The school closures earlier in the year had an impact on every student, but for those preparing for the 11-Plus, it was a particularly stressful time. As the Year 5s looked set to miss their last full term before exam season, and Year 4s faced the prospect of entering their final year of preparation on the back foot, we decided to launch our online group classes to keep students up to speed.
Following some great feedback over the summer, and with ongoing changes to the 11-Plus format this year, we are continuing to offer these sessions on a regular basis. Led by two tutors, with no more than 10 in each class, these targeted sessions cover all the material children can expect to face in the 11-Plus. Focus on the more unfamiliar topics of verbal and non-verbal reasoning has proven particularly effective with the Year 4s, who now have a whole year to hone their skills. While exam technique and interview practice have been a great confidence boost for those sitting the test soon.
Running these classes as group sessions not only allows children to reconnect with each other, and make new friends outside of their usual bubbles. It enables critical peer-to-peer learning, as students support each other, work together and share new ways of tackling problems. Each bringing their own strengths to the table, it has been wonderful to see children come out of their shell as they explain new ideas to others – in turn, building their own confidence and understanding in a supportive and safe space.
As one of our group class students, Olivia, shared: “They helped me to be more confident in speaking and contributing to discussions with other children I didn’t know. The sessions also helped me with English comprehension and creative writing. Doing exercises and working in a group, where I could share my answers without being judged and learn new techniques from others, has been incredible.”
The 11-Plus has always been a stressful time, with children carrying the weight of expectation and the fear of the unknown. Our group classes are designed to create a supportive environment that builds familiarity with the subjects and the papers, while also allowing children to enjoy their learning in an interactive and engaging setting. We are careful to group children with complementary learning styles, but that doesn’t mean every child is at exactly the same stage. By teaming different ages and abilities, these sessions are both challenging and reassuring.
Many schools have changed their application procedures this year, with some switching to the ISEB Common Pre-Test, and others placing greater emphasis on interviews. We continue to stay abreast of these changes and are adapting our sessions to prepare children for any eventuality. If you have any questions, would like to book onto one of our 11-Plus group sessions – or have an idea for a new group class you’d like us to explore – please just get in touch with the team.