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Monday, May 28, 2007

11+ Memories

The vogue for landscaped gardens did not start with the advent of televised make over programs – it started hundreds of years ago. The creation of market gardens also changed the appearance of the country side. The Industrial Revolution altered the look of the land with quarries, mines and large mountains of waste. Some of biggest changes occurred on the roads. Large Motorways have carved up the countryside sweeping through valleys and brushing hills aside. The small winding roads are still there – but they were not built to carry the vast volume of traffic that exists today.

These are all physical changes to the fabric of England. Equivalent changes have taken place in education. When the eleven plus was first mooted the country was just coming out of the austerity of the war. There was a great need for poor but able children to be given the opportunity of an academic education. The need for very bright children to be educated still exists – but in a rather different way.

The eleven plus today is not a simple make over of the eleven plus of yesteryear. The curriculum of the eleven plus remains basically the same – with challenging questions aimed at identifying bright children.

There can not be a return, however, to the questions that were put to children fifty years ago. Times, language and vocabulary have all moved on.

Today we phase the question using these a vocabulary similar to this: “Mandeep wants a stretchy alien toy that opens up to become a mobile phone costing £15.00. Becky needs a glow in the dark Yo-yo costing £2.50. Express the Yo-yo as a percentage of the alien. Fifty years ago we would have used different words – but the task would have been similar. We still have to solve an essential problem.

There will be men and women around today who will remember how the original eleven plus questions were phrased. Why not encourage your children to challenge their memories?

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