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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Keeping Control

People who run airlines know a thing or two. A pretty clever technique is to always have enough fuel on board to allow you not only to make your planned destination with a good margin but also to be able to divert to an alternative route. This way you can keep your options open and also be able to keep control of the situation.

Pilots also have to plan for worst-case scenarios. They, and all their crew, have to be trained to cope with a wide variety of events.

Passengers are also instructed how to prepare for the worst. We all know, for example, that the safest possible space is the window nearest to the emergency-exit row.

Every time we fly we are reminded how to brace – and to make sure the seatbelt is tightly fastened.

A sweep of the hand reminds us to follow the white floor lights until we reach exit row lights.

Can we apply any of these basic safety rules to our eleven plus situation?

We have to be ready for an appeal situation. Your child must do exercises very carefully. If you are a parent working with your child then take time to follow a pattern of underlining dates and ruling off exercises. It is essential too that you date every bit of work. Suppose, for example, that you want to be able to prove to an appeal panel that an unexpected and unplanned event has caused your child to lose confidence and become distracted. If you have put a date on the work then anyone can see when the problems started.

Mark your child’s work carefully. If your child is used neat marking at school, or in any lessons, than you too must play a part by setting working out carefully.

Try to avoid sweeping crossing out. You would be upset with your teacher or tutor if your child returned home with pages crossed out. Remember that in an appeal situation the panel may sometimes want to look at the preparation that your child has done for the examination. Your marking and comments may play a part.

Remember though – that an appeal board is not there to punish you and your child. The board is there to try to make sure that you have an opportunity of presenting your case to interested parties. The appeal board will be hearing petitions from other worried and distraught parents. It is the board’s role to try to cut through all the emotion and anguish and try to select the best possible candidates.

Words like: “If you just give Jamie a chance he will not let you down!” will possibly not be as effective as a carefully thought out and well prepared case.

As we have mentioned earlier the pilot (and for the word pilot read YOU) and crew (this is all concerned at school and at home) just want you and your child to survive and do as well as possible.

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