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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Extending Eleven Plus Entry

One of the major problems with the Eleven Plus, after it was set up by the 1944 education act, was that intelligence tests appeared to play so large a role in determining a child’s future. Even psychologists could not agree on what intelligence was. There had been an earlier White Paper in 1943 which stated that `Children should not be selected by a competitive test, but by the assessment of their individual aptitudes, largely by such means as school records, supplemented, if necessary by intelligence tests, due regard to parents’ wishes and the careers they have in mind.”

This allowed parents to have a much greater say in helping their child gain entry to grammar school. In many eleven plus areas there is a rigid – but straightforward procedure to follow.

Enter your child on a common application form.

Work through some papers together.

Some, but only some, may choose a tutor or family friends to help soften the blow.

Listen to other parents and think: `Why did I not start this earlier?’

Remember that your child is actually bright – so relax for a moment.

Take your child to the school gates. Lots of hugs, kisses and `Good Lucks’.

More hugs when your child returns from the tests.

You wait fretfully for the results.

Your child does not seem to care – of hides it very well.

The results come. Tears of joy or grief.

You put in an appeal (if necessary) and this is the only time in the when your wishes will be listened to. This does seem to be without foundation. I understand why schools can not interview ten sets of parents for every one place. But we live in the culture of computers. When your child reaches `A’ Level or `IB’ then one application form is filled in which can then be distributed to the different universities.

The following could be adapted into the proposed `Eleven Plus Common Application Form’ (EPCAF)

Why I want to go to grammar. (50 words)

What subjects I would like to study.

What I do outside of school

Why I would like my child to go to grammar.

The subjects I would like my child to study

How we will solve the problems if we acre not offered a place.

Why we think this child should go to grammar

The grades we think the child will achieve at `A’ level.

Supporting statement

The computer then collects and collates all this information and posts them into EPCAF. The grades from the EPCAF are added to test scores. The highest combined scores win places in the grammar school. The EPCAF must make a contribution to an Eleven Plus system that does seem very unfair at times.

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