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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why we have an Eleven Plus Examination

The raison d’etre for the eleven plus is to try to help find children a place in grammar schools. Some grammar schools may even welcome the idea that even more children could earn a place and a chance at a different kind of education. Naturally there are special problems associated with developing tests that can select children successfully but generations of children have entered the system and fruitfully emerged at the other end.

The world of the eleven plus, however, is ever changing. New ideas will flow from publishers and new tutors will emerge to challenge the establishment. At the same time the eleven plus, is to a degree, weakened by a divergence of opinions that are held by the major participants – the parents, the children and the rest (made up of tutors, schools, publishers, book shops and the internet.)

Each of the `contributors’ will have some form of specialised knowledge. The children will learn to cope with different books, papers and teaching methods. Parents will learn from each other and sheer common sense. The providers will continue trying to capture as much as possible of the market. There will always be some fashion in the world of the eleven plus. Parents will always need to be able to send out feelers – and tasters – in the hope that something will work for their child. The magic wand is just around the corner!

The may be a need for some parents to play the `devil’s advocate’. “I do not mind if my child does not pass the eleven plus – I just want him or her to do the as well as possible.”

The child may retort, after hearing these soulful words: “My mum and dad keep buying papers and books for me to work on. If I pass they will give me a new watch. All the family will also go on holiday to Australia. There is a lot of pressure on me.”

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