For our DD we deployed a hybrid approach to tuition and support. DP1 focused on English (as Petitpois's English and grammar is sloppy). PP supported NVR and maths. TV and tablets were banned on average 2 days per week during term time, although it can be hard, to keep that up consistently up. A lot of the time rather than do any work, that mean't playing with Barbies or drawing, painting or making cakes. Making cakes was good as measuring scales introduced maths and conversion without thinking about it directly (and you get a treat at the end).
Sometimes they go to after school club which is basically intense play, so both DD would generally come home over fed and emotionally unable to do anything extra, so we just let things slide on those days.
We managed to always get school homework done (priority), even when this did not directly link to 11 plus, e.g. building a model castle or designing a flag etc etc. For maths we used school provided "my maths" on line tool (we really got into this after relatives from Trafford area recommended and they had three successes into MGS and Altrincham Girls) and did as many year 6 boosters as we could on that, from start of Yr5. The on line reporting helped identify any issues, e.g at start of year 5, school had not done, fractions, %, area or volume effectively. Then we would also do the homework from tuition. It seemed like endless worksheets at the time, but 1 hour school and 1 hour tuition homework every week, is probably a fair reflection, plus a bit extra to make for gaps from the school.
We looked at 3 tuition options.
A) we met with two or three private tutors £25-£40, but did not trust or buy their sales stuff.
B) We then went one of the main 11 plus providers and they quoted us between £5000 and £7000 for 12-15 months tuition plus a series of in built mocks exams. Apart from price we laughed when he said no feedback as his job was not to pacify parents
C) Finally found an independent school in Birmingham that had really good general reputation and was doing tuition for equivalent of £13/hour. Max class sizes of 6. Most impressed with the staff and the ethos. So two hours every Saturday, there from towards end of year 4. They were by no means perfect, but what is (perfect) and in any case we had a wobble where DD refused to attend, because yr6 lads were belittling her. Lost a month of paid up tuition through DD refusal to attend, screaming and wailing and probably the lowest point on the journey
DD often complained throughout and had to be cajoled to go, but we regularly had to cajole school homework out of her, as well. Made all the worse by pointless soul destroying comments from parents and teachers about hot housed kids. I really think that is complete rubbish.
I guess what I am saying is don't be afraid of a hybridised approach, to preparing for 11 plus.
Tuition is no substitution for your role as a parent. I don't think you can easily get away with handing over to a independent school and tutor and then expecting them to work miracles.
I genuinely think parents that chuck money at tutors are at little more advantage than those that do nothing.
One measure of a good tutor is if they are wiling to tell you that your child is likely to fail. Where we went it was either you were told 1) extra tuition will help your child, but be realistic. Vs 2) keep up the work and try and get DD up to a regular 90% on bond papers regularly. My last conversation with the tutor was that I felt DD was borderline and they said no she is a bit above borderline, but keep going and keep practising. Work on these areas etc etc.
Overall I would review regularly where you are. Me and garden pea discussed probably weekly (sometimes daily). Hope this gives a flavour for the journey, and some insights to help you decide if tutoring us right for you. BTW, NVR is a big one, because, its not done in school. Discussing with garden peas sister yesterday, she warned me not to be too formulaic, as DD2 is a different character than DD1. Roll on next two years of 11 plus fun and games!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Last edited by Petitpois on Sat Sep 26, 2015 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.