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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:13 pm
Posts: 49
Hi there,

I am very new around here so hello everyone :-)

DD is in all top sets and is achieving 4A-4B with reading age of 12 yrs old. I have had my Year 5 DD in tutoring for nearly a year now. Unfortunately the tutor wasn't really targeting all of the areas that he needed to, plus his teaching methods were very questionable. I have now switched tutors but am very disheartned by the whole thing.

The new tutor looks very promising. DD had assessments with the new tutor (Latymer tests) and did not score very high in Maths and English but NVR was excellent.

The areas of weakness were quite suprising and I feel as though I have been let down. I am concerned that my DD has too much work to do in so little time. I am trying to do as much as I can at home with her plus she will now be getting a better standard of tutoring and daily homework, targeting the areas that need work.

There are no other schools in my area (Enfield) that I would want her to go to and with the requirements for Latymer being so tough, I am starting to lose faith. I am sure that DD will do well in any school but I do want her to go to a very good school as I feel that she would benfit so much from a grammer school education or even an independant school education.

I have visited a lovely independant school that DD loved - Palmers Green High School, but we cannot afford the fees.

Does anyone have any advice or words of wisdom at all?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:28 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:23 pm
Posts: 332
It sounds like you're pushing her too hard - daily homework seems excessive if she's been tutored for a year. Don't rely on tutors - some are rubbish. Get your dd to do a maths test and see what areas she hasn't covered yet at school and cover them. Crack down on careless errors - repeat till she gets it right. If once she's learned a subject she still can't understand it, grammar school may not be for her.

More than that - is it your dd or you who wants her to go there? Motivation is easier if it coms from within.

Finally, she should read widely and not panic - if it is meant to be, she'll gert in; if not, a bright child will thrive in any good school.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:08 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:13 pm
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herty wrote:
It sounds like you're pushing her too hard - daily homework seems excessive if she's been tutored for a year. Don't rely on tutors - some are rubbish. Get your dd to do a maths test and see what areas she hasn't covered yet at school and cover them. Crack down on careless errors - repeat till she gets it right. If once she's learned a subject she still can't understand it, grammar school may not be for her.

More than that - is it your dd or you who wants her to go there? Motivation is easier if it coms from within.

Finally, she should read widely and not panic - if it is meant to be, she'll gert in; if not, a bright child will thrive in any good school.


Thanks, we are doing homework maybe 5 days out of seven, I dont necessarily agree that homework every day is excessive, it depends on how much. She is doing maybe 30 mins a day plus reading.

DD is motivated to go to this school, the only thing she has said about is that she thinks that it's a school for geeks! When we visited Palmers Green High School, she thought it was amazing, and suprisingly she didnt say anything about it being for geeks :wink:


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:20 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:23 pm
Posts: 515
Location: North London
Hi SamB

Don't panic! You still have until October before the NVR test at Latymer, the Eng/Maths test is about a month later. As Herty said you need to pinpoint the areas of maths that have gaps and work on those. As for the English, just get her to read lots and my DD has improved massively just working through the Bond English books which are great for grammar and comprehension.

As for schools. PGHS has a very different feel to Latymer. Have you considered Henrietta Barnett School in Hampstead Garden Suburb? It's selective like Latymer but is all girls and has a closer feel to PGHS than it does to Latymer, and it has no catchment so you'd be fine applying from Enfield.

The other thing it might be worth doing is talking to the Bursar at PGHS to see if you'd be eligible for a bursary to assist with the fees if you did send your DD there.

I don't know where you are in Enfield but Southgate School and Highlands School both have very good reputations and are both community comprehensives.

Hope that helps.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:29 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:23 pm
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Location: North London
Oh, and I forgot to say my DD is year 5 too and will be trying for Latymer and HBS in the autumn. Some days I think she'll sail through and on others I wonder if she knows how to write her own name, but I definely think it's worth trying.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:41 pm
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Hi there,

We self-tutored our dd for her St Michael's and Latymer exams last year (she gained a place at her 1st choice, and would have been given Latymer if it was our 1st choice too). There were four girls in DD's class who sat both exams and who were all home-tutored. All have gained places at their 1st choice school and only one did not sit Latymer R2. For us it was important to know what DD was learning and be able to have control over the fine detail as we were in a similar position to you with alternatives (as we live in Haringey!). Our problem with the tutor route was not knowing accurately dd's progress. Without speading paranoia how do YOU know she is good? That she is covering all the work required?

You state that she is good at NVR. That's really important for the Latymer test as it is tested in R1, and the top 500 or so (out of 1700+) progress to R2. When you reach R2 the chance of a place is about 1:2 because many people put Latymer as their 2nd choice (3 out of the 4 in our class who sat the tests did, and a scout around this forum will back it up) and the list moves down quite a way before allocation day.

There are lots of different publishers and online tests around if you fancy doing it yourself, and you already have set time aside each evening for 11+ work. This forum and the subject forums are fantastic for supporting home-tutoring - it made a HUGE difference to us :D :D

For NVR we worked through the Bond 'How to Do 11+, AE workbooks and the 'Learning Together' one. We then gave her a variety of tests, starting with the Bond assessment papers for 9-10 (it builds confidence and familiarity), Bond 10-11 (remember you don't need 'cube nets as they aren't in the real test), IPS 10 minute and full tests (the closest in subject and style to Latymer), Athey, Learning Together, and various online ones from this site and schools. We didn't set the actual papers until she could whizz through the tests, scoring (at that point) at least 85% in time (buy a stopwatch). Later on you can split the tests into 20 question segments to mimic the real exam which allows 10 minutes for each with no return. Rework weaker areas until she is confident. By October she should be scoring over 90% within time, and preferable higher, as they re-standardise the results on the NVR with soley R2 candidates :shock: :shock: :shock:

I don't know how your tutor can judge her against the Latymer English paper as the only thing available is the practice paper sold last year. There has only been one actual English test, and that was in November. DD sat that and found it different in style to the practice one they sold us. The real one (from her memory) had a not too challenging Comprehension (she felt it was easier than the St Michael's one the month before, and found it easier than the Habs Boys, Emanuel School, Greenwich and 'Schofield and Sims' book 4 ones). The Grammar was subtle. She remembers a question about explaining the difference between 'the teacher carried only the books from the room' and 'the teacher only carried the books from the room'. The Composition was a straightforward one about being lost....and she adapted a practice essay to fit the question. We asked dd to write essays on a number of subjects, which she could adapt - and it worked! We used some creative writing workbooks to help dd's writing skills as they had fallen behind (a succession of teachers were busy inproving the below average children). We spent almost every Saturday working on her writing and comprehension skills (her grammar is excellent) and she went from a 4b (easter) to 5c (summer) to 5a (christmas) as a result. The 'New First Aid in English' book is highly recommended for the basics.

With maths you must cover all the subject first. There is a Bond 'How to Do' maths book, AE tuition workbooks and the KS2 books in Smiths are also good. Buy some mental arithmetic tests as speed is important. Then onto the assessment and 10-minute tests. You could introduce actual papers towards summer (especially if your daughter is sitting the Sutton Mocks), but hold off on the Latymer ones until she is scoring well in the others as they require a different approach. DD only reached Q32 in her first Latymer paper before she ran out of time. She had scored 48/50 in a Redbridge mock Maths test the previous Saturday! After a few weeks practice she was scoring 44-46/50 in them and I then gave her Habs Boys papers which are of a similar level. Rememeber in the Latymer maths the average score in the exam is under 30/50!

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:19 pm
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Agree with lemondrop and herty in their comments. I'd add that for maths you need to practise times tables and mental arithmetic till they're totally second nature. They need to spend their time in the maths paper working out the problem and not, 7x8 for example. Latymer's maths papers are wordy, problem based so practise this type of question, many of the indies have past papers on their websites as well as going through the Latymer papers themselves. Speed and accuracy are important. Also recognising patterns such as prime numbers, fibonacci sequence, square & cube numbers - again saves time in the test working out that this is what they are.

For English there is now a grammar/punctuation section in the paper, so make sure your DD practises that as well as comprehension and writing - you could copy sentences from a newspaper/book and add some spelling mistakes, change spelling of a homophonic word, remove punctuation etc. and get her to correct them.

As lemondrop says, NVR is in October half term (normally dates issues by alpha order) so you have plenty of time to get up to speed yet. Make sure that is secure as you won't get through to the 2nd round to show off your maths skills otherwise. :roll:

Sorry, can't help with PGHS - it's not sporty enough for my DD so we didn't consider it for very long, but they struck me as very different schools in terms of gender, size, sport/music focus. You have to go with your gut feel of which would suit your DD best.
Good luck to you & DD :D


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:07 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:13 pm
Posts: 49
Thanks to everyone for your comments. Very helpful, lots to digest.

Lemondrop -Henrietta Barnett School is a bit far for my DD, it's not the first time that it has been mentioned to me. I know that it is a lovely school. I will give it some more thought but DD really doesn't like the idea of commuting so far and I don't want to push her. We are based in Bush Hill Park, so I will look into Southgate and Highlands, thanks.

PGHS - yes, looking at the bursary scheme at the moment, so I will wait and see what the school says.

2Gilrsmum - Lots to take in here, thanks for the information :-)

chicko-mum - Again good advice all around. Mental arithmetic is something that she needs to work on, DD likes online maths games, just trying to find the right online tools to help in this area.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:01 pm
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Location: Herts
hello, plenty of time left no need to panic, we know people who got into QEB and DAO who only started in the summer holidays. The most important thing is your commitment and your dd wanting to go there. Sign up for some mocks, get your name down for the Sutton mocks which is doing English for the first time this year, that will give you a good idea where you are. You will have good days and bad days, I have a inbox full of pms from posters who had moments of panic but are all now sitting there with offers from selective schools, hopefully that will be you this time next year. Good luck and keep posting, we are here to help. DG


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:14 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 12:37 am
Posts: 101
Location: Barnet
Daogroupie wrote:
hello, plenty of time left no need to panic, we know people who got into QEB and DAO who only started in the summer holidays. The most important thing is your commitment and your dd wanting to go there. Sign up for some mocks, get your name down for the Sutton mocks which is doing English for the first time this year, that will give you a good idea where you are. You will have good days and bad days, I have a inbox full of pms from posters who had moments of panic but are all now sitting there with offers from selective schools, hopefully that will be you this time next year. Good luck and keep posting, we are here to help. DG

Exactly! I was one of those panicking mums and yes I did pm DAOgroupie for help, and she always gave constructive comments and personal support.


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