Tutoring for the 11 Plus and Common Entrance Exam

Parents eager for their children to succeed in 11-plus and Common Entrance exams will be interested to learn that the Department for Education has found one-to-one tuition significantly benefits children whether they are struggling to meet key stage targets or indeed are “academically more able”.

The importance of one-to-one tuition for students who are falling behind has received considerable press since the former Deputy Prime Minister’s speech addressing the need for “catch-up” tuition for pupils who have not reached level four in their Key Stage Two exams at the end of primary school.

However, the Department for Education has also published guidance about how one-to-one tuition can benefit pupils who are highly capable but not reaching their potential.

The DfE guide, ‘Quality Tuition: Academically More Able’, states that one-to-one tuition is effective because it engages pupils in their learning in a way which is not always possible in the classroom. Many bright pupils have diverse learning preferences and approaches, which need a wider variety of teaching strategies.

If you are one of the parents keen for your child to secure a place at a selective secondary school, you are probably already considering whether home tutoring could help ensure your child is confident and prepared for the tests ahead of them.

In 2011, the Institute of Education reported on a survey in two grammar schools that found 72% of the students had undertaken private tuition prior to entry. “This was mainly to help prepare children for the 11-plus, Common Entrance, Key Stage 2 tests and other examinations used in the secondary selection process,” confirms Judy Ireson, Emerita Professor of Psychology in Education.

Unsurprisingly, the parents most likely to enlist home tutors lived in areas with intense competition for school places. In October 2009, the Observer reported up to 20 children had to contend for grammar school places in extreme cases, highlighting how the time and dedication that a private tutor provides a pupil can determine whether that pupil scores highly enough to receive an offer from their preferred school.

When selecting a home tutor, Professor Ireson advises parents to be conscientious in their choice. ‘”Caveat emptor” is just as true in employing a private tutor as with purchasing any other service,” Professor Ireson says.

Home School Tutoring (HST), established in 1984, has offered quality home tuition for over 25 years. A rigorous registration procedure ensures that all tutors are suitably qualified and committed to enabling effective and engaging learning, and meeting HST’s high standards. Certificates of qualifications are verified, references are obtained, and an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is made to verify candidates’ suitability.

Area Advisors for Home-School Tutoring have been teachers, head teachers or lecturers, and are passionate about the difference home tutoring can make to a pupil’s progress, attitude, understanding and confidence. Area Advisors provide advice to parents considering home tutoring and match pupils with the tutor best suited to their needs. Area Advisors maintain regular contact with tutors throughout, while inviting and responding to feedback from parents.

Caroline Kent, a qualified and experienced teacher, is the Home-School Tutoring Area Adviser for Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. She says, “Our primary schools do excellent work with the time and resources available to them but the focus and encouragement of a private tutor can be priceless for many children. Whether it is just for a few lessons, a term, a year or for continued on-going support, it is so rewarding to see pupils fulfilling their potential and excelling in the 11-plus and entrance exams.”