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Monday, May 25, 2009

Light at the end of the Eleven Plus Tunnel

Children who are writing the eleven plus examination are likely to come from a wide range of neighbourhood communities. Some children will come from large detached houses and others, just a few miles away, from flats and `two up two downs’.

Sometimes we hear of only five or six children from a school trying to pass eleven plus examinations. In other schools well over thirty children my sit the examination.

After the results, in eleven plus areas, children transfer to different types of school. In non eleven plus areas children could go to comprehensives or the new academies. The larger comprehensives could serve children from wide areas.

We hear of bright children who are able to dominate whole classes of primary school children. Their behaviour at school can take be unpleasant and bullying. Some children will reject any idea of a `contract’ between teacher, parent and child. They will ignore regulations on behaviour and social manners. Some of these children may even boast or exhibit a `could not care less’ attitude – which could be a major departure from what we like to think of as an acceptable code of behaviour.

The other children in the class have to learn to live with unpleasant behaviour in the class and at school. Outside of school there may be little contact unless the unwholesome child lives `down the road’.

Parents can complain to the school about extreme bad behaviour – and the school can promise to do all they can to try to avert and monitor problems. Imagine sitting down to dinner every evening while one person is dominating and rude. This could upset your digestion! Think of your child having to sit on a table at school with a child who is disruptive and anti authority.

The consequence of close proximity to a child who has little respect for others is that children’s education can be affected. Being forceful and rude is not the domain of the ill educated child who lacks social graces.

Should we feel sorry for the bright rude child? It can not always be the fault of the community or the parents. Some children are just unpleasant.

The strictures of the eleven plus examination can not make an unpleasant child into a conforming and loving member of the community. Sometimes, however, the interest from a teacher or tutor – drawn from non school environment - will discover a child who behaves and acts very differently.

The school bully may also be a member of a karate group – and listen carefully and respectfully to the teacher – and enjoy the company of other like minded children. The change of behaviour and attitude may be no more than a comprehension of status. The child’s status at school may be determined a need to dominate and control – yet the same child may be perfectly happy to accept a situation where he or she understands and accepts limits of control.

Some parents must long for the Year 6 class to break up and the children disband. It is very likely, however, for there to light at the end of the tunnel. The primary school top dog will become a lowly member of the grammar school. Peace on earth!

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