I have not been to all that many grand public homes – and those that I have visited have been as a paying guest.
The one element that all the grand houses seem to have is a pleasant view. It does not matter how many chimneys there are or even the size of the ball room. What does seem to matter is that you look out over a pleasant view.
Today we went to Farming world. The sun was shining and there was no rain. There were lots of animals and a number of groups of climbing frames. When we went on the tractor ride we could look back and see the grand house. We counted at least forty chimneys. We passed near the foot of the house and the view across the valley was spectacular.
Our group was made up of about twenty four year olds on their end of year outing. The noise on the coach travelling down at 9.30 in the morning was deafening. The trip back was much quieter. Some children – and even some adults – dropped off.
There were two other coach loads of pre-school children – plus a sprinkling of mothers and fathers with their children.
As I watched these three to four years I wondered how many of them would be writing the eleven plus.
The children all seemed to be of similar height. It is only later on that some of the ten to eleven year olds seem to grow and grow.
Looking at those four year olds you could not tell who would pass the eleven plus by their bright smiling faces. Neither could you tell by their beautifully regular and white teeth. Some of the little four year old girls, however, were coming out with rather complex statements.
So you would not get a straight reply from the teacher of a four year old if you asked the question: “Will he or she pass the eleven plus? What will help to determine that answer? Naturally input from the parents.
A determination on the part of the child will help too. To pass an eleven plus examination the child will need to display fortitude and desire to do well academically.
And then the child will need access to the right facilities. The best possible eleven plus papers along with steady guidance must help to prepare the child.
So if you want your child to live one day in a big house with many chimneys then all you can do is your best. You can’t force drive, determination and strength of will. All too soon the four year old will be writing eleven plus examinations. As parents and teachers we can only do our best as well.