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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Eleven Plus Opportunities

The Eleven Plus allows parents the opportunity to prepare their children to work in a favourable environment with other children who have scored highly on ability tests. Children who are gifted in music or ballet are offered the opportunity of entering special schools. Selection at eleven was originally offered to parents through a wealth of grammar schools. Today there are far fewer grammar schools. The advocates of comprehensive secondary education claimed that comprehensive schools would offer opportunities to a wider group of children with a wider variety of gifts and talents. The new Academies also designed to provide favourable conditions for enrichment and extension activities.

Some children of high ability can be accelerated – or passed to higher classes. Experience, in a number of cases, seems to suggest that the developmental age of some children does not always keep up with their intellectual age. The have been, for example, instances of social problems. Some primary schools, therefore, allow able children to be taught specialist subjects in higher sets.

The Eleven Plus ought to offer the ability to enrich the curriculum of the more able children. There some difficulties, however, because not all schools with grammar areas actively promote the Eleven Plus. The playing field in the examination is not, therefore, a level platform.

There is also the danger that children preparing for the eleven plus can be taught skills that anticipate Year 6 work – and even that of the secondary school. I have mentioned before one of our current ten year old pupils who has worked with us on an accelerated and advanced eleven plus course – and has just managed to be two marks off a `B’ grade on an Edexcel Higher Mathematics paper. He spent around ten minutes on the simultaneous equation question before admitting defeat. His attempt, however, did involve trying to devise a graphical solution. The algebra itself was beyond him. He did not realise that he could find `x’ by taking one equation from the other.

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