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Monday, November 05, 2007

Eleven Plus Timing

In life we always have to live by the rules. Some rules are very simple. The Eleven Plus examination lasts for a certain period of time. If your child has not finished the paper in the time allowed then there can be no dispensation.

Many years ago England used to rely on men making the rules – the men sat in rows in Parliament shouting at each other. Then came Mrs Pankhurst who was largely instrumental in giving women the ability to vote and determine the course of history. Every one knows that behind every good man is a better woman and today the Houses of Parliament have many women making the rules and leading the country through the cabinet.

So now we need to look at one rule that applies equally to men and to women. The Rules of Golf are set by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and the United States Golf Association. This rule has existed for many years without being challenged.

If a player, when starting a hole, plays a ball from outside the teeing ground he/she shall incur a penalty of two strokes and shall then play a ball from within the teeing ground.

Now this seems a very fair rule. You do need to start off from the right place. After all the ball has to finish in the right place.

An Eleven Plus examination has to start in the right place and end in the right place. It also has to start at the right time and end at the right time.

The rules for conducting Eleven Plus examinations are made by the men and women who have continued to vote for Grammar Schools. Just as in golf the Eleven Plus tests have to be fair and properly monitored.

So now we know all this we just need to try to explain to our children that once they have started the examination they need to go on to the end. They must stick to the time limits. So please try to explain the passage of time in an examination. One hundred questions in fifty minutes gives thirty seconds a question. If an examination starts at ten minutes past nine it will end at ten o’clock. After twenty five minutes the candidate should have completed fifty questions. If you can remind your child to look at his or her watch half way through the examination you can really help.

Yes, you will need to supply a watch. Yes, you will need to talk about timing.

If you do, sadly, land up in an appeal situation you will not be able to use running out of time as an effective excuse. You can appeal laws and injustice to the Houses of Parliament. You can appeal unfair rules – or an interpretation - to the Rule Makers of Golf. You can appeal to an Eleven Plus appeal panel. But – you might not win unless your grounds are very strong.

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