By this stage of the year some parents will have been making their SWOT analysis. The analysis would need to cover the activities associated with securing an eleven plus pass. The objectives do not need to be laboured or even too accurate – but broad areas could be addressed.
1. To provide the best possible opportunities for their child
2. To find out as much as possible about the eleven plus
3. To learn to distinguish between opinion, rumour and fact
4. To try to ensure that any additional help – be it a book, a paper, an on-line exercise or a tutor is as effective as possible
5. To secure the involvement of the rest of the family
The top ranking objective must be to try to provide the best possible opportunities
This can be an on-going exercise where parents learn about the eleven plus from a variety of sources – including hard won experience. A tutor, for example, who worked for one child may not be as effective with a different mother’s precious candidate. A set of papers, that `made all the difference’, may be too easy or too hard for your child. A web site or a course may be useful but not the magic wand.
Securing the help of the family may be more important than being relegated to `Number 5’ in the above list. The rest of the family made need to co-operate with the candidate. The T.V., for example, may or may not need to be turned off while papers are being worked on. Great Aunt Elizabeth may need to move from her favoured chair, by the open log fire, to try to avoid her commenting on each and every question. The twins may need to bath while the lesson is going on. Great Uncle Fred, who is still married to Great Aunt Elizabeth after 53 years may have to leave off his wine making while the `candidate’ is working because the sound of corks popping off in the wine cellar under the stairs may be off putting – especially if Great Uncle Fred starts singing tunelessly!
In the old days the word `swot’ was to do with a person who studied seriously and effectively – with a great purpose. A SWOT today is a lot more prosaic –it is a planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
What are my child’s eleven plus strengths and weaknesses?
How can we make best use of opportunities?
Are there any potential threats that could scupper eleven plus success?
All you can hope is that your child becomes an eleven plus swot and makes full use of your SWOT analysis.