The eleven plus examination demands an extraordinary degree of specialism. Children as young as nine years old can be directed towards studying a restricted range of subjects in great depth. All is not lost, however, because in eleven plus years life does go on. The children still attend school. They continue to enjoy access to outside activities. Extra-curricular lessons in areas such as music and swimming continue. The eleven plus year can mean that life just becomes a little busier.
Some children may approach their eleven plus examinations under the care of a specialist mathematics teacher. This could, for example, be a teacher with a genuine passion for mathematics – intent on expanding and broadening the horizons of the children in his or her care. A teacher of this ilk may guide the children towards problems solving techniques far beyond the remit of eleven plus papers.
Other children may be blessed by a teacher with a wonderful classical background. These children may be introduced to literature where reading and talking about books and ideas become far more than a recreational or educational activity.
Of course some eleven plus children may enjoy the privilege of attending an eleven plus tutor whose real interest lies in the child doing well in the examinations. The whole syllabus would then be geared around set papers, books and exercises designed to help a child to do as well as possible in an examination.
There could even be some parents who do not want their children to participate in a watered down eleven plus syllabus. They will want their child to feel that they are among the elite – destined for greater things. They will hope that their children feel anxious to do as well as possible – and to be considered to be responsible contenders. It is hoped that these children will feel themselves privileged to be able to have access to new and entertaining lessons and experiences.
It is possible, however, that the very great majority of eleven plus parents will hope that the rigors of the examination do not kill off intellectual challenges.