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11 Plus Exams

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Like Janice I sat the 11 plus in 1964. I remember writing a long essay about a tortoise I found at the back of our house - all made up. Enjoyed that part of it but hated, and always have hated, maths. Must have done reasonably well enough to pass. When I went to Grammar School I found it difficult to adjust, plus I had an overbearing father who thought education was the be all and end all of life. He set too many high expectations and, although I did very well from 11- 15, I rebelled in the later years. I think he pretty much cut me off after that. The ironic thing is, (and something which he never knew) is I ended up working on developing education policy in the Dept for Education !

As a result of my experience, I’ve never put that sort of pressure on my own children. I think it borders on abuse when children are pushed through the system by over aspirational parents. I also believe the channeling of all older pupils to go down the university route (when many could clearly be doing something more appropriate post -18) is another big mistake. And the unnecessary anxiety created in getting into a university is also appalling.

I have very strong views about education and believe it still needs a good shake up. Viv.
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
well put viv....i forgot to say earlier that as i am the eldest of 6 children i shall always be grateful to mom and dad for allowing me to say on an extra year to achieve the cse results i wanted...money was tight in our family as it was in most and i am sure that the extra money i could have bought in for that year would have been very useful especially as the youngest sibling had just been born...

lyn
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
I was at Aldridge Road Secondary Modern and was always near top of class in exams etc but failed the 11 plus. I later took the entrance exam for Handworth Technical School and easily passed. There was a bully teacher at Aldridge Road who had it in for me and told me I had no chance of passing the HTS exam. I took great delight in waving the HTS acceptance letter in his face as I walked out of the school for good.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Why on earth should music questions affect entry. Its as bad as American universities being full of thickos whose only "qualification" being big, thick-skulled and good at that atrocious american football or baseball.
 

adap2it

master brummie
I failed the 11 plus too...must have been the math. Ironically, math is now my more stronger subjects, I guess I wasn't ready at 11. Anyhow, at 13 I passed for the art school, which was my definite preference.
Dave A
 

pjmburns

master brummie
I wasn't very good at essay, liked comprehension and the general reasoning but I must admit I didn't like the maths especially the mental arithmetic. Ironic when I later spent the best part of 40 years teaching Maths. o_O
 

oldbrit

OldBrit in Exile
I passed the ll+ exams OK, in fact I was always good at math and had the choice of a tech school or an art school, but my parents knew that I loved to draw and paint, so I was sent to Moseley School of art. This was I think? one of the many mistakes I made in my life, It affected my job, in the RAF. I changed my course after my two wasted years as a batman!! to a very different path. BUT maybe it was good who knows????
 

devonjim

master brummie
Perhaps you were judged to be very bright and took the 11+ a year early.
Hardly. It was just the system in 1951. I think maybe I passed "11+" because I was an only child for seven years and I liked to read, and also played cribbage and other card games with my grand dad and so was familiar with numbers. I was always useless at languages and found learning things like poetry very difficult. I ran out of steam by my teens perhaps because I had been rendered unconscious from heading cricket balls or having had head x-rays, whatever, learning which had always been easy became difficult. Early onset dementia?
 

superdad3

master brummie
I think the King Edward exam must have changed. No music questions in 1986 or 1989 when my two children passed.

What a can of worms mention of the 11+ opens! I was born in a rough, poverty struck part of Liverpool: Toxteth. I passed the 11+ and frankly going to the best grammar school in Liverpool changed my life in the long term for the better.

Often feel at a disadvantage on the Forum as my early memories are not of Brum.
 

Johnfromstaffs

Johnfromstaffs
Being me, I took the thing a year early, and being born in late May wound up at the grammar school at the ripe old age of ten years and three months.

Nothing much happened after that.....
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
I think the King Edward exam must have changed. No music questions in 1986 or 1989 when my two children passed.

What a can of worms mention of the 11+ opens! I was born in a rough, poverty struck part of Liverpool: Toxteth. I passed the 11+ and frankly going to the best grammar school in Liverpool changed my life in the long term for the better.

Often feel at a disadvantage on the Forum as my early memories are not of Brum.
Don't worry. Other than going through by train my first memories of it were when I was 24
 

cba

master brummie
Morning Lyn, I always felt that the 11 plus was not a good idea. I passed without any problem, not because I was any more intelligent than anyone who didn't pass, they just asked me the right questions and wasn't worried or nervous. My brother didn't pass and yet he was far more clever and hard working than I ever was. Everyone else in our gang passed and it had a profound effect on him from then onward. I think this was proved by the fact that I got two 'O' levels - Art and English Literature and he got 'A' levels in Physics, Chemistry and Maths. He got a place at university but Dad was very ill (although we didn't know at the time) and wouldn't let him go.
One of the things that a lot of people either didn't know of have forgotten about the 11+ is that it was not based purely on the tests.it was dependant upon the number of grammar and technical places available in your area. It also depends on the number of places for girls, there were fewer, so this affected their pass rates. I say pass rates, but there was not meant to be pass or fail, you were sent to the most appropriate school depending on the tests and your school's recommendation! This affected many able children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
I was Catholic in Sutton Coldfield and was placed at Cardinal Wiseman in New Oscott. I came top in all subject areas there and because the school was over the border in Birmingham, I was entered for 13+ and ended up at John Willmott GS in Sutton. Not a success for me as I was then put down a year to catch up on subjects I had not studied such as Latin, french, seperate sciences. Not a positive experience either socially or academically! I left before taking exams and went to Birmingham College of Food for a couple of years. I took O levels and teaching qualifications in my early 20s and spent over 30 years as a Secondary teacher in London. My own experience taught me to value comprehensive education and to understand that a child's background should never be a barrier to achievement.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
And I remember your parents had to list, I think, three grammar schools of their choice and you were allocated the one most appropriate for your child. Presumably that was based on your 11plus results and the school recommendation. Viv.
 

jmadone

master brummie
And I remember your parents had to list, I think, three grammar schools of their choice and you were allocated the one most appropriate for your child. Presumably that was based on your 11plus results and the school recommendation. Viv.
That's my recollection. My parents listed K.E.G.S. Camp Hill, then Central Grammar (Where a lot of my classmates ended up) and on the advice of a family friend who passionately believed in the Comprehensive system, Sheldon Heath. Sheldon Heath would have been my preference but wasn't to be.
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
One of the things that a lot of people either didn't know of have forgotten about the 11+ is that it was not based purely on the tests.it was dependant upon the number of grammar and technical places available in your area. It also depends on the number of places for girls, there were fewer, so this affected their pass rates. I say pass rates, but there was not meant to be pass or fail, you were sent to the most appropriate school depending on the tests and your school's recommendation! This affected many able children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
I was Catholic in Sutton Coldfield and was placed at Cardinal Wiseman in New Oscott. I came top in all subject areas there and because the school was over the border in Birmingham, I was entered for 13+ and ended up at John Willmott GS in Sutton. Not a success for me as I was then put down a year to catch up on subjects I had not studied such as Latin, french, seperate sciences. Not a positive experience either socially or academically! I left before taking exams and went to Birmingham College of Food for a couple of years. I took O levels and teaching qualifications in my early 20s and spent over 30 years as a Secondary teacher in London. My own experience taught me to value comprehensive education and to understand that a child's background should never be a barrier to achievement.
thats very interesting cba and could explain why i did not pass but my friend an only child did.. she ended up at rosehill girls grammar...on the other hand maybe i was just not good enough at that time and she was :D

lyn
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Interesting, because my mother and I were told to attend a meeting with College Road Headmaster William Shakespeare, and I was a bit scared of him, as nice as he was. In my five years at College Road, I can't ever remember meeting him in close circumstances before. He told us that I was a borderline case and said I would be offered a place at Moseley Grammar and it turned out that I was the youngest in the class bar one. This had later repercussions at "O" Level time because you had to be 11 years old by the September of the exam year otherwise you had to do an extra year - an absolute disaster for me. I'd dropped biology in the 2nd year and opted for Physics and Chemistry, two of my best subjects. The extra year was a hotch potch of boys across the four streams of that year.

So instead of taking Physic & Chemistry as separate subjects, we were forced to take General Science 1 and General Science 2, a third of each paper being biology, a subject I had not set eyes on since my first year. Those who had opted to do biology in their second year were similarly disadvantaged as a third of the paper was chemistry. There were a lot of aggrieved pupils and parents in that year and I couldn't wait to leave. Whoever invented that age rule should have been taken outside & shot.

Maurice :cool:
 

pjmburns

master brummie
My parents listed K.E.G.S. Camp Hill, then Central Grammar (Where a lot of my classmates ended up) and on the advice of a family friend who passionately believed in the Comprehensive system, Sheldon Heath. Sheldon Heath would have been my preference but wasn't to be.
I was lucky and went to my (parents) first choice - Olton Convent - uniforms from "The Donne" (remember that?) and later Rackhams - I now realise probably a bit of a struggle because of the expense. (Off topic note - one blazer lasted - cuffs down to knuckles at the start and up wrists at the end - like most of the class). :D
I later "attended" my second choice school - as a teacher.
I can't recall my third choice.
 
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