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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 10:52 pm 
Having read the article in the London Evening Standard on Friday and in the Times Educational Suppliment I was quite alarmed to learn that children are tutored up to 3 years to pass the eleven plus exams.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/arti ... article.do

Surely this works against the children's own long term interests? We have spent 6 months preparing for verbal reasoning exams next week and in that time we have got our son to a consistent 90-95% range, however this may now be inadequate if others began preparation 3 years earlier!

Tim
(Bucks)


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 8:15 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8199
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi Tim

We are also in Bucks, and yes, those freakish parents are all around us! Their children are probably in total burn-out by now, and just imagine the trauma they will endure if they fail after all those years of work.

6 months is a perfectly sensible period to have coached for, and very much the average around here. With his current marks your son seems very likely to pass, and pass well.

Stay calm - and sleep well! Good luck to your son.

Best wishes
Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:13 am 
Just imagine, those children that have trained for 3 years, pass and get to the grammar school and then find that they cannot keep up with the others. What will that do to their confidence


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 Post subject: excessive coaching
PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:50 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2006 1:20 pm
Posts: 75
Location: Lincolnshire
Hi Guys,
I totally agree with your points about coaching children for this amount of time if it is done with the sole intent of gaining a place for a child who might otherwise not manage. This, to me goes completely against my view of finding the right type of education for my children.

However there may be other reasons why parents take this extreme step, for instance my oldest son has just sat his 11+ in Lincs with a total of 6 months prep. My middle son (Who does occasionally suffer middle child syndrome) needed to feel included, so we bought him the bond NVR book appropriate to his age group 8YRS. He enjoyed them so much we have decided to buy the next in the series and also try the VR books. We will not be pushing him to do them, but allow him to keep seeing them as he does now, as a puzzle book. All the time he is enjoying doing them (and the praise when he does well) I see no harm in allowing him to carry on. It is also having a positive impact on his homework because he has become hooked on the praise heaped on him for a JOB WELL DONE! :D

Still take your point though, if the coaching is done without much thought to how the child will cope. We will wait another year or two before taking any decisions about his secondary choices, I think we have plenty of time yet.

angelz


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:59 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:47 pm
Posts: 1348
Location: Berks,Bucks
I agree with you all in principal.
But I know that in some areas where the secondaries are terrible, many parents are desperate and would go to any lenght to get the kids into a good school.
In addition, not all kids in grammar schools are exceptionally bright. I have heard that there are many level 4 SATs or even level 3s (difficult to believe). Not many drop out...


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:27 pm 
I disagree that advance coaching for 11 plus is wrong and Sally Anne (with all due respect to her) does not know what she is talking about using words like “freakish” or “burn out” or that children suffer “trauma” at grammar schools. It this kind of terminology that is detrimental and hinders progress.

All parents want their child to work at their best potential and it is a fact that the education system does work children to their BEST potential . I would be interested to know which children who got into grammar are “traumatised” because of over coaching.

My daughter was considered average at her primary school and was not recommended to even enter the 11 plus. However, I started her preparation 2 year's in advance of the 11 plus and her intelligence has elevated over time to above average such that she is now considered among the top sets in her grammar school.

I don't agree with the view that academic achievement is based solely or mainly on natural inherited ability. Wasn't Einstein a poor student who dropped out of school?
There's enough research that there is less and less of a correlation between academic achievement and "natural" intelligence as a child progresses through the education system. A child’s natural ability may not be visible or may be latent, as was perhaps in Einstein’s case.

If you can successfully coach your child to do well at 11 plus and develop your child to have the other necessary kills to do well eg concentration, memory, motivation, self discipline etc then they CAN do well at Grammar school. The brain is like any other muscle in the body, it needs a workout to develop its intelligence, but too many parents give up on their child too early on in life based upon so called professional advice of the primary school teachers. I am not saying that you can make an average child into a genius that would be far fetched, however, there is room for improvement in a child’s intelligence level.

Had I listened to the so called professionals in the education system my daughter would be in a state school and would not have gained the vast skills and maturity she acquired by preparing for the 11 plus. By doing the 11 plus preparation early on it avoided the stress and pressure that some of the children feel when they get coached on 3-6 months in advance which I think is far more “traumatising” for a child than the relaxed approach I took by starting early.

I would not discourage any parent from starting 11 plus preparation early – I can only see it as beneficial and a learning process to acquire skills which will help the child do better academically later on.


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 Post subject: over coaching
PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 3:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2006 7:32 pm
Posts: 410
I must say that I too have always thought over coaching is wrong. I do feel Spirio has made some valid points. However If I were you Spirio I would of been questioning the school as if you were able to teach your child and bring her to such a high standard why didn't the school. That I believe is where the problem lies. Clearly your daughter had potential but it wasn't being brought out in her which is probably the case with alot of children. I do still think though that perhaps your child is an exception as I still firmly believe that if a child needs more then a year in coaching then they should not be put through the test or Grammar school. My son had 4 months coaching from Feb to May then I took over(wasnt getting the RIGHT tutoring) and I must admit I did think maybe I should of started earlier just to ease the pressure. However when it comes to my daughter I will start in the January not before. Up until that point I will just ensure I spend more time with her reading and expanding her vocab and yes will keep visiting this site for more tips.

MelX


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 Post subject: Re: over coaching
PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:13 pm 
Mel X wrote:
I must say that I too have always thought over coaching is wrong. I do feel Spirio has made some valid points. However If I were you Spirio I would of been questioning the school as if you were able to teach your child and bring her to such a high standard why didn't the school. That I believe is where the problem lies. I still firmly believe that if a child needs more then a year in coaching then they should not be put through the test or Grammar school.
MelX

I agree Mel, my son sat his 11+ in Sept and we began preparation at end of May, but did very little in August due to other committments and I think we would both have benefitted from starting a little earlier or doing more in August, but there we go.

I believe that a little over a longer period is more beneficial for the children than an intense shorter period and if we had received more support form the primary school education procedure we would have done this.

Basically we were given no encouragement or information regarding anything to do with secondary education and no indication as to whether my son should attempt the 11+ or not despite always having been in the top groups for all subjects since reception class and getting level 4a's in yr 4 and 5's in year 5

I also agree that the system does not always get the best out of each individual child and therefore you cannot always take the results from school as the only guideline as to whether they should attempt the 11+ or not. Why do all children not have the opportunity to try,if they want to and their parents agree?


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 Post subject: Re: over coaching
PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:31 pm 
As regard Mel X's comment that a child should not need sit the 11 plus if they need more than year's coaching - I think it is important to put into context what level of preparation and pratice we are talking about since 6 months of heavy preparation may be equivalent to 24 months of light prepration.

I know some parents who start a few months before the exams who give 1-3 hours a daily practice on top of homework plus extra hours at weekends - this may be acceptable in the few weeks before the exams but may be excessive if started at this level earlier. In the end there may not be such a big difference in the number of hours put in by the child as people seem to believe when comparing children who recieve 6 months coaching and children who get 1-3 years of coaching.

I agree that there are some children who will rarely achieve the standards and have to struggle alot and they would not be suited for grammar school, however i also think they are unlikely to get the high marks required for admission to most schools in the first place.

All I can say is that if parents leave it to the last few months are they really giving their child the best opportunity to prepare in a stress free environment?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:49 pm 
I think it all depends on what you deem to be 'coaching'. If you mean sitting your child down to practice the actual tests then, of course, three years is way too early. However, if you mean ensuring that their vocab, maths and reading skills are of the highest level, then three years is not too early.

I think most parents on here would be doing the latter anyway so coaching in actual technique would not be necessary until much nearer the actual exam.


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