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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Eleven Plus Change

We have been working with a very pleasant boy over the last few months, He failed his eleven plus and his parents want him to try again. He did not fail by much. It is likely that if only the children in his local authority gained admission to the grammar school he would he happily ensconced in the school of his choice in September.

We did not work with him on his attempt at the eleven plus but he came to us through a remarkably complex network of parents and recommendations. If he is to pass an examination called the Twelve Plus it is clear that he needs to be doing well at school.

The grammar schools within his community will only accept him with a firm recommendation from his school. It does sound as if there is more important than any test results. This means that we do not have to work with him on a range on verbal reasoning exercises as he will not do verbal reasoning at school – but he will need strong English skills.

In order for his new school to be able to recommend him for a place in a grammar school it is essential that he does well at school. His work must be executed beautifully, there must be as few errors as possible and his work needs to be at a consistently high standard. Mother and father have to contact the head of the school to see if he or she will recommend their child. The parents have all ready been told that there is a grammar stream in his new school.

There is a second grammar school that is only half a mile further away that the grammar school of his choice. His home is at the apex of a triangle. The second grammar school, because it comes under a different local authority, require the parents to apply directly to the school. The school will be sending out a pack of instructions for the 12+ in the near future. There will be entrance tests – but the school could not say what would be in the tests – other than to say that the pack would be sent out shortly.

Poor parents – on the one hand they, and their son, have convince a head teacher that their child should be recommended for grammar. In the second case the parents have to enter their child for an examination where the date has not been set and there are no real clues as to what may or may not be in the examination.

We know of one boy who passed a 13+ examination only to be told that although he had passed he was number 32 on the grammar school waiting list!

The father today said: “Why can’t there be just one way of testing for the eleven plus and one way for the twelve plus?”

Why not? We have one driving test that tests thousands of candidates each year. The test is a mixture of theory and practical examination. Some one, somewhere, is saying `But this is the way we have tested eleven plus children for the past fifty years. Why change?”

We need to find the `no changer’ and change him or her!

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