We need to spare a thought for the first spelling reformer – a monk called `Orm’.
Orm lived about 1200 AD. He tried to introduce a reform to spelling.
It would not help the writers of Eleven Plus Verbal Reasoning papers if spellings had not been reformed and free for all still existed.
In spite of a wide variety of reformers, spelling remained an essential element of the curriculum until the Education Act of 1870. It was then thought that spelling took up too much time in the curriculum.
If a spelling free for all existed it is unlikely that writers of Eleven Plus Verbal Reasoning papers would be able to get away with:
“Write down the two letters which occur in each word in each of the following lines.
Secret, plaster, storage, terrace, turnip.”
We know that the English language has some 40 sounds – and around 2 000 ways of writing the sounds.
Just think of the combinations that bright Eleven Plus children could invent if they were not tied down by conventions and rules.