This really is the sixty-four thousand dollar question. Many parents send their child to private tutors either one to one or in a small group. In preparing your child for his or her 11+ exams you must be certain that the person that you entrust your child to is honest, trustworthy and does not present any threat to your child's safety and that you will get value for money. Sitting in a group of 15 or 20 pupils is not much different from being in a school classroom and personal attention to your child may be limited.
So that’s the nuts and bolts of it but what should you expect from a private tutor and will a private tutor help my child pass the 11+ exams?.
The tutor’s learning program for any eleven plus Maths or elevenplus English preparation should be designed to achieve the maximum effect in improving your child’s understanding of these 2 core subjects. The teaching and expected learning outcomes should both be structured in such a way that learning builds on learning from one week to the next week. As topics get more difficult the learning outcomes should dovetail into each other.
Ideally any private tutor should develop the child’s desire and enthusiasm to learn fostering self-learning skills and developing skills and knowledge perhaps not yet covered at school. Eleven plus Maths or elevenplus English are core subjects that will be well covered in any school and not just for the 11+exam.
The real challenge for any 11+ private tutor is to teach the child Verbal Reasoning for the 11+ and
Non-verbal Reasoning for the elevenplus. This may provide students the opportunity to study material they have not been really been taught before. Many schools and LEAs actively discourage any form of preparation for the elevenplusexam and this is where a private tutor might earn his (or her) money.
Opinions vary as to when to start preparing a child for this demanding test. Some tutors recommend at least a year in advance, others say 2 or even 3 years a head of the test. There can be no definitive answer to this as the ability, interest and knowledge of children will vary greatly but remember tat to aprivate tutor “time is money”. When to start really is a question for the parents who know their child best. A private tutor should probably be attempting to raise the level of work to a level higher than that of their current school grade.
You should remember that the eleven plus exam is a very demanding exam and while a private tutor may help your child there can be no guarantees that they will ensure that your child passes the 11+ exams.
Any tuition for 11+ Verbal Reasoning and 11+ Non-verbal Reasoning should be specifically designed to match the style of questions or every exact topic covered in the 11+ exam that your child will sit. Remember that these 11+ papers can vary widely for county to county or school to school. Some schools now set online elevenplus exams and so clearly preparation of this type would be essential.
As the parent you should always make sure that you know what the content of the eleven plus paper is.
The bar will be set very high in what students are expected to achieve and often in a relatively short period of time. To a private tutor time is money and ensure that you get value for money as there are many good “How to Do Verbal Reasoning” type books on the market. A competent and interested parent can often “tutor” their own child using these books.
A small company - Learning Together - produce a very good range of “How to” type books that will guide parents through these subjects.
Equipped with this knowledge you now are better placed to answer your own question. So “How will a private tutor help my child pass the 11+ exams?”
The answer is not clear but however attending a good tutor will usually be very beneficial for your child and recommendations from friends and family can be a useful way to link to a good tutor.