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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Eleven Plus Values

Once upon a time a boy was brought up in a professional family in the middle of a large city. He was given the best possible pre eleven plus education that money, love and desire could afford. He had everything he needed to study effectively. His parents and family offered every possible support and encouragement.

The collective desire for the boy was for him to win a place at grammar – just like his father before him. Perhaps then the boy would go to university, meet the right girl, marry and, in time, become a solid and respectable member of the community. (It would help if his `wife to be’ had also gone to a grammar school before her university courses.)

We can see this boy becoming a man with a satisfying professional future. He would buy the right size house at the right time – and develop an impressive recession free future.

There could be one small hitch in this saga. He could take a gap year out. He would then go on to experience a wider range of cultures and people. He could meet girls who had no immediate desire for a university education. In the course of his travels he could develop a passion for geology or forestry or a desire to own a diving school in Tahiti.

The gap year in itself may not have provided the trigger. His parents may have read books to him at a young age about adventure and exploration. His mother may have been a botanist of repute who introduced him to a study of flora and fauna. She may have nurtured him on microscopes and a desire to collect.

His father may have accompanied him on camping weekends with the Beavers and the Cubs. He may have won an exploration badge when he just seven years old – along with the highly prized cooking badge. His parents may have had a preference for holidays off the beaten track – including an unforgettable trek on a pony in the foothills of the Rockies. Just before his eleven plus examinations he may have fallen `just a little in love’ with a girl he met on the sands of Bali.

One of the aims of the stated `Eleven Plus Plan’ must have been for the boy to pass the eleven plus. As we can see, however, there may have been influences outside of the structured eleven plus papers plan that contributed towards developing him into a receptive candidate. Some unforeseen and uncontrollable factors may have helped him to develop strong feelings on work and the value of study.

If this saga has to have a fairy tale ending then all the outside influences will have contributed towards helping him to focus and be attentive when he is concentrating on an eleven plus paper.

We can only hope that the boy appreciates and values the efforts that have been made on his behalf.

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