Back in1212, long before the eleven plus was a twinkle in the eye of the educators, Etienne started the Children’s Crusade. Etienne was a shepherd boy who had a vision He appointed himself as an ambassador to make a pilgrimage.
As he marched through France he was joined by thousands of boys and girls – and some were even bearing arms. As the madness spread through the country, parents were unable to control their children. The children howled until they were able to join the march – and some even crept away in the night.
Is it difficult to imagine a similar Eleven Plus crusade in today’s world? The children would be able to make the crusade from the safety of their computers and phones. Bebo, My Space, Skype, Messaging and Face Book would offer relatively safe havens for the children. Their parents would be able to monitor their conversations, twitters and chat.
Would the eleven plus stay in the same format if every child who has embarked on an eleven plus course was able to be part of a massive eleven plus `chat’ scheme? Children would be able to communicate their answers, thoughts and grumbles. The children would be able to comment, in their own words, on particular papers and formats of papers.
There may even be some children who do not agree with the present control and standardisation of the format of today’s eleven plus. These children would not necessarily be the demonstrators we have seen recently complaining about university fees. These could be children who are genuinely embarrassed by the content of the exercises they have to endure. By the time the brightest of our present children have understood the principle behind the formulaic analogy question – then their curiosity and excitement must be contained. If you have seen one: Grass is to green as snow is to (black, purple, and white) then you have seen the lot!
But our eleven plus children are only around ten years old. Would they be strong enough at this tender age to be to resist pressures from their parents and tutors? Should they be content to continue to attempt to crack `play play’ codes like: “If 123245678 in code is paramount what is 8321?
After all if you have seen one you have seen the lot!