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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Eleven Plus and Parent's Ambitions

High attainment between the ages of six and sixteen is associated with sixth form entry. Sixth form entry is associated with a place at university. University education means, for most, the potential for having a career rather than a job.

The parents of high achieving children are often highly ambitious for their children. These parents are likely to include education as an important factor when making decisions about the family. (I know of one family with a five bed roomed house and a swimming pool in Florida who chose to spend one summer holiday in England as their child would be sitting the eleven plus days after school went back in September.)

Parents of high achievers are more likely to feel that school performance is an important factor in progress towards the eleven plus. Many parents will also demonstrate high personal literacy – with an interest in books and ideas.

The rateable value of homes could possibly be a factor. We once had seventeen children from one road that was near to one of our centres. (The houses were lovely!) There is probably a `posh home’ factor that needs to be taken into account when looking at the likelihood of a child passing the eleven plus.

What is vitally important in any discussion on the eleven plus – a grammar school does not offer a child a fresh start – because the child must necessarily have been a high achiever to have passed the examination.

The scores a child achieves in the eleven plus examination must be, to a degree, be associated with future academic success. After all an aim of the eleven plus must be to try to find children of similar abilities – who have the potential to do well at school.

The wonderful thing about the eleven plus, however, is that just because parents have impressive jobs and live in mansions it does not mean that their children are going to work hard and be ambitious. After all a bright child from less fortunate background has an equal chance on the day in the examination. (I have just remembered – the house in Florida also had a three car garage – I know because I was shown a picture of the house on the internet.)

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