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Friday, February 08, 2013

Did Tennyson Write About the Eleven Plus?

When you were at school you may have studied a little Tennyson. His epic `In Memorium’ may have been looking ahead to the eleven plus!

There rolls the deep where grew the tree.
O earth, what changes hast thou seen!
There where the long street roars, hath been
The stillness of the central sea.

During the eleven plus years parents and children will experience highs and lows. There will be times when a wave of action seems to be taking place – and at other times the eleven plus examination will seem to be far away.

Some authorities are changing from the GL (Grenada Learning) eleven plus led examination to examinations serviced by Durham University. For years the advertising slogan of the `Official’ eleven plus papers may have directed parents to buy their papers.

If Tennyson had had an eleven plus child we could imagine him writing about the relative peace in the home before `Eleven Plus Fever’ struck. He could even have written about how families have to change to accommodate the impact of a child writing competitive entrance examinations. Where he talks about the sound of the street overtaking the peace and beauty of the sea he may have penned an extra ode to the hustle and bustle of the eleven plus year.

Would Tennyson have been able to use emotive words like `the most authentic practice’? It is difficult to know because Verse Three ends:

But in my spirit will I dwell,
And dream my dream, and hold it true;
For tho' my lips may breathe adieu,
I cannot think the thing farewell.

The Eleven Plus examination will pass – but the consequences of passing or failing may dwell for ever!