Many children have now completed their eleven plus examinations. They are eagerly waiting for fresh challenges. The SATs examinations offer the chance of completing Level Five in mathematics, English and Science. Some schools place children in preliminary sets at senior school based on the SAT’s results. There is, therefore, some form of incentive to keep working hard. We have, however, awakened drives and helped our children to set goals. How can we maintain at least part of the momentum?
After `A’ levels many youngsters take a `gap’ year. The gap year for some means earning as much money as possible. Some save the money for university, some for a car and some for travelling.
I met a girl on New Year’s Eve in the final year of her degree who was going to take a gap year after she had completed her degree. She really wanted to go to Africa to build a school. She had done all the research. She knew where she wanted to go and how much it would all cost. More important she knew what she wanted to get out of her gap year.
What would ten year olds do if they could take a gap after their examinations? I should imagine that sport and visits to theme parks would come high on a number of lists. Others would want to give something back. Some, for example, may want to be mentors to younger children in their school.
When I was a very young teacher I used to take the class out every Wednesday morning to look at what kind of jobs or careers were available. One day by chance, on a visit to the High Court, we were there when a skull was raised into the air by the prosecution. You can imagine how this interested the nine to ten year olds!
We went to the local Coca Cola factory to enable the children to see what it was like to have a routine job – checking bottles as they were placed into crates. We visited stone masons so they could see adults working with their hands for a living. The local telephone exchange was also a popular visit – because this enabled children to see the `other’ side of communication.
Our eleven plus children have already reached great heights. The content of an eleven plus syllabus is demanding – and enriching. We want to build on this. Whether it is learning a new language, learning how to square dance or learning to be more rounded citizens any form of stimulation must help.