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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Eleven Plus Information

One of the problems that parents face on their shared eleven plus journey is what to do with all the information that they collect. At certain stages the eleven plus train will pull into a siding to allow the driver to take stock. This is rather like parking to check that the sat nav is still working correctly.

Mothers and fathers have to believe in the inevitability of the examination. Like death and taxes the eleven plus examination grows ever closer. Along the way parents have to make basic assumptions.

“Nearly all the children in my child’s class are attending tutors – therefore my child needs to attend one too.”

Of course this assumption is fundamentally flawed. Many children pass the eleven plus without attending a tutor.

“I must use the recommended books otherwise my child will fail.”

Again this is not correct. We once had a father who wanted to sit in every lesson his child attended. He scrutinised every single question – much less every exercise. He was preoccupied with the question – how relevant is that exercise to the questions my daughter will be offered in the examination?

“Will my child feel alienated from friends and family if he or she has to attend the local comprehensive?”

In all these things beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We once had a very bright girl who wanted to attend an all girls school grammar school and not a mixed grammar school that was `just down the road’. She passed the one examination with fantastic marks – but failed the other with extraordinary low marks. She voted on her choice of school in the actual examination.

“Do I need to react passively if my child starts on a familiar `Why me?” conversation?”

As far as family dynamics are concerned a healthy exchange of views can clear the air.

Raised voices? That is up to all concerned. Depends on whose voice!

Splendid sulks? That depends on who is doing the sulking.

Bribery? Of course!

Threats? A waste of time. Like water off a duck’s back!

Discussion? The dream – but not always reality.

Information? Just an overload. Keep it simple!

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