What is your payment policy?

For online tuition courses payment can be made via Paypal for immediate access.

For in-person tuition, invoices are sent home with your child at the end of each term in readiness for the coming term.  Payment is due in advance for the whole of the coming term (usually 6 or 7 weeks).   Payment may be made via BACS (preferred), or cheque/cash.  Refunds are not offered for non-attendance.  There is no scope to rearrange individual lessons to another time. For group 11+, if you know that attendance will not be possible in advance, you may swap into the other group during the same calendar week.

If Nicola Noble is unable to offer tuition through illness, your account may be credited for the missed class, or you may receive a refund of fees for that session.

Where are the tuition sessions held?

42 Upper Street

What are the arrangements for dropping off and collecting my child?

I will come to the door when your session is due to begin.  Please wait outside until then because I will have another student/class in session.  

At the end of your child’s session, please be waiting outside promptly – failure to be on time results in the next session being delayed whilst I wait with your child.  I will see students back to their parents whilst the students for the next session may go straight in and get on with the Starter that has been left at their table.  If parents are organised, this process takes 2 minutes.

What are the parking arrangements?

Upper Street does not have any parking restrictions other than good manners. It is a residential street. Please do not park on the pavement or over driveways. I will cease tutoring students whose parents park without consideration for my neighbours.

How do you know what to teach an Individual Maths Student?

This comes from a conversation between parents, students, possibly their class teacher, and myself.

Younger students’ tuition leads on from the worries that their parents have and the reasons that they have decided to enrol their child in private tuition.  It may be that a school report/parent evening has highlighted specific weak spots, or it may be that the parent feels that their child isn’t progressing as well as they might.  Parents should have a conversation with class teachers to guide them.  Some younger students are able to highlight their own concerns.  It may be a more universal worry – “I’m rubbish at maths” – that needs working through.Older students, especially those at GCSE, are able to advocate for themselves about the topics that they are struggling with.  They may bring their school maths book to me and we will have a discussion from that.  Additionally, they (or their parents) may text me with requests of work that has been tricky at school that week.  In school, students should ask their class teacher if they may take a photo of work that they are struggling with so that they may show it to me.  Photographs make life a lot simpler when students cannot remember what the topic is called or what the questions looked like!

For GCSE students, I need to know what Exam board their school is using, what their target grade is, and what their predicted grade is. 

Do you give homework to Individual Maths Students?

I do not.  Quite often, they are coming to me as a demotivated maths student and homework will be a counter-productive measure.  I will point students towards websites for additional practice should they require.

I am an In-Person 11+ student.  How do I swap my homework?

Please bring your folder back to your lesson every week (whether you have completed it or not) and I will issue the next one.  Please do not hold the packs back – I will not issue the next folder.  Other students may be relying on your pack for their next homework assignment.

I am an Online 11+ student.  How do I swap my homework?

This is managed via boxes in my porch. Each Monday by 9am a new homework pack will be placed in the box. You have that calendar week (Monday to Sunday) to collect that homework pack and return the previous week’s pack. The pack that you have collected is due back the following calendar week.

Please swap your pack over every week (whether you have completed it or not). Do not hold the packs back – I cannot refill your folder for the subsequent week if you still have it. Additionally, other students may be relying on your pack for their next homework assignment.

When you place your Local Homework order, you will add your name and contact details on the order form. During checkout, there is a space for your child’s name too. I will be in contact promptly to arrange your first pack.

I am an In-Person 11+ Student.  May I call you for help with the homework?

Yes, but I may not always be available to take a phone call.  For this reason, a WhatsApp message/text message/email is generally easier because I can deal with it as soon as I am available.  Take a photo of the question that you are struggling with and I will get back to you with an explanation. 

I am the parent of an In-Person 11+ Student.  May I phone you for advice?

Yes, but I may not always be able to take your call.  Send me a message and I will phone you back.

I am an Online 11+ Student.  May I call you for help with the homework/online assignments?

No, the Online packages do not come with support.  

I am the parent of an Online 11+ student.  May I phone you for advice?

I can answer your queries about the technical aspects of the online course, but your package does not come with “tuition” support.

May I help my child with their 11+ homework?

Absolutely!  My homework is not like school homework.  I wholeheartedly love parental guidance and advice:  helping them through the tricky questions; showing them how you would tackle it; giving hints; going over mistakes together to put them right.  Students will get so much more from their homework and you get better value for your money. I am expecting them to have to learn something from every homework:  I am not giving them work that is at their level but rather the level they need to be aiming for. They should be struggling a little bit, or the work is too easy!  Schools give homework to show learning achieved in school.  I give homework for them to learn from.  We are aiming to know all KS2 maths/English curriculum by the start of Year 6.  I cannot possibly teach everything they need to know in one hour per week.  If that were possible, schools would only be open one hour a week…. 

What tips can you give me to help a child who is finding the 11+ homework too much?

Something a lot of my students like is to be able to do the work verbally with a parent.  It makes the work much quicker.  All I need is a quick feedback from you in their folder: “8/10 but silly errors”; “really struggled so gave lots of guided support”; “can’t do long division”, that sort of thing. Set a limit on the time spent doing the work but keep up the pace while doing it with them.  They shouldn’t have time for day-dreaming and other procrastination.  10 minutes per sheet gives a maximum time spent doing homework of 70 minutes in the initial stages.  It doesn’t need to be in one sitting.  Short, sharp bursts of learning will be more effective than a mammoth session where they lose the will to live!  I used to keep my children’s 11+ folders in the car and do at opportune moments.  Try to keep it light-hearted but there will be times when both of you lose patience with it.  Put it down and try again later. 

Why are the answers in the 11+ homework packs?  My child will cheat!

Students are expected to mark their own work (perhaps with support from parents) and to work out where they went wrong as appropriate.  We are aiming to make your child an independent learner who has taken ownership of their 11+ journey.  

I explain to my students that the only person they are fooling is themselves.  I can tell when the homework ability and the classwork ability are mis-matched.  That aside, I ask them to imagine the day the envelope comes with their 11+ results.  Imagine opening it to find they did not pass.  How will they feel when they know that they wasted their opportunity? Now imagine opening it knowing that they had worked hard all year.  They can feel justly proud of their result no matter what the numbers say.

What additional resources do you recommend?

CGP produce excellent Practice Books, 10-minute test books, Revision/Practice cards for 11+, and school subjects in general.  I am able to sell these directly to you for a discounted price.  This is a collection only service.  Please contact me for an order form.

What advice can you give to new 11+students?

Dear Students

It is always exciting to meet a new cohort of tutees and to watch you grow academically and personally over the coming year.  This phase seems to stretch endlessly ahead of you and feels like it goes on forever but will be over before you know it.  

This will probably be the first time that you have really stretched yourselves academically with a definite purpose in mind.  At times it can seem a massive mountain to climb but, with perseverance, success is possible.  This will mean prioritising 11+ work over other interests at times to fit it all in.  You will meet topics that seemingly stump you; those that you have to go over again and again before they really sink in.  Your parents will have to help you.  Your siblings may have to help you.  You will have to learn to be motivated and determined in reaching your goal even when it is really difficult. Then you can truly bask in the glory of knowing you really did give it your best shot and be justly proud of your results. My own children look back with fondness at their own 11+ tuition even though at the time they moaned like mad when I told them to buckle down. The upside of it all was when they got their results: when they saw that they had passed, they knew what well deserved success really feels like. 

However, not all of you will pass the 11+.  It is a blunt instrument.  I can tell you that there are signs that a child will not pass.  They include:

  • Not marking and going over your homework – learning from your mistakes is truly valuable.
  • Repeatedly writing on, damaging or losing my resources – just indicates how little importance you place on the work.
  • Frequent excuses about why you didn’t fit the homework in… weddings, school plays, birthday parties, younger siblings interfering, not in the right frame of mind… you get the idea.  If you don’t put the work in, you are unlikely to get the result you are looking for.  I will not moan at you for not doing the work.  There are no punishments until you open the envelope on results day and know that you could have tried harder.

Additionally, some of you will not pass despite your best efforts.  Grammar school education does not suit everyone.  We talk of “passing” and “failing” the 11+ but, the exam is really just like the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter.  It tries to find the best fit for you.  Although everyone wants to be in Gryffindor, the world needs the skills of Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws, and yes, even Slytherins.

On a more positive note, 11+ tuition is rewarding too. You will find that you can see your progress and be motivated to succeed.  It can spur a love of learning that will help you to achieve all sorts of goals that you set yourself in life.

I am immensely proud to be joining you on your 11+ journey.

Fondest wishes