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Monday, June 20, 2011

The Eleven Plus on 63p a Day

I understand, from allegorical accounts, that Sunday morning is traditionally the time when parents look at their children with a calculating eye. How much has he or she already cost me on this eleven plus journey? What are my child’s immediate needs? How much do we need to budget in the period up to the examinations?

Key to this question is how much money still needs to be spent on books, papers and resources in the immediate future. Traditionally the annual profits of a family consist of a cache of banknotes under mother’s bed. Mum can spend some of this money if she has to – but she does need to keep a reserve for a rainy day. The family have to live on profits – what is left over after all the hidden and the exposed expenses have been accounted for.

When it comes to buying eleven plus papers parents have to use a proportion of cash that is left over. If books to the value of £50.00 have been bought, and still lie undiscovered and unused, then the family may need to factor in inflation. If after three months the books are virginally serene then inflation will have affected the cost of the books to the family.

Eleven Plus Question

Your family buys books for £50.00. Inflation is running at 5%. The books have not been used for three months. What is the present value of the books?

5% of £50.00 is £2.50. Find 3/12s of this amount. A quarter of £2.50 is 63p.

That 63p has to come out of profits. Of course the books are an asset – and may be used between now and the examinations – but you have still lost 63p.

This is where some parents may need to take a step back. Why has my lovely child not embraced all these lovely books and papers I bought three months ago? Will my lovely child work through these books and papers before the examination – but do we need to buy new ones? What is the `ball park figure’ that we still need to spend?

If you are going to buy new books and materials then you may consider taking your child with you so that the decision become a `joint venture’ rather that a dictatorial decision. When you are in the bookshop – be it online or with-in physical premises – then you can drive home the key points of a collective bargaining process. “If you work through these papers, and the one you still have at home, then you can have a reward.”

“But Mum, you always say that and you never keep your promise.”

“That is not quite correct. We brokered an agreement that you would keep your room tidy and do your homework before you went to bed. When have you ever made time to do eleven plus papers?”

“I submit gracefully, Dear Mother, I will do part of paper every day – and you will put 63p into my hand every day as a cash incentive. If you miss a day then I will stop working towards my eleven plus.”

Now every parent knows that you can establish the age of a horse by look at its teeth. When you child issues you a threat with clenched teeth you know exactly what to do. You have the power. Television? Computer? Parties? Time outside? Food? Bed time? Swimming? Golf? These are all bargaining points that you can bring to the table. In the final analysis 63p a day is not too much to pay to your ever loving and willing eleven plus candidate.

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