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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Driving and the Eleven PLus

As drivers we take driving for granted most of the time. Lots of mothers have to endure the chore of driving children to school in term time. The sight of fathers delivering children brings tears to the eyes. Dads don’t deliver children and help in quite the same way. The school gate ‘chat’ is couched in different language. The topics are the same. The attitude to learning and school is sometimes quite different.

Every single person driving their children to school thinks that they are a good driver. They know that they must not park on double yellow lines. They know that they must not park near the school gates. The parents are very aware of their precious cargoes.

To explain to someone how to become a good and purposeful driver takes time and patience. At one time the Institute of Advanced Drivers called upon drivers to give a running commentary as part of the assessment.

Your ten year old could become a most valuable crew member in the car. A combination of Advanced Driving Awareness and Sat Nav directions could revolutionise the school journey.

“After two hundred metres cross the roundabout at the third exit.”

“A car door is opening. Watch out Mum – a child may be stepping out of the car.”

“Oh dear, I forgot to tell you. We have games today and I forgot my games bag.”

“After four hundred metres, take the next right.

After two hundred metres take the next right.”

“Mum it does not look as if the car ahead has a brake light. Watch out and give the car ahead some room.”

“We are doing a practice verbal reasoning paper today at school. I did not mention it last night because I thought you would make me do an extra Eleven Plus Verbal Reasoning Paper.”

“Mum you can’t stop here. It is too near a corner.”

“Mum don’t push me out of the car. I will always tell you when a test is coming up in future. I PROMISE. I PROMISE.”

Let us swiftly move on to the conversation at the school gates. We now have to work out who is speaking.

“You will never guess what happened to me on the way to school. I was told about the verbal reasoning test. I don’t know why I wasn’t told last night.”

“Did you do the little so and so some harm?”

“No I was driving at the time and had to multi-task. I had directions coming at me, a commentary on the other road users and news about the eleven plus. Anyway I was thinking about our friends coming to dinner tonight. One is a vegetarian.”

“Oh dear. The eleven plus is such a worry. I have another year to go.”

“Well first of all don’t allow any back seat driving from anyone at all. Secondly, start making sure your child uses a little book to write notes down. What are you going to serve? That lovely chocolate pudding?”

“Don’t waste time with a note book. Go straight to a Blackberry. You will have a full communication system – telephone, connection to the net, sat nav directions, email, note taking – and you have the ability to communicate. Every eleven plus child needs one.”

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