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Monday, February 21, 2011

An Eleven Plus Campaign

We were taught in history that Napoleon Bonaparte was an unfortunate man who caused much grief and upset across Europe. His ambition was to conquer the world. The aspiration was arguably correct – it just his methods were hopelessly cruel and thoughtless.

He loved playing with toy soldiers as a boy and had a wide collection of tin soldiers. He organised fights against other groups of boys. When he went to a Paris Military school he spent his free hours studying military history and planning battles.

His mother sent him off to a girls’ school, at one stage, to try to calm him down.

He did not like spelling and his handwriting was incredibly untidy. A professor once described his ability with languages as `granite heated by a volcano.’.

His family did not see him as a genius but looked at his misshapen head and decided that he would have an insignificant future. Little did they know!

Where then is the connection between Napoleon and the eleven plus? It is more of a cautionary tale than an uplifting and inspiring story.

If your child suddenly takes an interest in reading too many military book – then a tiny little warning flag may need to be raised.

Spelling and handwriting problems? Your child may be a doctor not a war lord!

Language ability? I enjoyed the phrase `granite heated by a volcano’. This does tell a story!

A misshapen head? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The ability to plan and co-ordinate a series of extraordinary military campaign show many of the skills that seem to be inherent in the present eleven plus. As parents, however, you want an eleven plus genius not a military genius!

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