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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:15 pm
Posts: 13
I moved to Altrincham 10 years ago being oblivious about grammar schools. I studied at the local school, local college and went onto University. I have an honours degree in Accountancy without a second thought on private tuition and grammer schools. Now I live in such an affluent area where we are surrounded by grammar schools and tutor talks, I feel obliged to 'go for it' too. My daughter is naturally bright and acedemic but have no doubt she wont excel at a 'normal' secondary school.

Can anyone advise on the amount of tutoring required, costs involved if accepted etc. I am within catchment for AGSG and Sale Grammer. I just feel like everyone is jumping on the band-wagon and we're all supposed to join in.

I am also a full time single parent so don't want to be spending a fortune at this stage. Advice on 'is it worth the toughness and hassle' or do bright children excel in any school regardless?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:51 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2007 2:29 pm
Posts: 593
Location: Trafford
The bullish and perfectly honest response is that you do not need to spend a penny on tutors, but you would be unwise to rely on your daughter's natural intelligence to get her through the exams without some practice, as the competition for places at AGGS, especially, and Sale is intense.

The middle ground is to DIY. This requires preparation, time, commitment and some expense in terms of materials, but it is perfectly possible for children whose parents take this approach to pass the exams. If you decide to explore this route there is a wealth of information on this site, which we can point you to, if necessary.

Tutoring in the Altrincham/Sale area generally costs about £25 an hour with children attending once a week for the whole of Year 5 and then the few weeks in Year 6 while the exams take place. Be aware that tutors get booked up very quickly. If you leave it until Year 5 you may well find there are no spaces. Word of mouth is good, but there is great reluctance to discuss tutoring. It's a dirty little secret for a lot of parents.

Some tutors are excellent. Some, quite frankly, are not. If you go down the tutoring route then educate yourself first as to the content of the exams and the types of questions asked and check that your tutor is up to date and practising relevant material with your daughter.

Personally, I think that VR and NVR are subjects you can teach yourself relatively easily if you have the time and desire (and a willing student). The Maths is the one which really depends on your own confidence levels. The kids are tested on the whole of the KS2 curriculum effectively a year before they are supposed to have covered it all. It is important, therefore, to work out what gaps there are and fill them. I know some people who have done this themselves quite happily and others who have chosen to have a tutor just for Maths and DIY on the VR and NVR.

Use the open days next summer as a way of finding out about the schools, both grammar and secondary. Ask as many questions here as you like. That's what we are here for!

Bright children do excel in any school, regardless, especially when they are backed up by good parental support. We are very lucky in Trafford (and I count Knutsford High as an honorary Trafford school here) to have the excellent schools across the full spectrum and I don't think you can really go wrong. However, one shouldn't be blinkered in relation to the true difficulty of getting a place at the top grammars. It is definitely not the case that untutored natural talent will trump tutored slightly-above-averageness every time, sadly.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:15 pm
Posts: 13
Thank you Traffordmum for your advice and honesty. I will be playing it by ear as well as spending valuable time at home going through maths, VR and NVR. I have already tried to book a tutor for next year Sept 2012 and they are already full.

I am finding this site extremely helpful and will see what happens into mid next year.

If anyone could recommened a tutor in the Timperley, Altrincham, Hale, Sale area please PM me?

Thank you


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:19 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2007 2:29 pm
Posts: 593
Location: Trafford
Good luck, m15sgv. I know it is daunting, and it is especially difficult the first time you go through the system as everything is just so unknown.

I am sure you have seen all the separate sub-forums but, just in case you haven't, there are separate sub-forums for VR, NVR and Maths where you can search for or ask specific questions about each subject and the best way to approach them. VR, in particular, is a very interesting read. (I can't quite believe I wrote that! :shock: :lol: )


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:02 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 5:32 pm
Posts: 17
I thought Trafford Mum's response to the question was excellent and it is how I see the land lies. There are many talented pupils who take the Trafford exams. The difference between passing or not just a consequence of whether the pupil has the appropriate level of ability in the first case but also if they have been prepared adequately for the exams by either parents or tutors.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:18 pm
Posts: 7
some really good reply's if i may....

To be honest it is really up to you what you do, you will find millions of examples of those who have excelled in all different types of schools and you will find those that have struggled in all schools.

For me dd current year 7 aggs, it was important to me us (parents) initially that we decided what schools we wanted her to go for, after attending on the open day aggs we decided that we wanted her to go to that school for various different reasons, academics, sporting, social, ethos etc etc etc etc.

Then we decided to broach the subject to test the water so to speak, as she was present during the open day she was all up for it.

Then the hard part for us began. All the questions run through your head, how much, how long, am i doing enough am i doing the right stuff etc etc etc, and for us our best option was a tutor 1 hour a week. Luckily we got into a recently cancelled spot and the tutor was excellent.

By having the tutor we were confident not that she would pass but she would have covered the correct literature and been taught all the little quirks that come with answering certain questions.

I am only talking from our point of view, but for us a tutor was a must, we are not wealthy, we did without things because that was our new priority. It gave our dd a different scene to study and learn in, rather than the dining room table at home with all the distractions.

You will find alot of discussion on this topic and it really is personal preference and your choice as parents based on your beliefs and your childs attitude towards school etc. We found the school sylabus totally unhelpfull in these exams(e.g some questions tested on the exam they hadn't even covered at school yet!!).

There are so many people with different views etc but you have got to go with what you feel is right for you all. For us it became a way of life tutor and tutor homework each week without fail, as for our familly that was our goal. (again you will see alot of different opinions on this). The pressure on the kids to pass is very unfair. But when that letter comes through the door, as dad i couldnt stop crying for 20 mins, mostly relief etc, my dd also did when i showed her the letter, so you can see what pressure they are under.

Do i regret this not a bit, as 2 months into year 7 they have had exams! and it starts them off with a good instinct to study.

So good luck with what ever path you choose, use the site for advice and you will see many strong opinions swinging both ways, but you go with what you feel is right.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:15 pm
Posts: 13
Thank you markj5388 for your comments. I think going with my instincts is going to be the way forward. She has had her heart set on AGSG for years and she's only in year 4 now. She's knows what's required and is willing. I guess with the pressure and talks, I've got a little scared with it all as they are just so young.

I have now booked the same tutor as yourself for next year so hopefully by mid next year I will be more clear and concise on requirements and have a more positive attitude.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:18 pm
Posts: 7
No probs and she was an excellent tutor for us by the way. if your heart is set on it there is alot of hard work to go, tears and upset, but good luck


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:41 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2007 2:29 pm
Posts: 593
Location: Trafford
I often think that the tutors should pay us a commission for the custom they get through this site :lol:

I'm glad you have sorted out the tutor problem, and you have done it in plenty of time so that your panic can be minimised. Don't worry about it until next autumn now, but if you do want to do something, practise times tables with your daughter until they are second nature (we used to do them every time we got stuck at a red traffic light), and work on vocabulary. Doing word puzzles worked well with mine and didn't seem like work at all to them.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:23 am
Posts: 2
Hi, Trafffordmum, could you possibly pm me with details about tutors you know? I am trying to find out as much as I can.
Many thanks


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