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 Post subject: Help! Should we give up?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:45 am 
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I am wondering whether to give up on 11 plus preparation with my DD. We are in a "super selective" area - so she'd be trying for Latymer and Woodford County in Redbridge, both schools had almost 2,000 children sit the tests last year. We started preparing in the middle of Year 4, with my DD's SAT levels at the end of Year 4 being a 4a in Reading and Writing and a 4c in maths, she goes to a tutor once a week and does about an hour and a half of homework from the tutor each week. However, this year her levels at school do not seem to have significantly improved - in the Easter tests she was a level 5 in English and only a 4b in maths and is no longer even on the top table. She is very motivated and gets on with her homework without being asked (usually) but has now become quite anxious about the prospect of the tests and has started saying she's "rubbish" and feels sure she won't get in. Her teacher at parents' evening said that her confidence has dropped significantly in maths this year.
Until now I have taken the view that no knowledge is wasted and that should she not get a place at either school then all the work in preparation will still stand her in good stead when she goes to secondary. Now though, I'm not so sure. What if all this does is put a good deal of pressure on her and knock her confidence very signifcantly? The maths in both 11 plus exams is pretty hard and if she's not a secure level 5 by the time of the tests (now only a term away), it seems entirely unrealistic a goal? But I'm worried that if I suggest she stop preparing then she will take that as confirmation that she is indeed "rubbish". :( I feel very responsible for this and am not sure what to do. The tutor says she is "on course" but is otherwise not particularly helpful. She's working hard but doesn't seem to be making much progress.
What would you do?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:23 pm 
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I think she is under great deal of pressure and that is effecting her performance. However, as you rightly said, no knowledge is ever wasted. It may be better not to talk of 11plus all the time; encourage her whatever the result; hopefully things will go better.

She might be better off doing English/Maths with you at home, slowly, topic by topic. Don't rush. Learn the basics and get accuracy. Once she gets the accuracy, speed will come itself. I don't know about the level needed for Latymer/Woodford; but here generally very good level 5 or even 6 is considered necessary, but even good level 4 children have achieved grammar places. It's performance on the day that counts.

However, you might get better response if you post in Esssex-Redbridge or Barnet region of the forum.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:27 pm 
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Personally I would not give up. It may be a numbers game but levels aren't everything-for one school exam my daughter sat her friends who are working at level 5, actually closed their exam booklets 15 mins early and stared into space for the remainder of the time. There will be others who also fail to read the questions properly and answer what they want to. Even if your daughter does not secure a place at least she took a chance. I would also book her in for a few mocks, so you could see the areas she still need work on and it would also show how she is doing compared to others who will also be taking the exams.

I would give her a break for a few days- doing things that build her self confidence and then gently get back to the schedule.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:17 am 
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My DS goes to Latymer and by the end of y5 was level 5 in maths and English. I think you need to speak to her tutor to see exactly what he or she is doing and what they think. If she is sitting in Sept you need to start papers at home to supplement what the tutor is doing, this will give you a better sense of how capable she is plus her weak areas. Do you know which areas she lacks confidence in, does her tutor, can they work on this with her ? My DS always seemed to get the most complicated of questions but when faced with simpler ones invariably got them wrong as he would rush through them. Sign her up to some mocks to see where she is compared to the general population who will sit the papers. Do the Sutton mocks and mill hill exams.

All is not lost don't give up, all children have dips, but you need to help her with her confidence. By all means give her a break but also ensure you know where she is struggling and that you are confident her tutor knows. Best of luck.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:33 am 
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It sounds like your tutor is not worth the money. You should be getting more feedback than "on course" with less than five months to go. They should be detailing where she is losing the marks and concentrating on those areas. What sort of homework is she getting? 4A at the end of Y4 is very good. I know of Y5 students in a middleclass ofsted outstanding school who are only 4A now and they are the best in the class. But I do agree that two terms later she should have made progress, certainly, if you are paying a tutor every week. I would suggest that you focus on small landmarks so that she will get her confiidence back and feel she is mastering areas. Do a maths paper with her at home that is easy and then praise her result and establish a higher target for the next one. He will feel really good about herself when she makes it. Alpha RS Maths would be perfect if you can get it as there are four papers that are quite straightforward so they are fantastic for building confidence. Then focus on the areas she is getting wrong and get a revision guide and go through them with her. So you are building strong areas. Ask for a meeting with the tutor, take a notebook and get detailed feedback and recommendations. If they are not prepared to do that, cancel the tutor and
take it on yourself. The tutor sounds like the problem not the answer. If she is not making progress then the tutor is not being effective. Students can make dramatic progress with the right support. Your dd is motivated and that is fantastic. What you need to do is build recognition and milestones into the process. I know about Latymer but what is the exam format of Woodford County? DG


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:06 am 
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Hi Highamsmum

I agree with Daogroupie, your tutor doesn't seem to be much help.
It was similar in my case, just the other way around. My son is strong and confident and level 5 in maths, but I guess (they don't say) he's still in level4 in literacy. He also started telling me he was rubbish after doing some assessment tests. His confidence was falling. So I made him do some easier tests with great results (of course), just to knock his confidence back. It is very important I think.

Now he's better with the harder ones too, because he's more sure of himself.

I wouldn't give up. I was thinking about this too couple of times, but I don't think we've got anything to loose.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:01 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:04 am
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Thank-you all for your replies. I agree that levels aren't everything, it's just my concern that despite now having a tutor and working hard every week my DD seems to have at best stalled, and at worst lost all confidence, particularly in maths. I'm grateful for your practical suggestions, having thought about it I think I will stop the tutor and begin to work with her at home. She hasn't always responded that well to parental involvement and I have been guilty at times of becoming quite frustrated with her. We have entered the Sutton mocks in May.

DAOGroupie, thank-you for your suggestions, I will PM you. The Woodford County exam will be CEM in the same style as Latymer for the first time this year.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:10 am 
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Location: Herts
I think this is the right decision. You do not seem to be getting any useful information from your tutor. No feedback. No work that is aimed at the exams you are taking. I would also sign up for the Mill Hill County VR exam on June 14th. This is the real thing with a very high pass mark as lots of students apply so it is hard to get through to the second round. It will give you a very good idea of how much work needs doing on VR skills. DG


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