We have a tutor booked but not until January, so are doing the first six months ourselves, and my inner geek is bursting with enthusiasm for it.
That enthusiasm (so far - early days) has passed on to the children and also brought us closer together, as we spend a lot more time doing papers, or word games or cruising sites like Free Rice together. And the self- disciplined attitude pays off when it starts at home. My son was getting a bit idle but recently has suddenly worked hard at his red belt karate, and is also making sudden progress at piano where he had been pottering about a bit. It is very heartwarming to see them progress and know you played a part. But equally - I think a tutor can take the emotional pressure off a child a bit. I care too much when my son makes silly mistakes. Also, I'm hoping a tutor is far better at some of the explaining of the less obvious work. Years of NVR and maths must rub off.
I haven't even met our tutor. I booked her on the strength of several personal recommendations from people with children of widely different abilities. She specialises in a couple of local grammars and indies - all of which we're applying for; she's frank about a child's ability and will offer alternative suggestions of where they might go if she doesn't think they'll pass a certain exam. That's useful to us, in an area where every single exam is different (some just Maths & English, some add VR to that, or NVR or both etc.) She has got children into their chosen school with a very high success rating.
So my questions would be:
Which schools or exams do you specialise in?
What do you do with a child who is unlikely to make the grade of their chosen school, or is borderline?
What is your success rate with children getting into one of their top choices of selective school?
Which papers/methods do you use?