Many years ago Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) wrote about education. He believed that one of the purposes of education was to bring liberty and happiness to a child. (Explain that to a tired and upset eleven plus child trying to complete a paper after a long day at school!) He thought that if a child was permitted to suffer the consequences of his or her free activity he or should learn by experience what made happiness and freedom.
This was called the `discipline of natural consequences’. A child could do what he liked at school but he had to pay for it. He was allowed, for example, to kick the Head in the shins – but the Head could kick him back – and the Head was likely to have bigger boots!
Rousseau pleaded for the need for the right sort of environment for learning.
All these years later we can, possibly, continue to learn a little from this original thinker. Eleven plus children, when possible, should be free and happy. They should be able to learn from their mistakes.