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 Post subject: References from tutors
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:59 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:02 am
Posts: 6
Can't find anything specific on here but wary this may well be a repeat topic.

We've been consistently told by all and sundry not to mention the dreaded "T" word and to include a reference from one would be educational suicide. The distinct impression I've formed is that it seems to carry the same value as getting a letter from a prostitute saying you’re good in bed.

However education is a two way thing - you can take an intelligent and capable child and put her in a good grammar school yet without strong home support they will suffer. Using a tutor surely shows that the parent part of the tripartite are involved, committed and likely to support the child and school in the long term.

I accept limited weighting could arguably be put on her words but that argument could be levied at the child's teachers who could be equally biased. I saw elsewhere on the forum that a lady on the south coast was asked if her child was tutored as if, in some way to infer, that a positive response would draw a negative mark. At any rate I think we shouldn't be so quick to cast aspersions on their integrity.

By virtue of what they are doing every day, many of these tutors are way more experienced and qualified than the teachers we so readily go to for words.

Anyway I'm not going to as I'm not going to fight for the principle when my child's future is at stake. Tutors cost money and I recognise that but everyone can afford even just one session and I think this effort should be recognised. I'm just not clear I understand the why's of it.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:15 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7032
At any rate I think we shouldn't be so quick to cast aspersions on their integrity.
I agree, and I hope we don't give that impression on here.

However, the aim of the forum is to help parents with appeals, and we would be failing if we didn't explain that an appeal panel might not give weight to letters of support from private tutors.

Personally I don't think the issue of tutoring is going to be critical at an appeal. I don’t believe that panel members – whatever private views they may have – would actually take tutoring into account when making their decision. I certainly never heard a single appeal where it was a factor.

Some parents do go out of their way to provide references from tutors, or to volunteer the information “We paid for him/her to be tutored for 2 years!”, presumably confident that it will show an appeal panel what good parents they are, and how committed they are to the 11+.

Although it may not in reality harm their case, I don't believe it does anything to assist it! (What about the child who lacks that sort of support - should that child be disadvantaged at appeal?)

In my view it would be best to say nothing about tutoring unless asked. And, if asked, Sally-Anne has suggested a very reasonable answer which would fit the majority of cases: “Yes, our child was tutored. We were very conscious that everyone around us was buying into tutoring and we felt under pressure not to place our child at a disadvantage.

Incidentally, I would agree that not all headteacher references are perfect! - but headteachers have the sort of status that comes with belonging to a regulated profession. The same applies to educational psychologists who sometimes prepare reports for appeals. Chartered EPs are regulated, with accreditation through the British Psychological Society, and there is now a requirement that they are also registered with the Health Professions Council.


PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:40 pm 

Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
Posts: 1827
Location: Gloucestershire
The only tutor I know is very 'straight', and has told parents if the child isn't bright enough for grammar and therefore not worth continuing with the tuition (even though she looses money over it).

However, I suspect that not all tutors are like that, and they do have their reputations to protect regarding the number of successful children. Therefore they may well want to be over-positive in any support for an appeal, in the same way that a private school that boasts how many of its pupils get into grammars might.

Sally-Anne's statement is very good and has much to recommend it.

As for 'parental part of the tripartite', panels are looking at the child, not at the parents / family situation. A child in foster care, living in a childrens home or with a parent who couldn't give two hoots about education would have the same chance of winning an appeal as full-on, mega-supportive parents.

I heard an appeal many years ago where the parent came in saying 'If my child can't keep up with the work, we've got lots of support lined up in the way of tutors' - well fine, but if you think he may need tutors to cope, is a selective school the right place? I also have heard parents say what an asset they would be to the school, helping at PTA events, wanting to become governors, etc; those are not reasons to allow an appeal, as they could (should) just as easily apply to the allocated school.


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