We have children writing the Medway Eleven Plus tests in the very near future. Part of their assessment is written English. Last year the children were asked to write a letter. Will they be presented with the same task this year?
Who wrote the first letter? We just don’t know. The Chinese and Japanese have their own set of characters. Back in ancient Egypt, India, China and Central America writing was used for record keeping. In Mesopotamia the need for records and administration reached a point where people could not remember all the transactions and, to avoid disputes, clerks began make formal records.
Some scholars think that an individual in about 3300 BC produced a form of writing that can be recognised today. It is also likely, however, that writing was the product of an evolution of skills over a long time.
This same evolution exists today. The art of texting, for example, has allowed new forms of writing and communication. A message can pass within seconds over long distances. This is a far cry from the letter borne by Pheidippides when he ran the marathon to ask for help.
Was the first actual letter a business transaction? I hope not. It does seem sad if the first letter was a record of the delivery of some pots. It would be far more romantic to have the first letter from the pen of an Eleven Plus mother.
We all wish you every good fortune in your eleven plus examinations. You will be in all our thoughts and we are all very proud of you.
We will all go out for a big party to celebrate the end of the eleven plus. We know that you have worked very hard and we salute you for the effort.