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Monday, October 23, 2006

Eleven Plus Trust

At this time of year many parents have found themselves between a rock and a hard place. Their heart has pounded to put the top local grammar school as first choice. Their heads, however, have told them to put the second choice grammar school first - and then the top local comprehensive school.

At the same time mothers and fathers have been listening to opinions from their friends, their families, teachers, head teachers - and sometime even the child in question. Naturally any older brother or sister, having passed the examination, will have also offered cogent advice.

I can remember reading about Odysseus who was told how to sail between Scylla and Charybdis. These are the two small islands in the Mediterranean with just the space of an arrow’s flight between them.

Scylla was a narrow pointed rock that had a sharp point reaching into the sky. Half way up the rock there was a dark cave - where Scylla lived. Scylla had twelve feet, six necks, six heads and six mouths. The monster simply ate sailors. Charybdis, the other island, had a monster that swallowed sea water and squirted it back to cause a whirlpool.

We know that the meaning of `between a rock and hard place’ is that someone is in difficulty - faced with a choice between two unsatisfactory options. You will recall that Odysseus sailed between the islands - but lost six men.

Every parent must be comforted by the fact that whatever the outcome of the examinations their children will neither be eaten nor caught up in a whirlpool. In time all parents will rationalise their decisions.

Good luck parents. The great majority of decisions you have made about your children have been correct. Trust your own instincts.

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