My child really struggles with their 11Plus homework, what can I do?

As a tutor I have conversations with parents all the time about homework and the level of difficulty. Their main question being; if my child cannot do their homework that is set by their tutor independently, should I be concerned?

My answer, you’ll be glad to know is, not necessarily!

There is a difference between supporting your child with their homework and doing their homework for them.

If your child can do some of the work and remember some of what they have been taught but just require reassurance and for you to ‘fill the gaps’ then this isn’t a cause for concern.

If however your child seems to have no idea about their work (on a regular basis), seeming to have never seen anything like it before and needs you to teach them all of the necessary skills to complete the work; then yes you should seek to find out why this might be.

It could be due to the tutor or quality of tuition that your child is receiving, but you should also make sure that the difficulties are not due to your child finding the work too challenging, due to their ability.

For many students the requirements of the 11Plus exams are too much and they would be more comfortable and more suited to school that isn’t a grammar school. One should never lose sight of the considerable demands of this examination. If your child is not working ‘above the national expected attainment levels’ then this exam won’t be suitable for them and they will struggle considerably.

Have a chat with your child’s class-teacher and ask them if the 11Plus is a realistic prospect for your child. Most teachers will provide a frank and very well considered view on this. They are in fact the best professionals who will know all about your child’s ability and their opinions should be carefully heeded (no matter how hard they might be to hear!)

You could also get your child independently assessed by another tutor to see if their findings concur with your child’s attainment with their current tutor. Look for tutors that offer obligation-free assessments, as they are less likely to skew scores in their own favour.

Free of charge assessments aren’t necessarily the best, so shop around and go on recommendation from other parents wherever possible.

Lastly always have a frank conversation with the child’s tutor; ask them about the homework and how your child should be doing with it.

Their response will also give a good picture of what they might do to help your child wherever possible.