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Monday, December 22, 2008

The Eleven Plus and the Colour Green

Very few of today’s Eleven Plus children will be able to go on to accomplish everything that Davy Crockett managed to get through in his life.

Verse one of `The Ballard of Davy Crockett’ presents us with a picture of a child who grew to become a king of all he surveyed.

Born on a mountain top in Tennessee
Greenest state in the Land of the Free
Raised in the woods so's he knew every tree
Kilt him a b'ar when he was only three.
Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the wild frontier!

The great majority of our Eleven Plus children will grow up in good homes with loving and concerned parents. Our children will be offered every opportunity to do well academically at school and at home. (Davy ran away from school – and only returned home some years later when he was fifteen.)

Parents have the ability to learn about the eleven plus examination. They can then go out to the shops and buy books and teaching materials to help their children to prepare. The internet offers the ability to communicate with other parents in locations well outside of the school gate. Children and adults can download free papers with the minimum of fuss.

The Eleven Plus has become a growth industry – but may never grow to the extent that interest in Davy Crockett developed back in 1955. The Davy Crockett fad of 1955 grew to 300 products – and $300 000 000. In today’s terms three hundred million dollars would be worth a lot more! The craze suddenly died away and businessmen were left with warehouses full of raccoon tails and buckskin fringes.

Children `needed’ to have the Davy Crockett products. Parents `needed’ to buy everything to do with Davy Crockett.

The challenging task for the future of the eleven plus is to fan the desire of some parents to maintain the ethos of the grammar school. These parents then have the task to try to capture the imagination of the rest of the country.

So if after Christmas you see a new craze hit the playgrounds of England, you will know that a new eleven plus fad has started. Mothers will be wearing silky raccoon tails. Fathers will be swathed in best buckskin fringes. Parents will be carrying little brown parcels under their arms – and will be surreptitiously exchanging the secret offering in the playground. Grandparents will be wearing outer clothes in Tennessee Green – to represent their involvement in the eleven plus movement. Siblings will be smothered in little badges of bears and the number three – to recall the bear that Davy killed when he was only three.

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