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Private Schools provide extra coaching for students to pass 11+ exams

An undercover BBC South East investigation into ten fee paying schools in Kent has revealed that nine out of the ten schools tutored their students in how to pass the 11+ exam. This type of coaching isn’t allowed by the local council to ensure that all students sitting such exams in the area have the same chance of doing well whether they go to a state or private school. But is it only academic ability that is being tested here?

Those who score the highest on these exams are offered places at local grammar schools with supporters arguing that selective schools provide a chance for bright students from poorer backgrounds to get a higher standard of education without having to pay school fees. However, critics say children from wealthier backgrounds have an unfair advantage because they are often coached in school, or attend private tuition.

In fact with social mobility figures in the UK at an all time low many fear that this type of coaching in private schools creates a divide between children from wealthier backgrounds destined for university and good jobs, and children from working-class backgrounds destined for less lucrative roles. The consequences of this early start in the right school can have a long term effect on the make up of society. As we are well aware the worlds of journalism, politics, law and the arts are dominated by those who have studied at elite schools. The school you attend, as well as the network of peers you connect with, can determine the future success of your career.

In light of this many feel that both state and private schools should be allowed to prepare their students for the 11+ exams as they do for any other test, this would be the most obvious way of ensuring a level playing field according to members of Kent council as well as the CEO for the Independent Schools Association. What do you think the best solution is?

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Is Literacy a problem in the UK?

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Theresa May and the Revival of the Grammar School: What does it mean for your child?

Recently May’s government announced plans to give £50m to existing grammar schools to increase the number of places for students applying for those in demand places. But what does this mean for a parent planning and preparing their child for the 11 plus entrance exams?

The schools will continue to be as selective as before with a boost in resources if their bids for funding are accepted this September. In fact children will still need to meet the schools standard entry requirements with some schools offering the extra places to children who live out of the area. At a time when such selection criteria is vital the government explains this plan is to increase access for disadvantaged pupils and for these schools to work with local schools to improve outcomes for all pupils and give more families access to a good school place.

Studies show that children with an advantage such as extra tuition often out perform those who sit the exams without the preparation. This can give a child the edge over those others in the competition for the few places each school allocates.

My child is really bright; surely we don’t need to bother with tuition.

Tuition is not simply about learning, it is about overcoming challenges with the support of qualified teachers. It allows students to develop the confidence to realise when they don’t understand a question and learn tools to overcome this issue. Equally the subjective nature of English means often there is no wrong answer; it is more a question of making a good argument. A lesson a week for 12 weeks can help students go up a grade – if they are paying attention. In some ways tutoring is really well supervised revision with a confidence boost. No matter how bright all students can use help finessing their skill set.

How Tuition helps:

  1. Customised lessons tailored to students
  2. One to One teaching gives more time and attention
  3. A choice of tutors
  4. Increased confidence
  5. Help with homework and test practice
  6. More interesting materials and forms of study
  7. Flexible and convenient
  8. Saves time and effort

Compared to large classrooms, with numerous distractions a tuition session is more relaxed, allowing students to take in information, overcome their weaknesses and gain the edge over other students. No matter how bright a child is, the more opportunity for practice and the exposure to a variety of skills will help them to stand out from the crowd and excel.

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