Tutor view: Sannah Private Tuition, Halifax

Name: Sannah O’Connor, Sannah Private Tuition

An average of half an hour daily in year 4, building up to an hour a day in year 5 is ideal for 11-plus preparation, says Sannah O’Connor.

Top tips for maths: Becoming familiar with practising word problems early on is essential. Many children are fantastic at retaining and understanding mathematical concepts and facts but struggle to apply them in the context of multi-step problem-solving.

Regular practise of mental arithmetic is crucial too for time-saving on the day of the exam and can be done whilst going about daily life. For example, asking your child to add up the price of items in the shopping trolley whilst going around a supermarket.

Top tips for English: Vocabulary is key, I can’t stress the importance of reading widely (fiction and non-fiction, modern and classics) to expand vocabulary and fully understand the meaning of words in varied contexts.

Not only does this assist knowledge for the comprehension element of the 11-plus but also the writing. Nowadays, children who are reluctant readers can lose themselves in audiobooks, which is great too. I actually e-mail out a 11-plus recommended reading list to all parents when their children first start tuition with me.

Top tips for verbal/non-verbal reasoning: As mentioned above about extensive vocabulary, this also aids progress in verbal reasoning. Having a systematic and methodical approach to solving problems involving logic and patterns is key too. Some students work from an approach of “process of elimination” whereas others start from what information they’re missing and requiring.

Are you now offering online tutoring? Yes, I’ve been offering online tuition since mid-March and I’m loving the doors of opportunity that it’s opening.

How are children responding? Extremely well, as most of the students would also agree, the hours just fly by! The transition was extremely smooth. Students can be tutored at the optimum time of their choosing and families can easily request extra sessions here and there if needed, which also helps.

When should a child start preparing for the 11-plus? Start of year 4 is best as it allows two full years for preparation of the exam.

How many hours a week does a child need to study? An average of half an hour daily to start off with, building it up to an hour a day in year 5 is ideal.

Best materials to use: I use Zoom and Bitpaper along with CGP, Bond and Target Your Maths textbooks. The CGP and Bond ones come in a great variety of formats (such as 10- minute tests), so they’re child-friendly and accessible.

Schools tutored for: Crossley Heath Grammar School and North Halifax Grammar School

How long have you been a tutor? 8-plus years as a tutor, 10-plus years as a teacher.

Price of tuition per hour: £30

Website: Sannah Private Tuition (Also on Yell, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter)

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