Tag Archives: 11 plus

Skype online tuition

Sadly, due to the coronavirus situation I have had to pause face to face tuition.

Don’t forget that I can offer online tuition if you would like to keep your studies going while schools remain closed. I am available during the day as well as some evening times and am happy to offer weekly or fortnightly lessons – just contact me for more details.

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Back to tutoring!

After all the excitement earlier in the week with the publication on Amazon Kindle of The Vispadjinn – the book which I have co-authored under the name Sherwood H Smith – it’s back down to earth now as pupils start to return after the summer break.

Just this week I have had 4 new pupils start and many more enquiries for later in the term. Once again this year there are many pupils wanting help towards the 11+ for Reading Boys. I notice that parents are seeking help earlier this year – by which I mean  for years 5 or even 4, rather than year 6. It is good that parents are realising that improvements in English are built over time – it is not a matter of acquiring a body of knowledge.

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11+ tuition

hist_we3

No apologies for recycling this post from earlier in the year. I am receiving quite a few 11+ enquiries at present so it’s very relevant.

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!

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11 + exams looming?

I make no apologies for recycling this blog as it follows on perfectly from my previous post!

If your child is at present in the state system but intending to take 11 plus, Common Entrance or entrance exams for a private school they may be at a disadvantage.

They may very well be gaining excellent marks at their school, even top of the form, but they may not have studied some of the areas which private schools take for granted. This is especially true in English where knowledge of parts of speech and accurate spelling and punctuation are often given greater weight in the private sector. I find many pupils are not used to their written work being marked for all punctuation and spelling mistakes; they are often rather shocked by the amount of red when I return homework. Their teachers may concentrate more on the imaginative/creative content in order to encourage writing. This is not necessarily wrong – just a different approach. Teacher training courses often tell prospective teachers not to mark everything as it will discourage  pupils.

Pupils who are already at prep schools and within the system will be more used to these standards. When I taught in a prep school,  pupils of 8 or 9 were often tackling work at the same level as secondary first year. Scholarship exams for the most prestigious schools can be way above GCSE level in subjects such as English, Latin and  French. There are many excellent books that can help your child prepare for 11 plus and naturally (!)  I would suggest that some private tuition can be of great benefit. Coaching in moderation can help level the playing field for state school pupils in particular.

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11+ tuition

hist_we3

 

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!

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II plus exams looming?

If your child is at present in the state system but intending to take 11 plus, Common Entrance or entrance exams for a private school they may be at a disadvantage.

They may very well be gaining excellent marks at their school, even top of the form, but they may not have studied some of the areas which private schools take for granted. This is especially true in English where knowledge of parts of speech and accurate spelling and punctuation are often given greater weight in the private sector. I find many pupils are not used to their written work being marked for all punctuation and spelling mistakes; they are often rather shocked by the amount of red when I return homework. Their teachers may concentrate more on the imaginative/creative content in order to encourage writing. This is not necessarily wrong – just a different approach. Teacher training courses often tell prospective teachers not to mark everything as it will discourage  pupils. Pupils who are already at prep schools and within the system will be more used to these standards.

When I taught in a prep school,  pupils of 8 or 9 were often tackling work at the same level as secondary first year. Scholarship exams for the most prestigious schools can be way above GCSE level in subjects such as English, Latin and  French.

There are many excellent books that can help your child prepare for 11 plus and naturally (!)  I would suggest that some private tuition can be of great benefit. Coaching in moderation can help level the playing field for state school pupils in particular.

Moderation is the key word and I’ll enlarge on that in a later blog.

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