I’ve been running a Facebook group and supporting tutoring businesses on various parenting groups including my own for 7+ years. And I never planned to go public with any of this.
No one wants to attack their own. No business owner wants to “bite the hand that feeds them.” But this level of corruption is wrecking families lives. Good people’s lives. And it’s time you heard the truth from someone on the inside.
In a post in my tutoring group in February 2023, I asked parents asking them if their child’s paid tuition was working.
Not surprisingly, the post started clocking engagement like a Ferrari.
Tutoring is a badge of honour in this industry, where it is touted as the be-all-end-all of 11-plus mastery. A magic formula for school success.
Then I dropped my next bombshell:
Why do you think it is not working? The comments about price, shoddy service and the lack of dedication started pouring in. But the real feelings poured through the messenger inbox.
I got heart-wrenching and devastating messages about tutors taking money for initial assessment and not taking calls after that.
Tutors who were comparing children to others ‘He doesn’t put in the effort that the others do.’ The boy the tutor was addressing was 10 years old.
Things like unspoken partiality where the tutor is giving detailed feedback to one parent and not the other.
Tutors with group sizes of 35 charging an exorbitant amount for a group class.
These were the parents hiring pricey tutors,
investing 4-figures on paid tuition and study programs,
and shelling out cash for elite agencies—
and then feeling lost about how to fill the CAF,
or how to choose a school, whether to fall in the catchment area
and the most important- how to motivate their child and keep them motivated till the end and then some more.
Unfortunately, this paid tuition correction has been coming for a while. And it won’t be a behind-the-scenes secret for much longer.
How do I know this?
See I’ve been running a 11 Plus Facebook group since 2015. I’ve personally served 15,000 parents, managed a group of 10,000 active members, and generated over a hundred testimonials.
The beauty of observing an entire industry from the inside is that you see trends that others don’t. As a result, I have access to more insight, spreadsheets, and data than most tutors, teachers, and specialists know what to do with.
After my informal post in my Facebook group, the magnitude of the situation hit me. Hard. Armed with this awareness, I set out to navigate the frontlines of the tuition industry to follow.
It started with conversations. Reaching out to parents to confirm what the numbers had been telling me all along.
Then, prompted by a closed-door conversation about the “dark underbelly” of the tutoring world, I posted a bolder post to my Facebook group. Screenshots of the messages I had received from angry, frustrated and disgruntled parents showing members the proof of what was going on. I stopped tutoring adverts in my group.
The response floored me.
And made me really ANGRY.
Dozens of responses. From brilliant and ambitious parents who’d sunk HUNDREDS and THOUSANDS into tutoring.
They told me how they’d done everything right!
From following their tutors’ blueprint to implementing the proven strategies, and the books, down to hiring the “best of the best”.
Sharing how they’d drained their life savings for the sake of getting their children ready for the 11-plus exams.
All for, well… nothing.
This is an EPIDEMIC, and it’s time for this B.S. to STOP.
And this is not just a rant.
You’re about to learn why tutoring isn’t working, and how you can bulletproof your 11 plus journey against this tutoring correction (or, * sigh * do nothing as you watch yourself get selected out of the schooling entry game).
First, we need a solid dose of context.
‘Cause there’s ONE THING at the core of this mess, and I’m done pretending that it’s not a problem.
Let’s turn back the clock for a second.
Up until 2020, tutoring was a near guarantee to getting into a selective school. A cash cow. A lottery you couldn’t lose.
Industry titans sold year-long programs, sold summer crash courses on how to replicate their students’ success.
A tutoring subculture dominated by money-hungry, factory-style, win-at-all-costs tutoring businesses.
A business ethos that’s publicly parent-centric, but privately egocentric (just follow the breadcrumbs of fear of missing out based marketing, silenced complaints, unacknowledged concerns and an emphasis on sales over service)
Now, I think we can all take a step back and agree that there always have been (and probably always will be) sleazy business owners.
But the UNIQUE issue in our space is that:
See, the large corporates weren’t the only pioneers in the tutoring marketing space. No. But they’ve been some of the loudest. And in a new, wide-open industry, being loud is enough of a differentiator to establish authority and claim a dominant market share.
So that’s what happened.
They invented the tactics.
They trained the smaller businesses.
Most current “best practices” are based on the foundation laid by this toxic brand of tutoring. If you don’t tutor your child, your child won’t get into that dream school.
See, for most of us, obvious tutoring-marketing tactics make us feel a little icky.
🤔 Splashing WhatsApp screenshots of fawning praise of school acceptance letters
😕 Stalking the comment section of a competitor’s ads to poach prospects?
😩 Posting photos of testimonial walls?
😟 Regurgitating ad copy like “Don’t let your child miss out on your school choice.’’
Thanks, but no thanks.
But when push comes to shove, I see most business owners default to subtler tutoring-marketing tactics that are fuelled by the same “sales-first” mentality.
It’s why everyone’s ads look the same.
It’s why every post is built to gain “parenting fans” at all costs: with fake scarcity, aggressive copy, price slashing, customized timers, and high-pressure sales—without giving a second thought to the parenting journey or children’s best interest.
If you’re using some of these tactics, it doesn’t make you a bad person. And it certainly doesn’t make you an evil, money-hungry minion.
It’s just more evidence that we’re all drinking from the same polluted pond.
Tutoring did work and still does.
Then what has changed?
Covid for starters.
Years of missed classes,
mentally confused families who didn’t know where their next pay cheque was coming from,
teachers who had their own lives and families to take care of but still showed up,
children who were locked up inside robbed of a normal childhood.
Then the selective schools carried on with their entrance exams like nothing had happened.
Tests which just got tougher.
Without the basics intact let alone the applications of algebra and comparing comprehension texts, tests went on as before.
AND that is when the tutoring businesses sprung like the sunflowers in the breeze, swaying like wildflowers, ready to take on all the parents willing to believe anything they said.
Tutors who were parents only a year before preparing their children now set up businesses which promised the world.
But you see, that is not what worked with their own children.
What really worked was their own time and effort they put
with their children,
on their children,
through their children.
Whether they had tutoring on the side was immaterial.
Because many did not.
Few did …but what was that that helped their children to beat the competition- what a sad world and it begins so early- get ahead of the line and secure a selective school space??
That is the question you should ask yourself.
This isn’t a time for band aids, tweaks, or pivots.
This is a time to reconsider the way you approach every phase of your 11-plus process.
If that sounds like too much work, I understand. So, good news: there are plenty of tutors who are still selling tutoring classes that teach children Maths, English and Verbal Reasoning. The tactics don’t work anymore—as I’m about to explain—but you won’t have to deal with learning a new perspective or rebuilding your parenting.
Even if you think your 11-plus prep is going smooth and stable, the tests are getting so challenging that you won’t be immune for long.
The current tutoring world foundation is crumbling—whether you agree with me or not.
Because you will see that preparing for the tests is not about tutoring or at the very least, not just about tutoring.
It is the mindset that needs to be at the forefront of the whole year.
Or years of gruelling work,
topics and question types that children need to be ready to tackle,
Tess of the d’Urbervilles,
comparative comprehension pieces,
rhyming synonyms…the list is endless.
And schools love throwing surprises at children and unsuspecting parents. Each year, the bar of challenges is raised higher and tuition centers spring like the list of never-ending scroll of Facebook posts.
But there were just so many seats in these elite and notoriously selective schools. The number of disgruntled parents is growing.
So, what makes this world so attractive, yet so negative?
When a tutor calls out a parent in a 15,000 big Facebook group about not getting praised for tutoring their child and the parent still wants to stick to the tutor because they have the best results around, it is time to pause and think.
When parents do not want to complain about a tutor or ask why they are not taking their calls after a paid assessment because they are on the appeals board, it is time to think about what has happened to the system.
Where is the transparency, the democracy, the simple courtesy of saying no thanks, I cannot tutor your child is missing, it is time to stop and smell the beverage.
Tutoring isn’t the only path to winning (and, really, it never was—we just couldn’t see it before).
You can unlock your children’s interest, get effective work done and increase their interest
by abandoning the tutoring,
learning a fresh way to bond with yoru child,
adopting a new paradigm
that shifts the focus from
to a place where your child takes the initiative
and comes up with their timetables and plans
to cover the humongous syllabus.
Here’s the key shift:
Instead of asking “What’s the best way to get into my dream school,” we start with an entirely different question…
“What’s the most natural way for my child to find their mojo, engage with the workload, and invest in the bonding we have?”
Once we know the answer to that core question, the rest is simple:
1. Identify key pieces for your target school’s admission rules, engagement actions that your child will find interesting, and conversations that naturally shape your child’s enthusiasm and love for learning new things and finding out about the schools they want to go to.
2. Build out a dynamic planned sequence that models this ideal parent and child journey (basically: give your child a clear path to follow that MIRRORS the organic learning journey, from start to finish).
3. Repeat this sequence—and essentially engineer thousands of “happy accidents” (and watch your disinterested child turn into a raving learner).
When I first started implementing this for my own children and my clients in my OS, we were BLOWN AWAY by the results.
Not only did this parent-child journey model “feel” better—
Like, Naima Tariq who took the tips
I think of the tutoring ads as “pushing” your audience to take an action that serves you. Not only are these ads “pushy,” but they’re also expensive services to pay for.
Naturally, we take an entirely different direction.
We win the attention and trust of our children by delivering sequenced plans, connecting with them, and building attachments.
If you take nothing else away from this article, remember this:
TUTORING IS NOT A MAGIC WAND FOR GETTING INTO A GRAMMAR SCHOOL
It’s a vehicle that allows your child to move through the 11-plus content in the perfect sequence for the best shot at success.
When you get this model right, everything else falls into place.
Your children turn to you for attachment and bonding and then learning and books and academics.
Your child’s work progresses on autopilot, and you always have a perfectly well-laid-out plan fuelling consistent learning and plugging the gaps and a child who keeps well ahead of the syllabus.
Because this process is based on the highest version of your parenting values, it attracts your child to you and your ideals and allows you to show up as your best self and parent.
It’s not a fluke, and it’s not a trend.
This entire model is built on age-old parenting attachment practices (we’re just leveraging 11 plus to make it happen on autopilot).
This is what I am going to do. I’ll walk you through the three key phases of effective, enthusiastic and engaged parenting techniques—and show you how the whole thing played out for a handful of different parents (busy parents, overwhelmed parents, new to the country parents…)
Then you can make the final call.
This entire “anti-fomo” 11-plus process starts with child-centric dynamic sequences.
These sequences are engineered so that:
1 Your children will know that they come high on your list. Not the aims, not the schools.
2 You never pay for tutoring that is not working, even if the testimonials shout that it does.
We call this a win-win situation. 😁
It’s the ultimate in the children-driven plan, building ridiculously engaged moments of bonding and creating high family engagement by doubling or tripling your chances to make this 11-plus journey achieve the goal of a dream school.
Let me show you how it works.
Connect with your child
Commit to a plan
Close the gaps
Are you ready for a new normal?
Take a look at what we do in our OS community