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Monday, December 17, 2012

The Eleven Plus and Rupert Brooke

Do these words from Rupert Brooke remind you of your examinations? Can you imagine your child sitting the eleven plus and experiencing at least some of these emotions?

Remind your child – if the sun is shining in his or her eyes while the test is on – then ask to have the curtains drawn!

Do not hunch over the paper – sit comfortably – but do not slouch.

Say quietly to your child that if others in the room keep working until the last minute it does not mean you are going to fail.

We know that a `gyre’ is a vortex. Remind your child: “Keep calm. Keep steady.  Don’t panic – most of the rest of the children will also be struggling.”

In Examination 10th November 1908

Lo! from quiet skies
In through the window my Lord the Sun!
And my eyes
Were dazzled and drunk with the misty gold,
The golden glory that drowned and crowned me
Eddied and swayed through the room...
Around me,
To left and to right,
Hunched figures and old,
Dull blear-eyed scribbling fools, grew fair,
Ringed round and haloed with holy light.
Flame lit on their hair,
And their burning eyes grew young and wise,
Each as a God, or King of kings,
White-robed and bright
(Still scribbling all);
And a full tumultuous murmur of wings
Grew through the hall;
And I knew the white undying Fire,
And, through open portals,
Gyre on gyre,
Archangels and angels, adoring, bowing,
And a Face unshaded...
Till the light faded;
And they were but fools again, fools unknowing,
Still scribbling, blear-eyed and stolid immortals.

A final word to your child: “The light may fade on the eleven plus but you just need to do your best. That is all we can ask for.”