I passed my Eleven Plus

The BBC has published a cute mini-Eleven Plus that gives a taste of the test that determined the futures of British children for three decades. An Eleven Plus pass sent you to Grammar School and fail meant the tech or secondary modern.

Of course, I should pass the Eleven Plus. I have two decades on my 11 year old self, GCSEs, A-levels and a degree. Even so, I dropped a couple of marks and was left wondering whether I would have passed when I was 11. It’s hard to know. It was quite testing and certainly got my grey cells jiggling.

It’s sometimes easy to treat the Eleven Plus as history. But it’s alive and well in parts of England and also Northern Ireland. As the happy pupil of a state comprehensive from 11 – 16, I mistrust the Eleven Plus. It simply isn’t fair (or even accurate) to segregate children at such a young age and, to a very great extent, determine their future life path based on some rather pointless word and number problems.

One Response to I passed my Eleven Plus

  1. Henrietta says:

    Dating myself here, the eleven plus was tough. So far as segregating children and determining their life-stream choice I don’t know. If a child was misclassified by the test they still had the option to do ‘O’ Levels and move to Grammar School for ‘A’ Levels instead of leaving school and getting a job, in my area anyway. I knew three who did just that and believe me they were self motivated and very driven, all being admitted to very top level universities.

    The secondary modern had much better facilities than we did, newer and nicer everything.

    Life is not fair my friend, the sooner we learn that the sooner we can learn skills to tip the scales in our favour. I think the test was designed to reveal reasoning capability as much as anything, in my day anyway.

    The comprehensive system came in after I left the UK. I can’t help wondering if kids get lost in the numbers like they do in huge urban schools in the USA.

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