Your child is about to enter the eleven plus examination hall. You look anxiously to see what state of mind your child is in. Will he or she enter happily, calmly, feeling well prepared and quite laid back? Will he or she enter the room with the light of battle in his or her eyes – ready to take on the other thousands of candidates – pumped up and looking for an eleven plus fight? (One or two children may even be in the middle – a bit laid back and a bit pumped up!)
If your child is ready for a battle he or she may need a heraldic device. Your child takes his or her genealogical attributes from the two of you as parents. The work ethic and amount of work done is up to your child. By the time you have reached the day of the examination you will have done your best. Heraldry presumes precedence, honorary distinctions and armorial bearings.
In the Middle Ages, long before the eleven plus, knights assumed heraldic devices in a big way – these were shown on badges, crests, designs on coats, pennons and helmets. The armorial insignia was placed on a shield – where the knight could chose a design made up of forms with bends and chevrons. Ten degrees of coats of arms were recognised.
You could ensure eleven plus success for your child if you made sure your child was carrying a shield into the examination. Your child could have on his or her shield:
The `Official Eleven Plus Candidate’ chevron.
The sign saying – We did this at home with no outside help.
The mark to show that your child is in the top sets at school.
The colours proclaiming that your child had worked through more than twenty different eleven plus papers.
The background showing that you have told your child to do the best he or she can.
And finally, the mark in the centre of the device that told the world that you had said: “Don’t worry dear. Just do the best you can. We will still love you whatever the outcome.”
Parents will be aware that the College of Arms, who ratify the shields of each and every ` Official Eleven Plus Candidate’, will not entertain the idea of three rampant lions, swords and lances. The eleven plus children are doing battle with themselves and no one else. Richard 111 promoted the first College of Heralds. We all remember Shakespeare’s take on Richard 111. In Act 5, Scene 7 Richard called out those memorable words: “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”
If your child leaves you on the way into the eleven plus examination muttering: “Oh dear! Oh dear! I do hope I do well!” you will know that all your last minute exhortations have worked!