I know quite a few kids who got into Tiffin (boys) without being tutored BUT... they fall into two categories. the strangely bright ones who are reading Philip Pullman, Tolkien etc.. at the age of five and the ones who have incredibly dedicated mothers (sorry - it is usually mothers) who ban TV/computer games etc and have them sat at the kitchen table working for a long period each evening - which is very hard if you work and have other kids.
Haven't ever heard of a normal bright bouncy workshy boy cruising along and getting a place after very little practise. Would love to though! Isn't that what should be happening?
I have one exact same kid as you described above. Read the whole of Narnia series before reaching seven, huge vocabulary, regular hard work on daily basis, no television in the house, hundreds of books shelved and piled up in his room (including Tolkien, Pullman and the latest translation of The Count of Monte Christo
unabridged and unexpurgated!), everything going for him with both parents with some sort of teaching background. What does he do? Leaves seven questions unattempted in Langley NVR test. What can you say? I just told him that everybody gets a second chance and only idiots drop the ball repeatedly. Tiffin here we come! I guess some days you are bound to self-destruct but some days you are destined to shine. Maybe yesterday was not his day. I will pick up the pieces and we will give it another go. I think all systems, specially in education, are a bit biased against us the "right-brained" people in favor of the majority, i-e the left-brained folks:
No matter how hard I try, I can't see the dancer turning anti-clockwise.
Back to the original topic. What do these heavily tutored kids do when they finally start their schooling at these good schools? How do they cope? If they were all really tutored to get their places then they would fail to meet the standards required to survive the pressure of studying in a highly competitive group of peers. I am sure this is a myth that only tutored kids get into any good school. That school would surely collapse or the child would breakdown as more tuition would be needed for his survival in the new system. I am sure majority who get admissions in these good schools are not extensively coached. The myth of the necessity of tuition for success keeps tutors in the business but in an ideal world 11+ should be a test of a child's abilities, not his tutor's. I don't know anybody who successfully got to get their kids pass 11+ through extensive coaching. My son goes to a private (Prep) school and the kids get only 6 hours of coaching into how to do the Common Entrance Exam limited to repeatedly doing NFER Practice Papers in an after-school class during October and November of Year 6. They do English as well which leaves only 1 1/2 hour of preparation for each test! Still most kids get into good schools as they are trained to work very hard and get daily homework and are strictly required to read extensively and regularly.