20 Aug Do You Know Something I Don’t About The 11+?
As an Educator, I have had plenty of memorable experiences over the last 10 years. Head of Department, Head of Year, taking school teams to National Football and Athletic Finals (Non-educational maybe for you cynics but one of my proudest achievements, just don’t ask about the result!), Director of a tutoring agency where I can explore my real passion of helping families (From all walks of life, Richmond to Beverly Hills!) and last of all tutor working all over the world (Or as I like to describe myself as a motivator, the majority of students have the capability but they must believe in themselves and actually want to succeed). There are two things that stand out in my mind of being the toughest challenge. Some of you educators might be able to relate.
In Second place, organising a sports day for 1,500 pupils is unbelievably difficult and gives teachers nightmares I still have them to do this very day. But in first place, cracking the 11+ to one of the toughest independent schools in the country. That’s a real journey and every parent could do with a tip or two (We are really nice at Regal Tutors so you can have 10!).
In London, going to an independent secondary school is a selective process and only the best and the most determined will get their first choice. If your special little one is bright, you will inevitably try to get them into a grammar school or an independent school. Welcome to the 11+! But please remember: selection is ruthless and pressure inevitable, regardless of who is undertaking the exam (Fee payers are up against bursary-receivers remember). But, you know this already otherwise you would not be reading this blog.
After speaking to someone at a top independent school a few years ago, they told me they had over 1,000 applications for just 170 positions, I know from experience this is the norm now. It is worthwhile to note that some schools limit the amount of applications they will consider to 250-350. If you are lucky to make it to the next stage, you look forward to a day of written tests and a 1 hour interview (Britain’s got talent..). If you are the desperate parent you need to know that preparation is vital, if you get the process right. You could be telling your friends and family, those magic words,
“HE/SHE GOT IN!”
1.Preparation is Vital. You will need to hire a tutor, and an experienced one who has been there and done it before, especially if you have a preference of schools. Don’t get scared to interview and try several candidates ( We recommend this at Regal Tutors). A good relationship between a tutor and student is crucial. Some students are tutored to death, and I must admit I see a benefit to this,sometimes. But I also, know about over-tutoring that can make the process boring. Most important, motivate! This leads me nicely to my second tip.
2.Think EPIC Rocky Balboa type speeches and a reward system with bonuses. The majority of children are both motivated intrinsically and extrinsically. We welcome clients to use our “CHART FOR SUCCESS”, with a reward at the end eg we all know, that Boy’s will do anything for a new pair of CR7 Football boots.
3.Please do not go and cancel a child’s social life as life must go on. They must stay being apart of teams, and doing music lessons for example. Simply, structure regular sessions with tutor’s into your schedules, there are some really good 11+ courses out there as well check out @iPrepTutoringUK.
4.Resources. I know that the majority of parents use the bond papers and these are great. However, I have started to introduce parents to the @LT11plus Learning together resources. Which have some excellent test papers which are well worth a look. Test papers can give you a really good perspective of their progress.
5.Pick your choices carefully. I try to help parents manage their expectations. Also, listen to what their current teachers think. Especially, if they think they are borderline for a specific school. Advice is crucial, I tell parents to “Follow your heart, but take your brain with you!”
6.Pressure on parents. From experience pressure is more stressful for mums, you need to keep the process as simple and stress free as possible. Hide and manage your stress levels.
7.Keep upto date with world affairs. Make sure your child is up to date on the biggest stories in the modern world. Students are regularly asked to analyse situations or events. Reciprocal teaching is a great process for this (Student is the teacher). Most recently, I have had a student tutor me about Brexit, even made me consider my own choice. “Will I be IN or OUT?”
8. Manage your diary. Exam dates and interview dates will inevitably clash. You must prioritize which schools you would like your child to go to over exams. The same must be said over football fixtures and swimming competitions.
9. Decision time. Once the results come in, you might be left with waiting over a grammar school results or making the initial payment for an independent school. “ Follow your heart, but take your brain with you”, springs to mind. Have a clear plan of what you will do in any event. Think about your plan B.
10. Budget. The 11+ will cost you, not just financially but emotionally. Make sure, you have worked out your financial restraints. Some tutors can charge upto £150 an hour, but if they will make a difference they must be worth it.
I wish I could tell you, I have given you the magic ingredients for the recipe of 11+ success. But the reality is, all families have different circumstances. There is more than one way to cook an egg (the idiom about a cat is way too grotesque for me).
But it is a total package type of thing, you are in 100% or not in at all. Sure implementing some of them, is better than not implementing none at all. Make sure you are the one that says “HE/SHE got in!” and “Follow your hearts but take your brain with you!”