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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:03 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:44 pm
Posts: 60
Hello, everybody. I have been a guest on this forum for over a year now and have learnt quite a bit from all the helpful parents. Having taken and passed the Birmingham test a couple of decades ago, i am now repeating the process with my eldest child. There have been so many changes since my own campaign, and this forum has been great in directing me when helping my son (currently in year 4 and attending a 'middle of the road' school). A couple of months ago i began sending my boy to an 11plus tutor for a lesson a week, just to get another opinion on his abilities and to highlight any shortcomings in his foundations. I am yet to actually get stuck in with the VR and NVR as i do feel it is a bit early yet.
Today we decided that this approach was not for us and i intend to continue DIYing his tutoring. I was shocked when, on entering the group tuition room, it was announced that my son was 'terrible' at VR and will not do well unless i commit him to more lessons in the week. Whilst this tutor may be used to parents buying this and following suit, instead i asked to see his work. I was quite surprised to see that it was almost entirely correct.
It is so sad that the spirit of so many children is destroyed in this manner. Whilst i do intend to put my son in for the test, i would much rather he not pass and yet be the enthusiatic learner he is, than beat the odds and gain a much-coveted place, but feel worn-out and pushed to the brink at what should be the start of his academic adventures.
How many of you have come across tutors like this? The process is a lot scarier than it was when i was younger...


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:32 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 6694
Location: Herts
I am sorry to hear about this but I am puzzled as to why you had to ask to see his work? Was his work not coming home with him after every lesson?

Did you sign up with an organisation that did not allow the students to have their own work?

It is terrible that some tutors behave like this but they would not be able to if parents would avoid organisations like this. Did you know when you signed up that you would have no opportunity to review the work at home?

What was the plan for you to be able to find out how he was doing? DG


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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Tutoring is a totally unregulated industry; there are many 'sharks' out there. Many tutors have no formal teaching qualifications at all.

I would ask for evidence of qualification to teach and some references from people you know would also be good. The support should be clearly outlined on paper - like a contract - so what you will 'get' for your money is explicitly explained.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:26 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:44 pm
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He is an independant tutor and has gained popularity in the local community in the past few years. Specialising in teaching mathematics, his history as a senco worker suggested that he would probably be good at recognising and meeting the individual needs of a child.
He was recommended by many local parents who were and are currently using his services. Whilst many of these parents are relying solely on his advice with regard to the 11 plus process, as they are not familiar with the exam format since it isn't a regular practise for local children to be pushed academically, i was hoping to just use the lessons as an opportunity to gain another person's perspective with regard to my son's current ability.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:29 pm 
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Also, whilst sending work home regularly, i suppose he wasn't used to a parent asking to see work covered in the lesson. He was quite suprised that i did ask to see it and not trust his judgement instead. The arrogance was rather shocking but i can't help but feel that parental complacency is also at fault.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:35 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:44 pm
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I do not doubt that the vast majority of parents want was is best for their child, but it is quite dangerous to just leave their learning to overworked teachers and unregulated tutors and consider that box ticked. When did learning become a chore?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:28 pm
Posts: 194
I would never rely just on a tutor to get my DC through the 11 plus.
I went down the DIY route however not all parents can teach their children and not all children can learn from their parents.
The tutor may have commented that your DC may have required some extra help in the lesson and even though your DC's paper looked more or less correct the class or tutor may have helped arrive at the correct answers.
The tutor using the word "terrible" is unnecessary and will do nothing for you or your child in terms of confidence
or trust.
All parents need to make a judgment call; if something doesn't feel right don't continue with it.
One of the parents from my sons school mentioned that her DS didn't make the cut off scores for either Queen Marys or the King Edwards exams. He had been going to group tuition for most of year 4 and year 5 with a well known company. They would not allow her DS to keep the work and informed her that he was doing exceptionally well.
It can go either way: a tutor can tell you, your child is either terrible or that your child is exceptional. I think being told your DC is doing really well lures you into a false sense of security so is so much worse.
This is where i think that the parent needs to make their own judgement. There is a great deal of help on this forum and the books they recommend will give you an insight on where your child should be to achieve the result required.
Good Luck on your journey.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:19 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2015 6:44 am
Posts: 1425
My DD1 was regularly getting 80-85% on bond papers. The tutor at best would say she was borderline. When we discussed that her primary had not done fractions volume or %s at the start of year 5, we were told to sort it out ourselves as the preps would have been on top of this. So we did. Tutors scores we received weekly were always lower than what we got at home. Our DD friend did the same, but was told regularly that there was little chance of passing. With hindsight I think our tutor knew our DD had a chance of getting a decent score, but wanted us to keep the momentum going. At the end of the day I have great confidence in the company I used, as they were honest, gave weekly strong feedback on things we should try to improve and were blunt if they thought you had little chance of passing. This mean't money came second, not first. For example if your child is not making sufficient progress they would suggest you go elsewhere or reconsider your position. In certain communities this is such a prestige thing that some companies completely take advantage. My DD2 will be going to where DD1 went. By way of ref walsall score was 360. Only thing I am changing largely as a result of MSD feedback from this forum is focus on VR and reading to build vocab for KE. A good tutor will be honest and conservative, even if your child is doing okay. They will also stretch well beyond year 5 work and anything you will see in a bond book.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:28 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:44 pm
Posts: 60
I'm glad this error of sending him to the formentioned tutor has been rectified early on. Children in Year 5, from feedback from their parents, have told me that they were only doing bond VR as he felt that the English and NVR aspect was quite easy. Given that many of his pupils also attend a local school currently underperforming and subsequently in special measures, I did not feel that this was a fair call by him at all. English may not be his specialist subject but he should have atleast informed them that this side of their learning must be supplemented by another source.
It is a shame that so manybright children are being misled in this manner.
We regularly work on vocabulary and also read a lot as a family. These are skills that will help them in whatever school they may end up in.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:08 pm
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Enjoyingthejourney wrote:
Children in Year 5, from feedback from their parents, have told me that they were only doing bond VR


Do you mean the traditional code style VR exercises?


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