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Transfer tutoring is no use for pupils

With respect to Stephanie Bell's article (September 14), surely neither the Government nor the grammar schools are to blame for the costs of tutoring.

Parents are determined that their kids will achieve the best possible grades in transfer tests, whether or not these demonstrate their genuine ability, and they will pay handsomely.

The explosion in the use of private tutors reflects the current uncertainties, but it simply means that more children who don't really have the inherent capacity to achieve in the grammar environment will end up with distorted grades, securing admission to schools at which they will then struggle.

Maybe if the parents themselves spent more time working with their own children, they would be able to make informed judgments, help address some of the academic weaknesses and also save themselves a lot of money.

And what of the children who receive an hour or more of additional tutoring every week and still don't get into a grammar? How will they feel?

Like failures, maybe? Will their parents feel cheated? Will they sue the tutors for taking their money and then failing their children?

Will a tutor be honest enough to tell a parent that they think that the child just doesn't have the ability?

Tutoring in these circumstances is a racket: it artificially prepares a child to pass one exam, but can make no impact whatsoever on that child's future performance in an environment that will become increasingly demanding as time goes on.

Parents should rely on their instincts, their own knowledge of their children's strengths and weaknesses and the advice of their children's teachers.

COMMONSENSE

Newtownabbey

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