As the school year draws to its final term, many parents with children in Year 5 will be looking at the choices open to them for secondary school.
For many parents and children, the process of choosing which schools to apply to and the preparations for sitting exams for the selective schools can be daunting. With so much competition for a few top schools, the matter is made worse and in some areas of London in particular the north, the process of preparing for secondary school may seem to require a military type approach.
There is much in the media about schools wishing to boycott testing for primary school children, with some teachers insisting that no coaching is necessary. It is easy to underestimate the advantages that extra tuition can provide. Even the brightest of children will need some exam practise and help with exam techniques and time management. Unless your child attends a ‘prep’ (preparatory) school it is unlikely that his or her teachers can adequately prepare them for the selection tests or entrance exams.
Coaching for the exams
Some parents prefer to have one-to-one private tuition for their child while others like the camaraderie of the group tuition. Each method has its merits. At Advance Educational Services, we are able to offer an assessments service for a general appraisal to identify whether you child needs a more intensive one-to-one tuition to cover key significant gaps and deficiencies or whether a group environment will be suitable. Planning ahead is essential for success. Don’t leave things to the last minute as you and your child will be disappointed.
The summer leading up to the exams season is a good time for your child to really work hard and plug any gaps in learning. The ATC Summer School offers an alternative to working in isolation at home. The long established Summer School for Year 5 children focuses on the four key elements of entrance exams – Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, Maths and English. Children also get the chance to work under exam conditions. This year the children will attend for two hours a day for one to three weeks between Monday, August 2 to Friday, August 20. The course is very popular and places are highly sought after. Many parents who have chosen the one-to-one private route for tutoring their children have found the 11-plus course a useful way of identifying whether their children are on target with their preparations. Other children are accommodated in the general courses covering maths, English or sciences for children aged five- to 15-years-old.
Working at home
Success with selective school exams requires team-work – the child, tutors and parents works together. At home, you can do a lot to raise the confidence of your child. For instance, shared reading (of books, newspapers and magazines) helps build strong family bonds and helps to raise your child’s comprehension age – needed for inference questions. You can also support your child by ensuring that they have time and a calm environment for studying. The most important task, however, is to determine the family’s attitudes to and expectations of the whole exam process. A worried anxious and over-pressured child is unlikely to perform well.