don't follow the gs route at all. His comment was that there are many asian children in gs - he mentioned CHB specifically - where the children are not really up to it without the continuous extra tuition and that there was a sea change developing in the asian community whereby he expected many less asian children to be tutored and thus entering gs. I would welcome comments.


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 Post subject: Re: Over tutored pupils
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:22 pm 
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I would agree with your comment about tutoring for 11+ exams and the fact that it is very common in the Asian community. I am a Sikh myself and my son is waiting for his results on Monday.

We didn't take the tutoring route ourself as we always felt it was down to a child's natural ability whether they could gain a high enough score. On the other hand my son has a boy in his year at school who is also a Sikh and he had a tutor every Saturday until he had sat the 11+ exam. This boy gained a higher score than my son even though academically at school he isn't as bright as my son. This goes to show that it isn't always the naturally bright children that get places.

I do think it is unfair on a child to tutor them for an exam and then see them struggle for the next 7 years. I don't know what others think of this


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 Post subject: Re: Over tutored pupils
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:24 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 12:06 pm
Posts: 2093
Location: Birmingham
The Asian community is not a homogenous one and cannot be easily lumped together, really. And as the majority of primary school pupils in Birmingham are non-white, you are pretty much talking about the majority of parents...

Parents are individuals and presumably make pretty individual choices about school entry.

From the boys I know at CHB and my sons and their friends, they all seem able children, of different temperaments (the school is not full of clones) and nobody is struggling terribly or needing lots of extra tuition.
The school does provide extra support for boys when needed but I am aware that some external tuition does take place, particularly for the sciences, which is the only subject area that I as a parent have found issues with, but no mass tuition is taking place - or any more than would go on in most secondary schools serving a relatively well-off pupil body.

I took a pretty sink-or-swim attitude when my children started KECH.
I had certainly helped them through the primary phase and the 11 Plus prep but as far as I was concerned, they had a good school and they should make the most of it themselves. I told them when they started to make the most of their place as there were plenty of children in the city that would have wanted that place too. An old friend in Manchester told me, when I was working through the 11 Plus with ds1, that this exam was the last one we as parents could ever help with. And I think she was right.
I have a large family and smaller children to focus on and support, which justifies my 'neglect'. Ensuring there is a constant supply of food, that they shower, and that most of the time they have clean games kit, is quite enough to be getting on with.
I do know GS parents who know all their child's classwork and homework, or who cannot rest in the evening until their child's homework has been done and checked by them. I don't know how common this is. Some even vicariously live their child's academic life. Do most GS parents do this? Surely not? I am going to be brutally honest - I could not name all my children's teachers and don't really have a clue what they are doing in the various subjects and certainly have no idea about their homework. I never ask ds1 about his because he appears to always do it. I occasionally ask ds2 about his because from the irate comments in his diary, it appears he doesn't always do it. That said, he has matured and stepped up recently so sometimes time is the answer to a child's intransigence. I only ask dd about her homework if she's not too hormonal that day :roll: . I went to her parents' evening expecting to be told that she was doing awfully and never handed in homework, and was in fact told the opposite, which was quite a surprise. I would honestly recommend to any parents worried about their (secondary age) child's work that ignoring it for a few months may be the best thing they can do.


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 Post subject: Re: Over tutored pupils
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:25 am 
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Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 4:02 pm
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What an excellent post, um, and what a great parent you sound!

Now I am not Asian, and I don't live in Birmingham, so please forgive me if you think I am butting in. I do have relatives in The Midlands whose children have been through grammar school, and I have experience of grammars in Surrey, and I have plenty of Asian friends and acquaintances as well as friends of other European and non-European nationalities, all bringing with us different cultural "baggage".

I have some Asian friends who were very worried after open evenings at grammars in their area that there were too many of a certain type of "Tiger" parents pushing their children too hard, and in the end their child chose as their first choice school a grammar that they felt would be the most culturally mixed because of this.

From my experience I do think that your statement below is sadly very true of a significant number of parents.

"I do know GS parents who know all their child's classwork and homework, or who cannot rest in the evening until their child's homework has been done and checked by them. I don't know how common this is. Some even vicariously live their child's academic life."

I don't think it's possible to categorise who these parents are and I don't think it's limited to the Asian community - I know some very Tiger-ish white European parents too! - but they are noticeable and I personally think they are doing their children a disservice.

I just think this tutoring business has become ridiculous, and some parents don't seem to be able to stop themselves interfering once their child has started secondary school. I think we all need to think hard firstly if selective school is the right place for our child, and if it is, by all means give them support in preparing for the entrance exam - it's so competitive. But once they have their school place let the school get on with teaching and let our children get on with the process of learning, and learning to learn, themselves, without our interference (unless there is a real problem, such as bullying, that they find they can't deal with). They will be adults all too soon and we need to let them grow and develop their own personalities and work ethics to prepare them for adulthood.

Just my opinion... Px


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 Post subject: Re: Over tutored pupils
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:55 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:14 am
Posts: 329
DS1 is at KEFW (Y8) and was fairly lightly DIY-tutored by me and went to a (good) state primary so no prep there. He has friends who were fairly heavily prepped and/or went to a private school who did much better than him in the 11-plus but who struggle to keep up in some subjects at GS, especially maths. I feel quite confident that he showed his natural ability in the 11-plus and is therefore coping well at KEFW. DS2 is less academic (but has much more common sense!) than DS1 and he scored 13 points less than DS1 in the 11 plus so from my n=2 experiment I think the 11 plus mark can be a good guide to ability but it is open to corruption by heavy prep.

Personally I took the view that if they can't get into GS largely under their own steam then GS isn't the right place for them to be. I work in HE and see many students who have been frogmarched through their school education and arrive at Uni either unable to cope without parental support of their learning or they go wild when released from the shackles!


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 Post subject: Re: Over tutored pupils
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:26 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:04 pm
Posts: 376
muminbrum wrote:
Personally I took the view that if they can't get into GS largely under their own steam then GS isn't the right place for them to be. I work in HE and see many students who have been frogmarched through their school education and arrive at Uni either unable to cope without parental support of their learning or they go wild when released from the shackles!


I absolutely couldn't agree more, not just the academic side of life the social side too, there are some parents who interfere so much in their children's social life that these children never develop the necessary skills to make friends because their parents have always done it for them. I find it very sad, we as parents want the best for our children but some times we need to step back and take a good look at what we are doing my DD was tutored and passed 11 plus comfortably, but she is on her own now! and is coping well at grammar school, has made a lovely group of friends and the work is going well.


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 Post subject: Re: Over tutored pupils
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:13 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:59 pm
Posts: 659
I'm another parent who chooses not to get involved in my children's secondary school homework unless expressly asked, (and even then they're told to figure it out themselves or research the answer/email classmates/email teacher). I refuse to give in to this culture of dependancy, where children are constantly supported in all things and aren't allowed/given the opportunity to resolve issues themselves. After all it's part of growing up.

From speaking to DD, who is at CHG, the key is how much support the child is given at 11+ as well as the score they get. The ones who were heavily supported will struggle if this level of support stops (even if they weren't borderline), and the borderline ones were working (or seem to be working) a lot more than those who got in with comfortable scores. Whether they can sustain this level of work is a different matter altogether. DD did say that some of the girls who scraped in were far more appreciative of their place in the school and this appreciation was self motivating and made them want to succeed for themselves rather than because they were being pushed further.


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 Post subject: Re: Over tutored pupils
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:28 pm
Posts: 194
Um you have definitely hit the nail on the head, as a mother of 3 there is no way possible for me to be checking what DS1 is doing at school or what he is doing for homework.

When he first started at KES i did mollycoddle him, i used to ensure he had packed the right books for the lesson the following day and helped him with his homework whenever i could but then i suddenly thought...NO i can't do this at all as i have other younger children to see to.

So a few weeks in I just left him to it. I had briefly sent him to tutor once a week before the grammar school exam however i had also prepared him myself for the exam. He is doing just fine without my input and just getting on with it and i definitely don't feel the need to send him to a tutor now to keep up. If a child is struggling the teachers themselves will offer them that additional support.
Even if you heavily tutor a child you will realise soon enough if they are picking it up not. If they are struggling you as a parent know yourself that there is no point going through the agony of grammar school unless you know there is some chance of your child achieving the result you want.
Its not fair on you or your child and i know they say in many of the grammar schools do not over prep as they themselves see a lot of children struggle to keep up.

You spend so much time and energy doing your best for your child and support them throughout the 11 + journey. Your "baby" is only 9 years old and seems so sweet and innocent and needs pampering and then suddenly it dawns on you that you have to just let go and leave them to it.

Only you know how long you spend with your child and what you feel is sufficient and what is too much preparation.


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 Post subject: Re: Over tutored pupils
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:51 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 1:47 pm
Posts: 2592
Happy dad wrote:
I recall a while back reading something on here regarding the tutoring that goes on at CHB. I sort of dismissed it as it is by reputation one of the top schools, even given the smaller intake than KEFW for example probably gives a misleading impression of the overall abilities of pupils from the entry score

I recently had a conversation with a sikh colleague about schools and he mentioned that many in the Asian community are now realising the implications of over-tutoring for gs, either continue private tuition outside school (see comment above) or don't follow the gs route at all. His comment was that there are many asian children in gs - he mentioned CHB specifically - where the children are not really up to it without the continuous extra tuition and that there was a sea change developing in the asian community whereby he expected many less asian children to be tutored and thus entering gs. I would welcome comments.


At my youngest dd's preparatory school the majority of children are Asian and the vast majority are tutored the school itself now offers extra preparation.

At grammar school you shouldn't need to consider extra tuition until GCSE and only then if the school can't give the help. When my eldest was at KEHS she felt she needed help with her Latin in her final GCSE year a few months before the exams. I went and found a tutor which was very difficult.One of our friends recommended a retired nun who used to teach Latin to A level. She was very kind and gave the tuition but she had a vow of poverty and couldn't accept payment. The agreement we had was I regularly gave her donations by way of cheques made payable towards a Romanian orphanage. We are not Roman Catholics.

_________________
In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

Abraham Lincoln


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 Post subject: Re: Over tutored pupils
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:58 pm
Posts: 382
We didn't really tutor our daughter at all, just a couple of mock tests so that she could get an idea of what the questions would be (not in Birmingham but still CEM), and I think this was a really big mistake. Our daughter said she didn't think anyone would be able to pass the test without tutoring. Needless to say she didn't pass. We now find that her secondary school is not stretching her enough by a long chalk. She seems to be streaks a ahead of most of the other kids and has been identified by her CAT scores as most able. The most able co-ordinator has indicated that she would have been better place in a GS.

I have wondered whether the high level of tutoring of other children meant that our daughter who is extremely able didn't get a place. There is a huge amount of GS tourism in this area too (I am told), lots of people coming from miles away. When we visited the GS there were people from about 300 miles away (presumably thinking to move if they got a place), looking at the schools. I am a psychotherapist and I regularly see pupils who are struggling with the pressure and they are almost always the ones who were borderline passes, appeals, or over tutored. Some of the problems that these children boys and girls from all cultural backgrounds suffer under the pressure are quite severe.


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