Sian Goodspeed, Founder of Flying Start Tuition

It’s the start of a new school year and for many, the question of whether to start preparing for the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test (commonly referred to as the Eleven Plus or 11+) will be at the forefront of family discussions.

The Eleven Plus is a selective entrance exam taken by Year 6 children to determine whether they are offered a place at a grammar or upper school. As the founder of Flying Start Tuition, a tuition company specialising in supporting students on their 11+ journey, I often come across heated debates, criticising the system and questioning the morality of testing ten year-olds – and you may be surprised to learn that I agree!

When I set up as a tutor in 2009, it was with the intention of supporting children with maths and English, rather than entrance exams.  However, I had recently moved to Buckinghamshire and it was 11+ support that parents were mostly asking for. I soon realised that the 11+ process was causing a great deal of stress, not only for the children but often for their parents too. I wanted to help these families and so my journey into 11+ tuition began.

Shortly after setting up my business, I discovered Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and went on to become a qualified NLP practitioner. During my training, I was astounded by the potential of NLP for enhancing children’s confidence, independent thinking and academic progress and decided to incorporate NLP tools and techniques into the programmes at Flying Start Tuition.

These tools and techniques later became referred to as our 11+ Superpowers toolkit and they have had a big impact on our students, helping them to navigate the 11+ process unscathed by turning a potentially stressful time into a positive one. And this doesn’t necessarily mean ‘passing’ the 11+; it means learning the skills they need to tackle the questions with ease and confidence and building the resilience and sense of self-worth to know that, whatever the outcome of the test, they will be fine.

Keen to offer these proven techniques to a wider audience, we have recently launched our online 11+ Superpowers®Course . With the aid of my trusty sidekick, Ava (my nine-year-old daughter) our budding 11+ Superpowers heroes are guided through a series of interactive workshops designed to increase motivation, deal with stressful situations, boost focus and improve performance.

Whatever you think of the 11+ system, it is currently here to stay and, if your child is at a Bucks primary school you have several options:

  • Withdraw your child from the test
  • Let your child sit the test with no preparation
  • Prepare your child with the support of a tutor
  • Prepare your child using the DIY approach
  • Prepare your child with a combination of tutor and DIY

If you do decide to go down the tuition route, get in touch and we’d be happy to help. We offer a holistic, balanced approach to tuition, supporting parents along the journey too. And our support doesn’t stop when the course ends. When the results come out, there are inevitably some children who don’t quite achieve the mark they were hoping for so we’re here to help families through the appeals process too.

Beyond the exam, there are many other benefits to students attending our 11+ programmes. The extra support they will gain in English and maths is likely to accelerate your child’s progress at school – and they will develop important reasoning and independent thinking skills too. What’s more, they will also acquire a powerful toolkit of lifelong learning techniques and become confident in exam situations (perfect practice for GCSEs and ‘A’ Levels).

Year 4 and Year 5 11+ lessons now running in Chesham, Little Chalfont and Beaconsfield

Book with confidence! Two-week trial period on all group classes

If you’re thinking of enrolling your child on one of our term-time group courses but want to test us out before committing to the full programme, you can take advantage of our two-week trial period. Book online via the relevant course page and pay your deposit to secure your child’s place. If after two lessons, you decide not to continue, simply let us know and we will refund the deposit – no questions asked.


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