Should I use a Private Tutor to Prepare my child for the 11 plus exam?

Navigating the decision to engage a private tutor for your child's 11+ exam preparation is indeed a significant undertaking, laden with considerations ranging from safety to the efficacy of the learning program. It is, as you aptly put it, the "sixty-four thousand dollar question." Let's delve into the key aspects and expectations surrounding the involvement of a private tutor in your child's 11+ journey.


Safety and Trust:

Safety is paramount. Parents must ensure that the private tutor is honest, trustworthy, and poses no threat to the child's well-being. Background checks and thorough vetting processes are prudent steps to take.

Group Size and Personal Attention:

Consider the class size. Smaller groups or one-to-one sessions can provide more personalised attention, a crucial factor in effective learning. In a setting resembling a school classroom with 10 or 15 pupils personal attention may be compromised and this type of private tutor may be a waste of not only your child's time but your hard earned money.

Learning Program:

The tutor's learning program should be meticulously designed to maximise understanding and skill development in core subjects like Maths and English before moving onto more complicated 11+ Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning. It should foster a desire to learn, promote self-learning skills, and cover topics progressively, building on previous knowledge.

Focus on Reasoning:

A significant challenge lies in teaching 11+ Verbal and Non-verbal Reasoning, which often involves material not extensively covered in schools. A skilled private tutor can bridge this gap, particularly when schools might discourage preparation for the 11+ exam.


Timing of Preparation:

The question of when to start preparation varies. Some recommend a year in advance, others suggest two or three years. The decision should align with the child's ability, interest, and knowledge, keeping in mind that a private tutor's time is a valuable and expensive resource.

No Guarantees:

While a private tutor may significantly aid your child's preparation, there are no guarantees of passing the 11+ exams. The exam is demanding, and success depends on various factors, including the child's effort and readiness.

Tailored Tuition for Reasoning:

Tuition for 11+ Verbal and 11+ Non-verbal Reasoning should be tailored to match the specific styles of questions in the 11+ exam your child will take. The content can vary widely between counties, schools, and online formats.

Understanding the Exam Content:

Parents should familiarise themselves with the content of the 11+ paper your child will sit. A clear understanding allows for better support and collaboration with the tutor to the benefit of your child.

Value for Money:

Given the demanding nature of the 11+ exam, time is a crucial factor. Parents should ensure they get value for money from private tuition. Sometimes, resources like well-crafted "How to" books can be equally effective in supporting learning.

Recommendations and Reputation:

Recommendations from friends and family can be valuable in identifying a reputable tutor. A good tutor will be in great demand but will usually yield positive results and foster an environment that is  conducive to good learning by your child .

A Symphony of Success:

Beyond the academic rigors, the private tutor becomes the "conductor orchestrating a symphony of success." It's not merely about passing the 11+ exam; it's about instilling a passion for learning, nurturing curiosity, and fostering a mindset that extends beyond the immediate challenges of the 11+.

Partnering with Parents:

The private tutor isn't just a standalone figure in this journey but a collaborator with parents. The partnership extends beyond tutoring sessions, involving parents in the learning process and creating a holistic support system.

Beyond the 11+ Exam:

Success in the 11+ exam is a stepping stone to a broader educational journey. A proficient private tutor plants the seeds for a future where the student not only excels academically but also embraces the joy of learning for learning's sake.



In essence, the decision to enlist a private tutor is a major investment, in both time and money, that transcends the boundaries of a single exam. It's about sculpting a mindset, instilling a passion, and preparing the student for a lifelong journey of intellectual exploration. The symphony of success, conducted by a skilled tutor, resonates far beyond the 11+ exam, echoing through the corridors of a lifetime of academic achievement and personal growth.