Friday, November 21, 2008

The Last Eleven Plus

Today P7 pupils in Northern Ireland sat what could be the last Transfer Test ever. The Eleven Plus will be no more after this year. However, there's no clear guidelines on what will be in place next year.

I can vaguely remember doing the 11+ way back then - my only abiding memory is sitting at home in my bedroom doing one of the practice papers. Having done the test, I then went to Dromore High School, not because I didn't get into a grammar school with my grades, but because it was my first preference.

If there was such a thing as pressure back then, it must have passed me by - I must have been laid back even then. However, nowadays there is a lot of pressure on the children doing the Transfer Tests. Pressure at such an early age to perform well and succeed.

But what does success mean? Could there be damage for children branded by the system as a failure? Quite possibly. But surely the pressure and stress on the children from the unknowing of next year's arrangements is even worse. For the wellbeing of our children, the Assembly must sort this out, and that right early!

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