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Our tutors are dedicated school entrance specialists with track records of success getting children into top London schools.

Does my child need a tutor?


Perhaps your child is incredibly capable and academic. Is this enough alone to pass their school entrance exam?

Having made the decision to send a child to a secondary school with a selective entrance exam such as the 11 Plus, parents’ thoughts necessarily turn to how to support their child to do well in the requisite tests and interviews. Chat at the school gates and on local parent forums can often be a buzz with names of mysterious tutors with two years waiting lists and guaranteed results. However primary and prep schools themselves often discourage parents from engaging tutors, saying they are not necessary, and school will cover all bases needed for entrance exams.

So what’s the truth? As usual, it depends…

Things to consider if your child is currently in a state primary school

1. Curriculum

State schools follow the National Curriculum and will therefore make sure the whole of the KS2 curriculum is covered by the end of Year 6, with a view to their cohort doing well in their SATs. However, even if they have large groups attempting school entrance every year for local selective schools, they will not teach the syllabus in time for the tests.

Senior school entrance exams usually take place in the Autumn term of Year 6 and yet the whole of Year 6 and some of the Year 7 syllabus is included. Parents must therefore seek a way of bringing forward the acquisition of the Year 6 syllabus to the summer holidays after Year 5 at the latest.

2. Reasoning

Reasoning is an important and growing aspect of testing. The subject breaks down into Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning and is believed by many to test underlying academic potential, which is why so many schools are interested in including some reasoning tests in their admissions processes.

State schools will not teach Reasoning skills or give time to Reasoning practice in Years 4 and 5 when children need to build up fluency and skill gradually over time.

State school parents must therefore find a way to teach the Reasoning syllabus to their children and help them become familiar with the main types of Verbal and Non-Verbal questions used in the entrance exams of their target schools.

Parents can often fall into the trap of believing that Reasoning ability is an innate talent and cannot be taught. This is categorically not true. Of course, children will begin their school entrance journey with an aptitude for Reasoning, but there are a limited number of permutations of questions in both Verbal and Non-Verbal and we believe all children can improve their scores in the following ways:

  • 10-12% by being taught how to approach each type of question
  • 10-15% through speed and fluency as these tests are usually extremely time pressured

Things to consider if your child is currently at a Prep School 

Theoretically, Prep Schools teach the whole 11+ curriculum to land their pupils for entrance exams in the Autumn Term of Year 6. 

In truth, you cannot afford to outsource your child’s senior school entrance campaign to their school. Even if they cover the whole syllabus, they cannot give each child enough individual attention to ensure they run their best race. You as parents will need to understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses and backfill, as necessary. You will also need to corral your child’s efforts at the very specific schools you are targeting, rather than a broad cross section of schools the teacher will need to cover across a whole class. 

Furthermore, schools, no matter how dedicated and sophisticated cannot develop the soft skills required for a good, confident interview, current affairs knowledge, and museum visits etc. 

Please find further information on interview topics and advice.

Other considerations if your child is at a Prep School

Parents need to be aware that prep schools have their own long-term agendas when managing school entrance across their year groups and need to maintain positive relationships with the many senior schools they feed. This can mean that parents sometimes feel they are being pushed towards schools that they feel are pitched wrongly for their child’s ability or personality. 

Our 40 years of experience, dedicated school entrance Coordinator and experienced tutors can give you independent advice and options.

Other times when working with a tutor will be important

  • If your child has additional needs and one to one tuition can provide a confidence boost and individual tailored support
  • If your child has missed some school or has post Covid learning loss
  • If you would like your child to apply for an academic scholarship 

Find out more about scholarship tuition.

How we can help 

Here at Mentor, we run an annual school entrance programme, from January of Year 5 to the January of Year 6. Encompassing the whole syllabus, the programme covers all disciplines tested in the exams themselves, plus exam technique and question practice. This allows young children to develop at an appropriate pace, with no element of cramming.

A child being tutored by a adult woman. Does a child need a tutor is the question!

Our School Entrance Coordinator

One of the main advantages of working with a full-service agency is that we can coordinate your whole journey. Our dedicated school entrance coordinator works to get to know you, your child and your aspirations. We can flex our services to reflect what you need at any point.

If your child’s needs change throughout the year, our Coordinator can swap out a general school entrance tutor, bringing in Reasoning experts or scholarship experts as needed.

Essentially, our coordinator’s job is to stay close to your journey and assist every step of the way.

We also offer Academic Assessments, test papers, interview practice and mock exam workshops, giving your child the skills, knowledge and self-confidence they need to shine on their assessment day.


Get in touch

How can we help you? Get in touch today and one of our friendly team members will get straight back to you.