Every year I receive many enquiries for 11+ tuition for Reading Boys. The exam includes papers in English, maths and verbal or non-verbal reasoning. I am always totally honest and tell people that I am trained to teach English but not maths. I actually did subsidiary maths at university ( we had to do a non humanities subject), but being able to do maths and teaching it can be two quite different things! VR and NVR both test intelligence and as such can really only be practised not taught. VR is helped by wide reading and general skills in English so can improve over time with tuition.
The level required and the competition for places seems to increase each year and so parents have to consider carefully their choice of tutor. Tutors who can offer both English and Maths are typically Primary school teachers who will not necessarily have taught at the level required for 11+ entrance. Secondary trained tutors will in general only offer 1 or 2 linked subjects – for example languages or sciences – not English and Maths.
This means that over the years I have turned away many pupils who ask for tuition in English and maths. This year for the first time I have agreed to ‘help’ with maths as well for a potential 11+ candidate. I have agreed with the parents that I will go through practice papers with him and we will continually monitor and reassess the situation. In the past it has been my experience that the level of maths in primary school pupils is fairly good and it is the level of English – particularly accuracy – that lets them down.
I’m hoping this will be the case and my maths skills prove more than adequate so I can stop turning away all these potential pupils!