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Sunday, February 03, 2008

New Eleven Plus Examinations

If our children could be offered a different type of Eleven Plus examination then naturally the content would need to change.

We could try limericks. Look at this anonymous effort.

There was an old man from Blackheath

Who sat on his set of false teeth.

Said he with a start,

“O, Lord, bless my heart!

I have bitten myself underneath!”

Think of the pleasure that composing a few lines in this vein would give to some eleven year olds.

“Write the missing number 5, 14, 23 ….. 41” does not have the same resonance.

Suppose that one of our eleven plus children landed up writing a timeless classic like:

Doctor Foster


Doctor Foster went to Gloucester

In a shower of rain;

He stepped in a puddle,

Right up to his middle,

And never went there again.

We would be proud of that child for time immemorial.

Some Eleven Plus questions do have an element of challenge – for example:

A certain class has twice as many boys as girls. All the boys have dark hair, but only half the girls have dark hair. Five girls have fair hair. How many pupils are there in the class?

So please, we are working with children. Let us give them Eleven Plus exercises that might make them smile. If you are working with your own child would you rather smile and laugh together or try to put a few words into the right order?

My Dog


I’ve got a dog as thin as a rail,

He’s got fleas all over his tail.

Every time his tail goes flop,

The fleas on the bottom all hop to the top.

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