If you are looking for a secret weapon to help improve your child’s chances at school, or to pass the all-important entrance exam, then Daniel Coward is the heavy artillery. Demand for his services is such that one mother even booked him ahead for her second child soon after discovering she was expecting.
Daniel is clearly very good at what he does – so why is he about to re-take his 11+?
Sitting the exam alongside Daniel is his team of specialist tutors. Exam conditions are in force and the atmosphere is tense. On the desk in front of each person sits an exam paper, prepared by a professional examiner, ready to be flipped over the moment the word is given and the clock started.
The reason they are doing this? These tutors believe that the best way of keeping up-to-date with entrance exam standards and having first-hand knowledge of the actual experience of taking the exam is to put themselves in the place of their students.
None of the tutors sitting (re-sitting) the exam will achieve 100% because, in common with real entrance exams, this test doesn’t pose questions which are strictly right or wrong. This is another valuable lesson to be passed on to their young students. The tutors are also able to better empathise with the stresses of being in a highly competitive situation. This is because once marked, the results of this mock test will be openly shared amongst the team. Plenty of pressure, then!
When looking for a tutor for your child, checking whether they are up-to-date with entrance exam standards is just one aspect of the due diligence you should carry out. After all, the investment you will be making in your child’s academic success will probably be a considerable outlay, and you don’t want to get it wrong.
What to ask when looking for a private tutor
Was the tutor educated at an independent school?
Insider knowledge of ‘the system’ is important. If you can find someone with experience at the school to which you are applying, so much the better. Getting a taste for the culture of the school before your child starts will help him/her to fit in and therefore to settle more quickly.
Is the tutor simply ‘moonlighting’ on top of a full-time teaching job?
Surely preferable to find someone who is fresh and enthused in the evening, rather than someone who is wilting after a day in the classroom.
Has the tutor himself/herself taken the entrance exam for this school? Or indeed, sat any entrance exam for any school?
Will your tutor be able to speak from experience, when discussing the pressure and nerves your child may feel?
Do they have appropriate tutoring experience?
Have they taught at the level you require, in the subject(s) you require?
Of course. A no-brainer. (In case you aren’t up on the regulations, DBS checks are the background and criminal record checks which those applying for positions working with children need to undergo, and replaced the CRB checks a few years ago).
What is the teaching style of the tutor?
It is important that lessons with a tutor are fun and interesting – but not too entertaining. While fun and games could make for a jolly few hours, the chances are this type of teaching would be too unlike school and could therefore prove a short-sighted strategy.
How long is the tutor’s waiting list?
If you are looking for personal service, you should expect there to be a waiting list.
LUXURY CHESHIRE spoke to Daniel Coward, who is Education Director of Peak Tuition, an education consultancy which covers the Cheshire area.