Current Issues in Education and Tuition
How do I help my child to pass the 11-plus or achieve success in an entrance exam?
One of the most helpful ways of preparing your child for the 11-plus or an entrance exam is for the child to practice the exam’s style and content over and over again. Educational research suggests that one of the ways to achieve this is to engage a private tutor who has prepared tutees for the 11-plus and entrance exams and has a successful track record of success.
However, it is difficult to assess the quality and experience of a tutor from their personal profile and the initial first few lessons. Parents need to ask probing questions about the tutor’s experience, success and tutoring style. Ask family and friends. Talk to parents at the school gate and ask for personal recommendations.
Reputable tutoring companies will always interview prospective tutors and assess their suitability as well as monitoring their tutoring success. They will also ask whether the tutor has a valid enhanced Disclosing and Barring Service (DBS). Tutors who are also teachers will certainly have one, as will some other employees, but some prospective tutors will not have a current DBS. Parents should also ask tutors for independent references relating to their role as a tutor from previous clients.
On-line tuition is another option
On-line tuition is also another option. However, parents need to be aware that Entrance Exams and the 11-plus are not standardised in all areas. Therefore, it would be helpful if the tutor has more local experience or can research the style, format and content of exam being taken. Experienced tutors will know how to access this sort of information to ensure that their tuition is fully relevant to the exam itself. However, with this reservation, parents should not dismiss on-line tuition because their children will find it perfectly acceptable because they are so computer literate.
Practice makes perfect
Parents need to speak to the schools themselves about the content and format of the entrance exam or 11-plus. Often schools have examples of previous entrance exams on their websites. Regular practice on past papers, combined with thoughtful preparation, will give the child the best possible chance of passing.
Preparation beyond the classroom
Parents need to grasp every opportunity to broaden their child’s educational outlook by arranging visits to museums, art galleries, places of historical and cultural interest. Visits like this are very engaging and help a child to relate their experiences to the curriculum. They also provide the family with an opportunity to learn together and enjoy the cultural experience. Many museums are free and it can prove to be a relatively inexpensive day out if you take a picnic and drinks.
Parents and carers should maintain and encourage their child in their other interests and pursuits. Remember that the child needs to continue to enjoy their hobbies: football, gymnastics, dance, music and swimming. Don’t sacrifice such pleasures simply to spend more time on examination preparation because the youngster may resent it and underachieve as a result.
Revision booklets and guides
There are a myriad of revision booklets and revision guides available on-line and in book shops. However, get a recommendation from the school as to which are most suitable because educational publications tend to be generic unless they are written for a specific G.C.S.E specification for a particular examination board. Again, ask the school for specific advice. An experienced tutor may already have this sort of information from previous tutees. Use their experience and expertise.
The build-up to the 11-plus or an entrance exam can be a stressful time for both parents and children. Keep things in perspective. Recognise the fact that there are many excellent comprehensive schools if your child does not achieve the place you are pursuing.
Be especially careful to avoid giving you child the feeling that they are a failure if they do not achieve their goals. Such a stigma is both untrue and unhelpful. The days of the 11-plus traumas of the 1950 through to the 70’s are gone. Young people should not feel as though they are defined by their success or otherwise at the tender age of eleven!