Will there ever be a change in the admission system for the eleven plus? After all there must be some very bright children who do not pass even though they have all the characteristics of being remarkably bright and able.
It could help some children if an application form could be added to the test results. The form would take a bit of filling in – but could help educators to look beyond 11+ results. There would need to be all the usual sort of information about the candidate –and then parents could be invited to submit detail about their own backgrounds and personal development.
On the application form parents could be asked about what they are looking for in a school. They could also be offered the opportunity to say why they want their child to be considered as a worthy grammar school candidate,.
The eleven plus child could be asked about personal preferences, interests, hobbies and attitude to academic life. In addition to the short biography there could even be a short statement about how the candidate feels that he or she has the ability to cope in a fast moving academic environment. Bright children should be able to articulate their dreams and ambitions at a young age.
An example of the ability of a child to communicate in a a mature and honest manner came our way today. We had a application today from a past pupil wanting to do some voluntary work with us. His C.V. had 13 A* GCSE passes – plus two other subjects at A level and diploma level. We had worked with him towards the 11+ but he used us a sounding board for his theories on a range of mathematical topics. We recalled him well because he explained the formula behind quadratic equations when he just nine years old.
It may also be helpful if the child’s school could be prepared to complete some core questions about their child’s abilities and potential. After all it is the teacher at school is who at the heart of the child’s progress. There may even be a case for a comment from a teacher who knew the candidate in previous years.
It is difficult to know how long a submission of this sort would take to build and create. An articulate and well informed child would shine through on a carefully prepared C.V.