Ditto james and guest. Totally agree with you both. I have not had my children coached to pass the 11+. I decided to do some work with them at home myself. By buying books and papers from this site and a few from W H Smith. We didn't religiously go through the books start to finish, but picked out a few topics that they needed help with. From October half-term we did a few vr papers and then went over any points they were getting wrong. I tended to be the same type questions reoccuring.
We went into the exam with a very relaxed attitude. No pressure, no big expectations. We put the Chelmsford Grammers first, then the Westcliff grammers (generally you can get into Westcliff with a lower pass then Chelmsford Grammers). But realistically were expecting our third choice school, which we would have been really please with. to our amazement our child was offerred KEGS (Chelmsford). We were very surprise. I definately think the relaxed attitude helped. Some of my sons friends were so pressured by their families, they had been having tutoring for the past year and now they have not got their first choice they feel failures.
I couldn't afford to pay a private tutor, nor would I agree to paying a private tutor to pass an exam. These children are going to have to cope in Grammer, they will have to cope with GCSE's, A's and possibly Uni. You cannot coach your child through life.
In Chelmsford we have one rather populare tutor. He boasts 80-90% pass rate of a Grammer place. He charges £26 per hour, each session lasts one and a half to two hours and coaches in groups of 6-10. However, to have the honour of him coaching your child you have to pay £170 for him to assess your child. He only takes on the very capable and you have to ask yourself, would these chilcren have passed anyway. they then have to agree to give up all other activities for that year otherwise he will not take them on. No scouts, guides, dancing, football, music, clubs etc. He says they must be fully focused. from Summer holidays onwards he sees your child 5 times a week. Can you imagine after all this, the childs disappointment if they don't get their first choice school?