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Staunton Tuition Overview, Ethos & Grading System

Staunton Tuition: Information for Parents

I hope this overview of Staunton Tuition aims, ethos and assessment protocols is beneficial for parents.
For further information don’t hesitate to contact me. ~ Tutor: Robert Staunton 

Staunton Tuition Ethos & Tuition Grading System Explained:

For children in years 5-6, as well as complementing primary education, the main goal of tuition is two-fold: firstly to get children ready for entrance exams to the top secondary schools and secondly to prepare them for the academic rigour thereafter. The role of Staunton Tuition is to give children the strategic and tactical skills needed to do well in exams and assessments. However, every effort is made to do this in an individual and child-centred way. This means that I try to ‘tune’ into each learner and nurture their potential. Tuition sessions are stimulating and often fun, but there are firm boundaries for achievement. In years 1-4, tuition is less exam focused and more interested in developing key skills and ‘filling in any gaps’ especially around literacy and numeracy.

Children who are being prepared for Grammar School will not only learn Reasoning skills, but also the ‘academic habits’ that lead to higher attainment. These habits, like reading the question thoroughly and checking work, are not rocket science but need to be taught, tested and reviewed until they become second nature. The types of skills required to pass the 11+ are transferable to other disciplines and build up a core ability in achievement. So not only are children prepared for exams but are prepared for life after them, which means there will be residual benefits that help them in key stage 3 (years 7-9) and beyond.

In years 5-6 children are usually assessed in each session, in what I call ‘mock tests’. These short timed tests are conducted after a period of reviewing homework and after strategies for success have been taught. The tests allow me to see how effective a student is in putting tactics into practice and also foster academic independence, which is often ripe for development by year 5. Students learn how to think strategically, problem solve and manage their time carefully. By assessing children weekly, they become accustomed to being tested and it takes the stress out of the process for the child. As with the Nottingham High School ethos, I like to ‘stretch, but not stress, students’. I also try to encourage an atmosphere of co-operation where students ‘compete against themselves’ to improve, rather than each other.

Staunton Tuition Grading System Explained:

Staunton Tuition’s grading system is loosely based on the one used at Nottingham High School, as follows:

    • Grade A** for 100% – perfect performance.
    • Grade A* is an amazing performance which is well above the level expected.
    • Grade A is meeting expectations and Grade As are broken down in the following ways to indicate their relative merit:
      • A+ is outstanding
      • A is excellent
      • A- is good
    • Grade B is moderately good
    • Grade C or below is more of a cause for concern

The grading system is used as sensitively as possible to avoid any negative impact on self-esteem. Generally students get quite excited about their grades and seem to grasp this system easily.

At Staunton Tuition students are set the target of 80% (grade A-) so as to be on track for an 11+ pass to either Grammar or private school. Grammar School 11+ pass mark levels are shrouded in mystery, as scores are standardised to age with an undisclosed formula. One can generally work on the basis, though, that around 75% is the pass mark. However, in order to be guaranteed entry the boys will need a mark of 78-82%, depending on the annual cohort (King’s School take the top 140 boys and therefore the pass mark varies). As well as appearing to have a slightly higher pass mark, Kesteven & Grantham Girls’ School (KGGS Girls Grammar) takes home postcode into account. However, I imagine that getting a top mark assists, especially at appeal.

In short, aiming for 80%+ is the safest bet for gaining entry to all Grammar and private schools. Even for children going to non-selective schools, being confident in exam skills is crucial, as pupils are carefully assessed in their first year to discern ability for streaming. I also believe that for all children it’s good to aim high and to have high expectations. As long as support is in place when children struggle, this aspirational approach is beneficial. I like to think of successful education offering ‘compassionate pressure’ whether it be in Staunton Tutorial or elsewhere.

Staunton Tuition: Years 1-4:

In years 1-4 Staunton Tuition concentrates on building the key skills of numeracy and literacy, using Bond Assessment, the Montessori system and drama/role play, among many others methods. The aim is to carefully screen for any gaps in the child’s developing academic profile and respond with a tailored approach. Some learning is conducted outdoors and full advantage is taken of the small group to maximize learning. If your child is at a state primary school you may notice that there will be more homework than is set by school class teachers. If any parents have any questions about their child’s development or indeed homework tasks, they shouldn’t hesitate to call me. Assessment grades in years 1-4 take into account effort as well as attainment. Timed tests are less frequent but children are encouraged to make the transition from teacher dependency to independent learning. The child has an emerging academic ability that requires a lot of nurture.

Staunton Tuition: Feedback in Years 1-6:

Much feedback is given directly to the student, but each term I send home the assessment logs which show attainment scores. If parents want more detailed feedback, it is best to telephone in the mornings when I am generally more available. It’s usually better to telephone me rather than trying to catch me before or after a session when I may be busy. For year 5s, I ‘traffic light’ each student in June according to their performance. Green students are predicted a pass. Amber students have a good chance of passing but will have specific targets, which are shared with parents. Amber/Red students are border-line and have major areas for development. Red students are not expected to pass and parents may be advised to consider carefully before sitting their child for the 11+ exam. ‘Traffic light’ predictions are shared with parents by telephone and I give detailed advice as required. The evidence used for the June predictions is based on the real 11+ Exam Papers, published by GL Education.

© Robert Staunton 07.02.

Feedback from Parent:

“This is just a short but sincere word of thank you for all your help in tutoring M. through his 11+ exam and for keeping my wife and myself on an even keel with your balanced advice. M. is hugely proud of himself and his achievement and has come out of the other side with a real understanding of, ‘it is himself,’ that creates the results through his own effort. We are grateful to you for helping instil that in him. His score was 244 and we are hopeful of a place at King’s which he is keen to take up…” (Father of year 6 student).

Feedback from Year 6 Children:

“Dear Robert, …thanks for teaching me it was so fun. I will do you proud in my 11+! Thank you!”

“To Robert, Thank you for everything including the extra lessons. I would not have passed without you… From K.”