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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:18 pm
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Have been an avid reader of the forum for quite some time and have picked up lots of info and tips so far which has been great. I now have a question of my own.

Oldest DS, currently year 5, has been having weekly tutoring sessions (80 minutes plus homework) with a well known franchise, since last September and they say he is doing very well indeed. He frequently gets 95%+ in VR practice tests and similar in English and Maths. At school a few months ago I was told levels were Math 5c, writing 5b and reading 5b.

My quandary is that the tutors are now offering Summer School for 4 weeks, 5 hours a day and, in his case, suggest a minimum of two weeks. Even two weeks like this sounds rather excessive and while I was happy for him to continue in the same vein as his existing sessions, this just seems wrong. I guess I know that I don't want him to do these classes but am concerned that he will be at some disadvantage if he doesn't - but 20 hours a week of practice papers sounds like pure torture and I'm not sure I can put him through it especially as he's worked so hard already. I know for a fact he will balk at the very idea and it would mean lots of heartache on both sides. I'd be very interested to hear your views and whether anyone else has any experience of such classes?

Bizziemum


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:48 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:21 am
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Bizziemum wrote:
but am concerned that he will be at some disadvantage if he doesn't


I very much doubt it - with those scores he could probably pass tomorrow if he sat the test, but it is still some months away so he needs to stay motivated without going off the boil, so to speak. That amount of work might put him off and make him wonder why he bothered working so hard over the last year, only to be rewarded with more of the same in shedloads when he would rather be chilling! This program looks as though it is intended for those who may have started preparation later or who need extra practice. Is this preparation for a superselective?

I can only speak for VR as that is the only subject tested in our area. I found the IPS daily practice papers (5 - 10 minutes) very good for use during the long summer break, interspersed with full-length practice papers about once per week and the Tutors PC software for variety. I'm sure you could put together a practice program yourself that would be cheaper, far less onerous and time consuming, and might leave your son with some enthusiasm for the test! I really think that "little and often" is the key at this stage, especially as he is already scoring so highly.

Just my opinion.

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Marylou


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:09 pm 
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Thanks Marylou, the kind of reply I was hoping to get :) I think I may well do what you suggest and threaten him with classes if he makes any fuss :wink: Being in Essex, we don't have so many options GS wise and there's a huge amount of competition for places. We are looking towards a superselective but there are one or two other options too although we're out-of-catchment and any GS will mean travelling (another dilema!).


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 2:14 pm
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Location: essex
Hi Bizziemum,


I am also in Essex and my son will be starting at KEGS in September.

I am afraid my first reaction to the suggestion of the summer school was absolute horror. I really think it would turn your son off the whole process.

Last summer I fully intended to do some work a couple of times each week but the days went by and we ended up doing about and hour over the whole holidays. I felt my heart and knew in my head that we should have been doing something but couldn't face the fight. It did mean however, that my son was raring to go in September after a break from it all.

I also agree with marylou that the IPS 10 minute tests are fantastic. I used them right up to the exam when I couldn't face the arguments about doing any work but could persuade him inside for 10 mins with a chocolate biscuit at the end. They would be a good way of keeping him ticking over during the summer but not in anyway spoiling a day. You could even do them before breakfast to get it out of the way for the day.

if your son is doing so well already I cannot see the point of any more practice apart from to fill the coffers of the franchise.

I read somewhere on the forum that a child usually drops about 10% in the actual exam as compared to practice papers , this was true in my sons case too, so your son should be well on target.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:48 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Bizziemum wrote:
My quandary is that the tutors are now offering Summer School for 4 weeks, 5 hours a day and, in his case, suggest a minimum of two weeks.

Good grief! I am also absolutely horrified to read that. That is between 50 and 100 hours of tutoring! No child should have to be put through that amount of intensive preparation, let alone one who is already achieving 95% and has already been tutored for 80 minutes a week for 9 months or a year.

This is a money-making exercise for the tutors concerned, pure and simple. Don't fall for it!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:45 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:47 pm
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Location: Essex
Wow! That's a heck of a lot of work! I think you would sicken your son if you sent him on this course. He's already doing really well and needs a holiday. If you want to give him extra work over the summer break, why not try the Bond 10 minute test books? One a day or every second day should keep him ticking over nicely. Be judicious about which English tests you use as not all are relevant to the Essex 11+. Use the comprehension tests and the ones which include punctuation and parts of speech.

I think the course sounds more suitable for a late starter or someone way more borderline than your DS.

I'm curious as to who the franchise is. I've heard of one which is more maths oriented but not one for 11+. Any chance you could PM me the details?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:55 pm 
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Thanks everyone for your replies :) . Pretty much what I was thinking but nice to have your feelings backed up by those in the know so to speak. I have now told DS about the classes, the look of horror on his face was a picture! And promptly reassured him that he would not be expected to do them. I'm going to speak to his tutors and find out if there are any useful sessions he could, maybe, dip into, but I'm not going to worry otherwise. Some 10 minute tests and lots of reading will be order of the day. Personally I think at this stage there would be much more value in a nice relaxing holiday in France, a visit to the Summer Exhibition (he loves drawing and painting) and similar and back to it in September for the final push.
Busier than ever.
Bizziemum


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Well done to you for showing strength in the face of tutor-power, Bizziemum!

Do encourage him to read books from different eras - it is amazing how much new vocab they pick up by reading Huckleberry Finn rather than Alex Rider. Your local library is a gold mine for the 11+.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:55 pm 
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Thanks Sally-Anne, it's a no-brainer really but that nagging little voice can be very persuasive sometimes. Vocab has been a bit of a weak point, but I've noticed him looking up and asking the meaning of words rather than glossing over them like he used to do, so something must be sinking in. We're on the case with the reading material and DH has dug out his old copies of Treasure Island and the like, just got to now try and get DS interested.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:05 pm 
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Location: Rugby
My view this is overkill and moneymaking also. My dd did no more than one hour tutorial (enrichment not cramming) for 11+ she always went to state schools and she not only passed the Warwickshire 11+ but the Scholarship entrance to Rugby School.


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