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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Eleven Plus Winners

We have all seen programs on television about the way lions hunt down their prey. Picture the scene – a lioness crouched down in the grass. An unwary zebra is lured towards the waiting predator. Other animals in the pride move smoothly and quietly to cut the zebra out from the rest of the herd.

The lionesses are able to set up effective ambushes. In a pride of lions it is often the lionesses that do the hunting – while the males watch from a distance. After the kill lions join the females and enjoy the feast.

In the African bush competition for food can be intense.

The thirst for education is equally intense. I can remember visiting Hope Fountain as a child – many years ago. Hope Fountain was a missionary school in Rhodesia – now called Zimbabwe. At that time more than ninety per cent of the education in Rhodesia was church controlled. Some sixteen year olds started two year teacher training courses. As `mature and trained’ eighteen year olds they were sent to rural communities to teach. Yet these young assistant teachers helped school children to become literate in two languages. Some of the teachers studied further using correspondence courses. Others went on to take degrees.

We can see the same desire to do well in many of our Eleven Plus children; we know that a really high number will go on to take degrees. We know that the children who leave grammar school will have wonderful educational opportunities all of their lives.

Many of our prospective grammar school children are prepared to work hard and do extra `Eleven Plus’ exercises.

I watched a boy today in his last lesson with us. He will be writing the Kent Eleven Plus tests in early January of 2008. He was working on area when a discussion on the properties of quadrilaterals came up. He identified a range of different quadrilaterals – including a trapezium. He studied the sketch of the shape for a few seconds and formulated an acceptable method of working out the area. He displayed high excitement and real pleasure.

He did not want to watch any one doing the work for him. He wanted to solve the problem himself. Earlier I mentioned lions sitting in the shade while watching lionesses work to capture food. He was a boy who would never sit back to watch someone else. He will be a winner. He will be able to provide. We wish him every success in the January Kent tests.

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