It would be wonderful if progress towards the eleven plus examination was able to follow a straight and narrow road. If a parent could encourage their child to work through eleven papers and attend a mock examination set by their school then a pass would be reasonably secure. Unfortunately much of the eleven plus is experimentation.
There is no one recipe that parents can follow towards the eleven plus. The ingredients are rather complex. Parents have to factor in what is happening at school, outside activities, desire of their child to succeed and their child’s ability. The eleven plus is more of a cook book. One recipe can work for the family at one stage of the preparations while a different one may be needed later on.
If parents try to select a particular recipe they need to appreciate what the recipe is aiming at – and what that particular recipe is capable of achieving. There must, for example, be a close relationship between their child’s motivation to do well academically and future success in the examination. Can parents build motivation through sharing a `good talking to’ or is something a lot more practical needed?
In some ways parents of children working towards the eleven plus are offered a cornucopia of eleven plus materials and opinions. Parents can dip into different areas and experiment to try to find that elusive something that will help their child towards success. When the going gets tough – as it will over the course of the year – then parents can yell for help or can try another direction or another approach.
The Eleven Plus Recipe
6 Years at a good school – with lots of support and interest
2 oz of sympathy and interest from the family
3 finely chopped tests from a major supplier
15 detailed and kindly conversations with friends in the playground
Gallons of effort from `The Candidate’
The inclusion of a little piece of ginger can bring out the flavour of the eleven plus experience. Add some outside opinions from the internet. This brings us to the most important part of the eleven plus – time from the parents. Without time the whole recipe can fall flat. This is the time to go over papers together, time to look up processes in books and on the internet and time to cope tranquilly with the imperious demands of the eleven plus.