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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:22 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:34 pm
Posts: 548
Hi everyone. I needs some perspective!

I thought my children were going to a superb tuition centre, who claim to be excellent at getting children through their 11+.

I had been feeling a bit worried for the past few weeks as I noticed innaccuracies in the worksheets they send home.... spelling mistake, poor printed sheets, incorrectly set questions... which would send me loopy!

Then, I stumbled onto this excellent site - and i relasied that i shouldnt be using Bonds for Langley and Tiffin, but using IPS, The Tutors, etc.
Im not sure if I panicked - yes, maybe i did...!

Well, now, i week and a couple of hissing fits later, I have some books by IPS, and some CD's by the Tutors.... I seem to be on the right track now.

But now I notice the flaws in the Tuition Centres work a lot more - they know that my son is applying for Langley and Tffins, and they are giving him work that isnt of the 21 types.... How do I deal with this? They still are setting work that has errors in it..... Type 7 Letters for numbers question was set starting with 2 divided by 11.....!

Is their any point of doing Type 13 Make a Word (man[mat]tip) when their are no multiple choice questions to help you along the way? doing these types of questions are so easy on the Tutors CD, as you immediately can tell what the answer is, instead of trying out 10 odd different possibilites.

Im feeling so frustrated with the tuition agency. We wrote a letter of complaint but havent heard a word in ten days, and they normally reply very quickly. We have made this terms fee's so leaving isnt currently an option.

Im feeling so tense, and my son is picking up on it...

I wanted to ask how much study is recommended per day at this stage? For those with similar aged children as me, or for the tutors on this forum - how much time do you advise? We are currently doing 50 mins of work, with a 20 min break and then half and hour. daily. <blush> . It is nice and relaxed studying, i dont push, my other son gets on with his tuition homework and school homeworks at the same time, we have had this routine for the last 7-8 months.

All my friends and family think i am a bit fanatic (bar hubby), so I dont want to tell anyone about how tense i am.....

I have asked a lot of questions, I know, but i would appreciate any advice at the mo'.


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:02 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:27 am
Posts: 645
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi JaysDarlin

Well where to start! You think you're doing the best for your child and then it all goes belly-up. I really feel for you :cry:

I think the tutoring needs sorting as a matter of urgency - if the material they use is inaccurate then how able are they to point out your childs mistakes in order that he can correct them? If they are teaching him the wrong stuff then he's wasting time on questions he won't need to know and missing out question types that could be crucial. I know you've paid this terms fee but if they're teaching him the wrong things would it be better to cut your losses and teach him the right things yourself? If you've paid for him to be tutored specifically for Tiffin and Langley are you not entitled to a refund as they are not fulfilling this part of the contract? You wouldn't prepare for a Physics exam with a tutor that only covered Chemistry :wink:

My son (year 5) is doing a 50 minute test once a week(ish) and that's it - but see my post "peaked too soon?" on the Buckinghamshire forum.

Hope it all works out for you.


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:26 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8129
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi Sara

I am so sorry to hear about the problems you are having. It is not uncommon, I am sorry to say. There are too many people out there who just make a fast buck out of the 11+.

If you have the time and patience, and your DS will work well for you, then continue to use materials from this site to help him prepare. Use the various materials in the order that Patricia has recommended:

:: Tutors
:: IPS
:: Susan Daughtrey Bright Sparks

The Tutors CDs are very useful as fillers and for dealing with any specific problem types (other than Codes, for which pen and pencil is essential), as are the IPS daily tests.

I would agree with andyb that you would be in a very good position to pull out of the tuition and ask for a refund. The silence from the other side is rather telling on that front. Any legal eagles out there who can tell Sara what the equivalent of the Sale of Goods Act is for this situation?

An alternative, if you are short of time, would be to continue with the tuition through gritted teeth and make sure that your DS is only focussing on the 21 types. Also check the homework material yourself before he starts.

A reasonable practice schedule would be 2 hours a week, including tuition. I am doing more with my DS, but he does love doing puzzles, so it is not a problem for him.

We are doing 1 hour of tuition (from a tutor) plus 2 papers a week at present. We will go up to 4 papers a week in the hols, although only IPS daily papers when we are actually on holiday - and I suspect that may not happen very regularly! Patricia thinks I am a complete slave-driver at that level. :lol:

Be very careful not to get to "burn-out" though. If he seems to be getting to that point, give him a break (and tell him so) for a week, and then start back in gently with the CDs.

I am being very much more "hands-on" with DS2, having relied on the supposedly amazing tutor the first time round. After each practice session/paper I go through and check the answers, and I keep notes of which types have been answered wrongly. That is building up a picture of where he is finding it harder, and I can then deal with those types specifically.

Very good luck


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 12:39 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:34 pm
Posts: 548
Thanks so much AndyB and Sally Anne

Ive got a lot to think about re: your replies. esp with where i go next with the tuition centre.

Any other thoughts/feedback would be gratefully welcomed.


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:57 pm 
I tutor for 4 different grammar schools and 3 different independents, all of which have different exams with a few aspects in common.

I would absolutely love to run a tutoring school in order to make loads of money but I have yet to figure out how one could possibly manage it and give a good, tailored-to-child service. I imagine it is feasible if every child in the room is targetting the same exam but otherwise you would inevitably be doing work which is not appropriate for some children.

That said, I wouldn't worry so much about doing more than the 21 types (I'd worry if they were doing less) or a bit of erratic marking. More to the point , is the quality of the actual teaching good? Does your son/daughter feel he/she is learning?

Perhaps this tuition centre is no worse than any other and the problem is intrinsic to a centre-based setup. It stands to reason that they do blanket coverage if the children are taught in classes. In fact, many people in Birmingham seem to use them for guidance and structure but do their own thing, too; in fact, I know of one tuition centre that advises the parents to get a private tutor if they want to do anything other than the state grammar which has purely a VR entrance test.

As to the correct regime for successful entry, that is very dependent on the intelligence of the child, their spelling ability and their word knowledge. Last year I gave crash courses (5 hours tuition and about 5 hours homework) to 7 children a month before the exam for a school using NFER papers; all of them only wanted this school as backup and didn't want to waste much time on it. All peaked the week of the exam and gained entry. This year I have 2 students doing 3 or 4 times as much as this in the hope of gaining entry; both need this level of prep. because of limited vocabulary, erratic spelling and concentration issues.

While people can (and will) advise you of their successful regime, it will be particular to their child and to the school for which they were trying. If I have understood your regime (80 minutes a day?), however, it does seem somewhat excessive to me. As a tutor, I do 1 hour a week work with students and set 2 hours; I would frown on anyone doing much more because it would probably be counter-productive. As a mother, I was lucky if I got that much out of my own daughter.

I hope some of the above is useful.

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