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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Eleven Plus Independence

Some parents are often concerned about the amount of liberty and freedom they should offer their eleven plus children. This is a thorny question and teachers and parents are alike in worrying if too much or too little freedom is allowed. If the eleven plus child is to do well in the examination – and act independently, and without fear or recrimination – then parents and children need to know where they stand.

If the parents try too hard to control their children then they may find that their well behaved and mannerly child suddenly shows signs of rebellion. If the parents push too hard to control and `manage’ independence they may find that they can not predict how their children will react in the examination.

We clearly remember one extremely bright girl who did not want to go to an all girls school and failed her eleven plus abysmally. She wanted to go to a mixed grammar school in a different local authority. Her results in this second examination were so high that she ended up in the top 180 out of around 4000 children who took the examination. In other words she put her foot down and was fully prepared to take a chance. If she had not been in the top 180 – she would not have been offered a grammar school place.

The parents who have made their children too dependent during the approach to the eleven plus may reap the reward of unexpected results. If the parent has controlled the approach to the examination with strict rules of conduct, careful attention to detail and never allowing their child to make a mistake, they may find that their child has not had the opportunity to think for themselves.

As the examination grows closer some parents may have to try to cut the chains that bind their child and allow a slow growth into independence.

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