50% off all 11plus English tuition books until our precious children are allowed to return to school

The headline says it all, so if you want to skip to the books, please do. Goodness knows how we make it through this, but we have to believe at some point that schools will reopen and your hoped-for grammar school will admit the next intake. It could be sooner than we think or later than we think, but it will happen.

Whatever you are doing to stay safe and occupied, we must keep our children learning.

The good habits you and schools have established to help your children learn are crucial at this moment. Learning provides much more than a distraction from worry – it paves the way for tomorrow’s generation of heroes and humans who will shape and build and grow the best future possible. It sets your child on their best path.

11 plus exams will at some point be a normal reality again. Please – little by little – stay learning with precision and purpose. We need our children to be progressing and prepared, not in a spirit of competition or worry, but in a happy spirit of continuing the love of learning and the happiness and stimulation that come from achievement and focus. It is good that our highest goals as humans remain at the core of what we do. It is not easy, but it is good.

I’m now running a 50% off coupon on all books in the 11plushappy range, including the bundle. (From an already low bundle price of £47, you now invest just £23.50 for the 4-book 11 Plus English Masterclass Bundle, giving you months of targeted learning).

Use the voucher code ‘stay at home’ in the cart.

Please have a look at the books. I believe so strongly they can help you and your child continue learning together.

I’m sorry I am not in a position to offer them for free. With social distancing in place, all my tuition students can, of course, no longer come, so my own income and ability to keep my family food coming is under pressure. I hope that 50% off everything can help everyone survive and thrive. Please share the coupon with anyone you feel might benefit – there are no restrictions. The creative writing guides are also very suitable for upper KS2 and KS3 children. Included in the purchase is an opportunity to send a piece of your child’s written work for free, so that I can read and suggest some next steps for your child to take. This is specific to your child, not generic.

Simply add your books to the cart and write ‘stay at home’ in the voucher code box. Your 50% discount will be applied immediately.

Stay learning, stay safe, love your children, be patient, be caring, be funny, strive to be happy. In dark times, we must be the extra light.

Thank you for caring for and teaching your children. I hope that as you stay at home, your 50% off voucher code helps you and your child on their path to eventual eleven plus success.

Children, keep creating, keep learning and keep laughing. Every smile, every word, every number, every picture is worth it.

My best, Lee


11 Plus English Masterclass Bundle

A huge hello to you as we move into autumn. How is your child’s eleven-plus learning? This is a very small post to let you know that this 4-book bundle deal is now available to help all children, parents, families, teachers and tutors. It replaces the summer learning bundle and contains the same thorough preparation pack, but at an even better price.

Please do visit and review to see how it suits your needs.

I’ll be back with my next proper post in the next few days. I’ve been busy helping students with final preparations for the Sutton Test which took place yesterday.

If your child was involved in that test, remember to keep the foot on the learning pedal and focus on creative writing this week. Don’t wait for the result of stage 1; you have to assume your child was successful and use this week to make crucial progress in creative writing skills. If you wait a week, you’ll never recover the time to learn.

The very best in effort and luck to all children.

Welcome to the 11 Plus English Masterclass Bundle.

Do the keyword dance: How to use (and not use) keywords to answer multiple choice comprehension questions


Forgive the capitals and the warning, but I’m writing this immediately after a teaching session, in which my very capable student learned a hack and then did something unexpected that your child must not do!

To set the context, I’m including the entire hack here, so you can teach your child and understand the Keyword Dance fully. You’ll hopefully see this is a very practical step that your child can actually do on their own, once you have looked at it together. This is Happy Hack 12 from the instantly downloadable book, Grammar School Success in Multiple Choice English – 59 Easy Ways to Score High in your 11 Plus English Exam. It’s also on kindle at amazon,

as well as being part of a summer learning deal at less than half price.

At the end of the hack, we’ll discuss the unexpected thing my student did. To be clear,

keywords are important words in the question

that tell you exactly what the question wants to look for. Once you have identified these (I show you how in the book, in a separate hack), you have something to look for. Okay, here’s your hack…

Happy Hack 12:

Back and forwards, back and forwards

Do the Keyword Dance!

No, not the keyboard dance, the keyword dance. Get off your computer now, silly.

After you’ve read and spotted and underlined keywords in the question and the writing, do the Keyword Dance as you attack each question.  Here’s how:

1. Find the question keyword or phrase in the passage.

2. Read the whole sentence the word is in.

3. Read a sentence or two before it (Back).

4. Read a sentence or two after it (Forwards).   

Doing this is sometimes enough to find the information you need to answer correctly.   

Say you want to answer the question:

Q. How do the people near the tiger feel?

a) Terrified.

b) Confused.

c) Happy.

d) Really tired because they’ve been running away from it all day.

Your gut, common sense brain might think terrified is the most appropriate answer – it’s a tiger after all. But wait, do the keyword dance.

You look for the word ‘tiger’. You find it. Great, but it doesn’t tell you enough yet. Read before and after to find out about the special world this word lives in.

Is the tiger in a zoo? In the wild? About to eat its lunch? Shopping in Asda? Only a pretend tiger, really it’s your teacher dressed up for charity? This will make a huge difference to your answer. 

What happens if the Keyword Dance doesn’t work?


Maybe the keyword is in more than one place. You’d expect to find the word ‘tiger’ a few times in an article about tigers, wouldn’t you? Maybe the first place you find it is telling you what tigers eat. Not what you are looking for.

Just look for the keyword somewhere else, along with other keywords in the question. In the question above, we could be looking for the word ‘near’ as well, or a phrase like it, e.g. close to.

TIP: Quite often, we need two keywords to be together to find the right answer.

This is one way the answers try to trick you, by giving you one keyword and hoping it will turn you into a Rushie.

No, thank you.

Each time you find the keyword or words, do the dance – before the word, after the word, then the sentence before, the sentence after, occasionally two sentences before and after. 

It’s only one hack of many, yet it’s one of the most helpful in finding the info you need to answer the question.  

…Okay, welcome back to the blog post. You can see that keywords are amazingly helpful. In the lesson I was giving this morning, we were rehearsing a couple of hacks, one of which was the Keyword Dance. The question asked why the bay was good for fishing boats. The paragraph that we were asked to look at had lots of info about types of fish, types of boats, types of fishermen, as well as info on the weather and time of day. My student explored the paragraph twice, but was adamant that he couldn’t find the answer.

Why? This is what he did – he didn’t look even once for the keyword: bay. He was confused by all the info, felt there was too much, became sidetracked with the similarity of fishing boats with fisherman and fish, and was thrown off course by the weather info.

I asked him to go back to the question. What was the one word that was most important – what did the question actually want him to know? He looked again: “Aaah, BAY!” he yelled. Immediately, he found that word, which only appeared once in the paragraph, did the keyword dance and found the answer – the bay was sheltered.

So simple, if you actually use the hack. If you actually look for the keywords. Otherwise, you’ve wasted seconds underlining keywords that can’t help you even though they want to because you don’t use them.

Two large, lovely lessons from today that absolutely work as a team:

  • Teach your child the Keyword Dance. Practise it in your practice papers.
  • Children – USE IT. Actually look for the words that matter. You are not trying to answer a random question – the questions are very specific. Find the keywords in the question you are answering and find them again in the text. The answer will be there, promise!

Was this blog post helpful? You can sign up to the blog for free to keep yourself informed of more tips. There are lots more (58 more, as you will have worked out from the title of the book!) happy hacks waiting to help your child reach their highest mark in Grammar School Success in Multiple Choice English – 59 Easy Ways to Score High in your 11 Plus English Exam. You can buy it alone, or as part of the crazy summer learning deal, which gives you all four books in the series for better than half-price.

Thank you for investing your time in these words and thank you for nurturing your child’s Great Eleven Plus Moment!

Stay happy, Lee

If your child is sitting an 11 plus test this year, here are two best friends and one uncomfortable truth.

(The first of a 4-blog mini-series…)

You may be wondering if you are doing enough to help them. How do you know? The overall aim is to run out of things they don’t know before the day arrives. Say hello to two of your child’s best friends to get this done:



Routine. Habit. A daily routine, a weekly routine, a monthly routine. How you make your routine depends on your week, your work habits, travel distance from school, clubs, childcare arrangements. There is no one-size fits all, but there must be a size that fits you and that you stick to.

There is an uncomfortable truth you have to deal with to get this right, and which is better brought into the open now, no matter how painful it is for you initially; after ten years of teaching and tuition, I feel it can be one of the dividing factors between getting a place and not getting a place. The uncomfortable truth is that you may not be able to fit everything in that you and your child/children currently do and fit in 11 plus preparation as well.

Think about it for a moment. We’re not talking any routine; we’re building and practising an 11 plus learning routine intended to help your child successfully prepare for, and thus massively increase the likelihood of succeeding in, their one-shot superhero moment that is the 11 plus. An exam they cannot choose to sit when they like, but which must be sat on one day in one year, which is coming soon. In total, it’s best to find and use between 9-15 hours a week of (very targeted) learning, especially in the year approaching the test, when your child is in Y5. This is also where we start to see the importance of time.

With that in mind, before we look at a brilliant routine that should really make a difference, take some time to work out on paper what your family currently does and for how long. Include both your planned actions – work shifts, after school clubs, swimming, etc, AND your unplanned actions – how long your child spends on PC games, browsing, television, friends, etc.

Do you have those 9-15 hrs available?

If yes, fantastic. If not, then the truth is it’s probably time to prioritise for the next few months. If your child is very busy doing lots of things, there’s an even more important reason why cutting back could be crucial to securing that all important 11 plus win. Indeed, if they are too busy, even with positive, well-intentioned activities, you may be lessening their chances. We’ll look at this in our third email in the series.

So, routine and time. The next time we meet, we’ll put an effective routine together. This will help you realise just how much is possible. We’ll return to the uncomfortable truth mentioned above, and reveal why being too busy might not help your child at this point in their life.

Thanks for doing everything you can for your child. Please sign up to keep reading.

Start learning, stay learning, and stay 11plushappy!


Bank holidays are fantastic 11plus leaning moments!

Time is one of the most powerful learning tools when it comes to the 11plus. Spaced learning, learning over time, helps your child layer their learning, building up to a full understanding and a full skill set in time for the test later in the year. There is no substitute for starting early and grabbing moments of time for learning throughout a long period. Today is one of those times – a full bank holiday. Help your child commit to 2-3 hours of learning today to benefit from uninterrupted thinking time.

Is there a topic or type of writing your child is looking to improve? Why not dedicate today’s gift of time to doing just that? If you all have itchy feet, take off to a cafe somewhere and turn it into an event.

Today will be gone by the end of the day; always has, always will. Will your child know something new, or understand something they already know more completely, by the end of this day? Could they write a story or a description with perhaps an extra focus on using all punctuation, or using lots of different sentence starters?

Time. It helps. You can help your child. My next blog covers a simply stunning idea, an undeniable power that is at work in all grown ups 100% of the time, a power that you need to be aware of and need to harness and use when caring for and preparing a child for their 11plus.

Start learning, stay learning.

My best, Lee at 11plushappy.com

Good morning #coffeeparents and early morning learners

A brief salute to you if you’re up early to gather today’s learning for your 11plus child. We’re halfway through the holidays already. I hope your child has experienced a jump in learning during the first week, and I hope the weekend ahead turns out well for you. When I was readying my own children, Saturday morning was our Maths Cafe moment.

We headed to a cafe, sometimes local, sometimes far, and would sit and work through 2-3 hours of learning while we relaxed and chatted and ate and drank. Special times that I am so grateful for sharing with my son and daughter.

We’d start with a drink, perhaps do a Bond English assessment test, then eat. While eating, we’d focus half an hour on one topic – multiplying fractions or a game of connectives football, for example – then we’d work through a Maths paper together, stopping on anything needing more time. A second drink or small pudding would arrive, giving us the energy and happiness to keep learning and keep talking together. Other times, we’d do a long write for each other, trying to embed one or two new writing skills or features in our story or description.

It is amazing what can be achieved with a bit of creativity, a milkshake, and your personal knowledge of what your child enjoys, where they feel happy.

Whatever you’re planning for the day, thank you for nurturing the learning spirit of your child. Our children love to be with us, and when we combine that with learning and fun, magic can happen. Have an amazing Saturday,

Lee 2019