So many parents worry about appearing pushy and work hard to keep their inner tiger mother well hidden. But don’t be afraid to have your eye on the next academic milestone. My son is in Year 3 and I haven’t mentioned anything to him about the 11+ yet, and don’t plan to for a while. But I am on it – and so should you be.
At this time of year we take a number of calls, texts and emails from parents with a Year 5 child signed up for the 11+ exam this September. But to teach the full verbal, non-verbal and spatial reasoning content, plus the extended maths, comprehension, punctuation, spelling and grammar in anything less than a year is just too much. It is possible, but will place a heavy burden of exam pressure on the shoulders of a ten-year-old child.
Alternatively, beginning 11+ training before Year 5 is unnecessary. If you have those Bond NVR books for younger children, then put them aside. Although we have a number of Year 4 clubs running locally, the children are not doing 11+ training. These clubs are designed to boost maths and English, to reassure nervous parents and children that they are on track, and to fix any underlying academic issues.
Getting in the habit of preparing early for exams is of huge benefit in the long run. Children who have been gently prepared for a whole year beforehand gain in confidence and learn valuable life skills. The weekend before the exam 11+ children should be on family outings, or at the cinema – not poring over Bond books or GL papers.
So think ahead and make a plan for the 11+. Earlier than Year 4, just keep times tables up and a put a strong reading programme in place. If they need a boost in Year 4, then think about a gentle maths and English club. But right at the beginning of Year 5, they need to be getting started.
CLICK HERE for our year 4 and year 5 clubs