Why choose M Bower Tutoring?

Unlike some tutors, I am a practising professional primary school teacher with an in-depth knowledge of contemporary teaching methods (although I also realise that some contemporary teaching methods are somewhat long-winded and confusing, therefore I won´t teach or use techniques that waste time in an exam situation). My track record of pupils gaining a grammar school place is excellent. I generally tutor small groups because children can often inspire one another to achieve more, learn from each another and be a source of encouragement. I help students to view learning material in a variety of different ways: discussion, interpretation and analysis, which in turn is likely to enhance their interest in the subject. Friendships can also be made and sustained if they end up going to the same grammar school.



How do I know if my child is suitable for the 11 plus?

As a guide, pupils should be well above average in reading, writing and maths. Their school may refer to this as ´working beyond the expected level of attainment.´ If you are unsure then speak to your child´s teacher. Before 2015 I would have recommended that your child should be at least at Level 4.2 (sometimes referred to as Level 4C) in maths, reading and writing at the end of year 4. Unfortunately these levels have now been scrapped so are not relevant anymore.

Teacher assessments are generally a far more effective way to assess a child than by giving them a quick initial test because a teacher gets to know the child over the whole academic year and should have an excellent understanding of him/her as a learner. On the other hand, a short test may bring up numerous weaknesses that are easily rectified within a few sessions and may not give a true reflection of a child’s ability.

Your child will need to cope with extra homework and be committed to doing it each week. Overall, he/she has to want to do the 11 plus exam because it will probably be quite a challenge for them. Please contact me and come round for a no-obligation chat about your child’s needs.


How do the sessions work?

Sessions happen once a week and last for one hour and 15 minutes. They take place either at my own home classroom, or at a student´s address where there is a practical workspace.  We focus on the methods needed to answer specific questions that will occur in the 11 plus exam. For both boys and girls we focus on maths and English. Ideally students should arrive 5 minutes before the start of a session. Unlike some tutors who take on up to 12 students and charge similar prices, my groups have no more than 5. For children taking the exam in September 2018, sessions started at the end of September 2017.


Is there a program of study over the year?

Yes. From late September until February, we look at basic and essential skills required in maths, reading, writing and grammar. In February, the learning becomes slightly more advanced and these subjects are then tackled at a more difficult level. From late May we start practising multiple-choice 11+ papers and from June these then become the main focus, along with some essay writing (boys only), up until they take the 11+ exam in September.


Can you guarantee that my child will gain grammar school entry?

This can never be guaranteed, but I will work hard and provide them with relevant learning to ensure they have the best chance possible. Competition for spaces has become extremely tough over recent years, so please be realistic about your child’s chances of success and always have a second choice school in mind which you are happy with.


Do you tutor during the school holidays?

Sessions during school holidays are similar to sessions during the school term. Some tutors will not tutor at all during the summer holiday which is a crucial time building up to the 11 plus exam in mid to late September. I feel it’s crucial to include some summer holiday sessions so that momentum isn’t lost (school children often go down a sub-level or more in core subjects between July and September). There will be occasions during school holidays when I am away and you will be made aware of these.


How do I register my child for the 11 plus exam?

Girls can register online for the exam at http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/11plus.htm whilst boys can register through DHSB at http://www.dhsb.org/admissions/

The 11+ exam takes place on two Saturdays in September.

To apply for the mock exam in the summer then you need to register through the grammar school itself. The mock exam takes place in June or July.

See http://www.devonportgirls.plymouth.sch.uk/news/?pid=3&nid=1&storyid=26 and http://www.phsg.org/11-practice-exam for the girls’ schools.

Devonport High School for Boys prefer you to visit the school to pick up an application for the mock exam.


What is provided for the students?

I will provide the basic essentials such as exercise books, paper, pencils, worksheets and other relevant learning materials. All children are given suitable homework, which is vital to ensure consolidation of the learning. I ask parents to mark the homework (answer sheets are provided). I also encourage parents to help their child with any misunderstandings after the homework has been completed. This can make a massive difference to their progress in the long term.


Are you insured?

Yes, I have public liability insurance.