It divides opinions at the school gates , it’s more important in some areas than others and it leaves our children shaking in their shoes.
I am of course talking about the 11+ exam.
The 11+ exam was first brought in circulation in 1944 by the Butler Education Act and was the deciding factor as to which school a child would attend after leaving Primary School.The results from this test would decide which children would be offered Grammar School Education. This resulted in a Tripartite system of Education.
The exam consists of Verbal Reasoning , Non Verbal Reasoning , Maths and English. The test is also non compulsory and therefore your child can opt in or opt out.
The test itself causes some controversy especially in those areas where a Grammar School education is still available ( only 164 available in the UK and Ireland). Some see it as a class act with those that can afford additional tutoring for their child being at a strong advantage to those that could not afford this luxury. And that is why this year the test is subject to change once again with the papers guarded with more secrecy than seen within MI5 so that tutors cannot get their grubby hands on it.
It does annoy me slightly when you face criticism from others for employing the help of a tutor. Nobody bats an eye when it is a football academy , music tutor, acting class etc. So why get all angsty about this ? I just don’t understand it.
Personally I welcome this change if this means it offers a fairer system then I am all for it. Will my son be taking the test ? Yes he will ? Will I be getting him tutoring ? Yes I will. Not because I want him to have an advantage but because I want him to enter into the exam prepared with the right skills to ENHANCE what he already has.If the tutor came to me and said he wasn’t getting it or of he didn’t want to do this. I would stop it in a heartbeat.
I am sure his school will carry out an amazing job preparing them all for this moment, and my decision to get a tutor will take nothing away from the great work the school do or have done over previous years leading to this point.
I see it as helping lay a few bricks on their solid foundation. As for the cost involved , well I don’t smoke but if I did it would be no more than feeding that habit.
We have also adopted a healthy attitude towards the test and my son sees this as another step to realising HIS personal goals. We have not hyped it up to be the be all end all of his school life or indeed ramped it up to the importance of studying for a degree. He has always been raised that if you want something you work hard for it and that goals can only be realised by doing so.Only recently I have studied and passed for more qualifications which I needed to progress further. Of course it’s my choice to do this but is has been healthy for him to realise that even adults have to go through exams still to chase their dreams
I applaud parents whom opt out of the exam for making that choice with their child , after all we all want what is best for them and not what’s best for us.
I will limit his tutoring to once a week my strategy being that regular practice is better than none and that practice will be with somebody with the right level of patience and enthusiasm , which come on isn’t going to be a tired mum at the end of a the day and to be honest I have zero common reason and the least logical mind ever. Plus there is the timed section and I can see myself now stopwatch in hand pacing the room shouting at him like a deranged personal fitness coach !!
I do however abhor the fact that it has become part of a competitive framework for children at such an early age and it is important that it isn’t marketed to your child as that, but more about a stepping stone towards goals.
It is such a sensitive subject to address and one that is personal to you so whatever decision you make this year for your child don’t make it alone….. make it TOGETHER !!!