Children with educational problems are faced with mountains to climb as soon as a start is made on formal eleven plus work. Some of these children may have arrived at school prepared for prescribed learning – but unready to cope with some of the developmental demands. Before a child, for example, is able to recite the alphabet many different educational blocks have to be in place.
We presume that eleven plus children are intellectually ready to cope with the demands of the eleven plus – but what about what else has happened in their lives? Have they come from a very big class, does the school believe in the eleven plus or is everything all right at home?
Of course parents hope and pray for an early diagnosis of any educational problems. They then hope that the school has the necessary resources to be able to offer their child the help that is needed.
It is unfortunate for many children with problems that the eleven plus is still regarded as an examination that needs to be passed. There can be very few extenuating circumstances if a child has not reached the required levels.
It could be fairer to a small group of children if they could be thought of as special cases – needing nurturing and consideration. There must be some children who should not have to hear the dreaded words:
“I am sorry but our school is full. We have enough children who have passed the examination to fill our classes. We simply do not have a place for you. We are sure you will be happy in another school”