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The end of tutoring to get into grammar schools?

Competition for places at the 164 selective schools in England has always been fierce – with parents going to great lengths to help their child secure a place in their chosen school. A popular way to help children has been to employ the services of a one to one tutor or tutoring school to help them prepare for and pass the 11+ or entrance exam required for a specific school.

Last week it was reported in The Telegraph that education authorities are planning to change these tests to make them ‘tutor proof’ because they are worried the wrong children are winning places at selective schools.

Some headteachers are reporting that children have been intensively ‘trained’ to pass a test only to struggle when they start at the school. Many feel a test should only be a part of the selection process to give those who can’t afford tutoring a better chance.

At 121 Home Tutors we work with many children who sit the 11 plus exam and we think selective schools are a good thing, allowing for variation in our school system. Grammar schools tend to be highly academic and therefore need a rigorous entry test to ensure those who are capable get the places. In our experience the children we tutor for 11+ are already well suited to this type of school and the kind of assistance they need is to do with timing during tests and putting the ticks in the right boxes! We know there are children who aren’t suited to grammar schools and are put through intensive coaching, unfortunately usually by pushy parents who will be that way regardless of the school.

For us tutoring for the 11 plus is all about helping children achieve their potential, often they need  extra support outside of an already overstretched education system.  Deciding who should and shouldn’t be put forward for a grammar school place is tricky – do we allow schools and parents to nominate a deserving child who then may end up being tutored anyway because the school and parent want them to be ‘top’?  Our concern is that by changing the test to select those best suited academically might be harmful to those who are naturally bright or simply encourage parents to seek out independent schooling.

What do you think about tutoring to get a place at grammar school?

If you want help with tutoring for 11 plus in Manchester (Trafford) and Cheshire call 121 Home Tutors.




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