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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cogs and the Eleven Plus

The Rugby Internationals are approaching. The English supporters, at Twickenham, sing `Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ on a number of occasions. Sometimes they sing to try to encourage the team, on other occasions they sing `Swing Low’ to celebrate a victory.

Should eleven plus parents learn the song to help their children through the heights and troughs of the eleven plus? Imagine the car coming home from an eleven plus lesson. A sweet dulcet voice starts the song. Soon the whole car is singing lustily. At the end, however, there is no mercy. A little voice will say, “Mum, can we have chips for supper?”

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home,
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see
Coming for to carry me home?
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.


If I get there before you do,
(Coming for to carry me home)
I'll cut a hole and pull you through.
(Coming for to carry me home)
If you get there before I do,
(Coming for to carry me home)
Tell all my friends I'm coming too.
(Coming for to carry me home)


As the family put the last dishes away, and the floor is swept and all is quiet and peaceful, the challenge of the eleven plus is brought into focus once again.

“Mum, Dad please help me to solve a problem.”

“With great pleasure, we will do our best.”

“Thank you, I will read the question to you:

A gear wheel having 60 cogs dives another which has 64 cogs. Find out how many times each wheel must turn before two cogs, which are together, one on each wheel, will be together again in the same position.”

“That is easy, 16 and 15!”

“How did you do that?”

“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot!”