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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Eleven Plus Analysis

There is a select group of people who needed to be revered and held with considerable esteem. These are the architects of the `eighty twenty’ rule. There is not an eleven plus mother in the land who does not subscribe to the rule. The proportions may change but the end result is the same.

The 80-20 rule is simple. Twenty percent of the time is spent on analysis and eighty percent in implementation. What the rule does not recognise is that after implementation considerable resources within the family have to be allocated to maintenance and further development. As any mother dealing with the eleven plus will know – much time also needs to be spent determining whether the original analysis was incomplete or even possibly faulty.

The little explanation may help. It is Sunday evening. The family are relaxed and replete from a pleasurable day where togetherness was the keystone of all activities. There have been no arguments, upset discussions or even one little mini tantrum. This draws a picture of a complete family. A fundamental decision is, however, about to be made. The implications are far reaching.

“We are here this evening to talk about the eleven plus.”

“Listen to your mother. This is important.”

“We are going to discuss the eleven plus. Your school marks are good, the grammar school is close by, your father and I would like you to go to grammar, and your teacher at school has indicated that you have a reasonable chance.”

“I am so pleased. My friends all want to go to grammar. What can I do to help?”

“The eleven plus is a complex affair. We need to break it down into component parts. We need to look at all the parts and then reconstitute them into an effective eleven plus plan.”

“You know children with your mother master minding the project she will be approaching the eleven plus as an art not a science. We have never done this before and will probably make some mistakes along the way. All we can do is the best we can. Your mother has never let us down so far.” (Here Dad pauses as he remembers the second bottle of white wine that was enjoyed in the Maldives.)

“The first thing we have to do is to gather information. Then we need to allocate jobs and responsibilities. We will need to pull together as a family.”

“Look Mum, of course I will do my best. I know I have to change. I will only play on my XBox three times a week. I will read improving books every day. I will stop arguing until after the examination. I promise to keep my bedroom tidy. Mother and father – I pledge that I will watch less T.V. and not hit my brother as often.”

“Thank you for your offer. You don’t need to make all those changes. Remember your grandmother? She used to say. `Moderation. Moderation in everything.’ We will all try to follow the eighty twenty rule. We will try to analyse all potential problems and then we will only implement changes after reflection and full discussion. This is a new era for all of us. As a family we can and must pull together.”

“Can I go now?”

“Can I go now?”

“Can I go now?”

Mother is left sitting at the table – happy but anxious. How will she keep her little brood on track? Will it all work out? What lies ahead?

“Can I go now?”

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