The eleven plus has a number of inter-related functions. Of course the examination exists to give children the opportunity of entering a grammar school education. But other functions may be at least as important:
The eleven plus acts as a spur to bright children and given them something to aim for.
The rigors of the examination ensure that teachers, tutors and parents have guide lines as to the content of the examination. The guide lines may be confusing at times – but at least they exist.
The children who pass the examination have something important to gain. By passing they know they have taken part in a public and competitive examination. For the rest of their lives they know that they have: `Passed the Eleven Plus!’
Different authorities and grammar schools have different pass rates. Some authorities will look for the top 25%, others the top 20% - while some schools only have places for around 120 Year 7 pupils. There is no universal pass rate or admission policy.
Most experienced eleven plus tutors will have good local knowledge about the admission requirements of the grammar schools in their orbit. Parents have access to a wealth of information on the internet and through play ground conversations.
A real benefit of the eleven plus is that it gives the opportunity of many children a chance to study and work hard in the years leading up to them leaving primary school. The syllabus may be a little narrow at times – but it does extend and enrich many bright children.
A further benefit of the examination is that it allows some parents the opportunity to be able to work with their children.