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Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Teeth of the Eleven Plus

How doth the little crocodile...

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in,
With gently smiling jaws!

At what stage does the eleven plus become additive for parents and children? There must be something seductive about the books, the papers, the websites and the tutors that draws ordinary and sensible parents into the jaws of the examination.

The trumpet call goes out:

“We need more papers.”

“We need harder work.”

“Please give me more advice.”

“My fears keep building. What happens if?”

The eleven plus has the potential to rip into the homes of normal families and cause havoc and mayhem. The quest is there for those elusive, yet magical, marks. Parents and children know how much work they need to do and can calculate how much has been done. The one key, and very grey area, is that we do not know what the actual questions are going to be in the real examination.

Parents have to face key questions in their lives:

“Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?” It would be a mistake to be facetious at this point in the ceremony.

“Do you know the speed limit in built up areas?” There would be a price for not knowing that answer.

“Why did Thor Heyerdahl sail the Kon Tiki between South America and the islands of Polynesia?” This must be essential reading for eleven plus children.

Can any eleven plus parent tempt fate, spurn the hype, and let their child just do their best? Of course they can. The problem is that those little smiling teeth are sharp.

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