I cannot believe that it has been over a week since the grammar school entrance exam (otherwise known as the eleven plus). For us it was our third child trying to secure a place but the first time of the new CEM tutor-proof style of testing. It is the first time I have really worried about the test and I am not sure if that is more to do with being less naïve about what goes on or the fact that I really feel that our third son really does belong in a grammar school. Our second oldest scored 100% in his level 6 SATs for Maths and we still ended up appealing the 11+ test outcome for him.
What was the 11+ Like?
Actually getting to the test was rather nail-biting for parents – making sure we had all the correct things, that he was calm, on time but not too early, considering how close to park etc. The actual 11+ test itself our son was sat with 6 other children in the sixth form room – on comfy sofas apparently! They were also given biscuits! He answered all the questions even the ones he didn’t know (including 5 synonyms and a non-verbal reasoning) and had no distractions. Most importantly he came out of the 11+ exam happy. I saw so many children who looked absolutely drained (our son then stayed up all night as it was the treat that he had requested) and heard of children crying and even being sick!
After the 11+ Exam
Our third-born is a very bright and able lad, who has a real thirst for learning. A grammar school would suit him well. But what it really comes down to is luck on the day. After the 11+ exam there were so many parents trying to remain positive, as they told children who hadn’t completed the paper how proud of them they were for trying. This is the thing there are no failures – it isn’t about being inadequate but luck and pure selection.
It is not only about how each child is feeling, but just the luck of the draw with the questions themselves: Are there lots they are really confident with? – does it just happen to be the vocabulary they know?, have they made silly mistakes? and what are the rest of the cohort like? Children will have approached the test from so many different angles – from the child that is just trying their luck on the day to the one who has sat the eleven plus in different counties waiting to see where they will live come next September. I am worried that we took a too laid back approach and of course I am still not one hundred percent confident of my home education – he was so chilled in the last week before the 11+ exam that he hardly did anything other than a few games of scrabble and read a little bit. I tried to encourage him suggesting that his school-going peers would be practicing Maths and English daily but he was more concerned about cooking for the post-test sugar fest.
11+ Limbo: The Wait for the Results
After the test he remained chilled but I think as results day is creeping closer and closer I think nerves are actually getting to him. I believe he really wants this. Even despite the fun we are having at home (including a skiing lesson!) he still wants to go back to school. I am trying not to worry about the result now as whatever will be really will be, but I really cannot imagine our son has not secured a place somewhere and it will be hard to swallow if he doesn’t. It really is a time in limbo that sounds such a short period but feels so long. Then when results day comes along it may not be clear-cut and then it will be a very long wait until March!
Other Posts of Interest:
Has your child taken the eleven plus? How was it for them and yourself?