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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An Eleven Plus Story

A number of children in Kent will be writing their Eleven Plus English essay tomorrow. The results of the exercise are only used in the event of further evidence about a pass or fail situation.

One hundred years ago children in some English classes were asked to complete a story.

Hare Tortoise race discussion winner hare arrogant humility participants spectators audience timely plodding moral

There was little room for individual thinking. Children could demonstrate a wide vocabulary and careful punctuation. The very essence of a bright eleven year old, however, may have been stifled – the need to argue and discuss.

A ten year eleven plus candidate who can not put up a robust argument must be rare and unusual. Some of the children writing the examination tomorrow may go on to become lawyers, barristers and judges.

We hope too that at least some of the questions tomorrow will try to stimulate a bright and fertile imagination. We can only hope that some of the questions will try to inspire the children and encourage them to write with heightened visual imagery and decoration.

All we can hope is that the urgency of the eleven plus does not force some children into writing insincere and highly predicable stories or accounts.

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