Tag Archives: grammar school

Eleven Plus, Special Needs and Home Education

The grammar school entrance exam, or eleven plus as it is also known by, is difficult for any child. Our son has been home educated for a year and a term before taking the eleven plus, and also has an EHCP for his additional needs. Despite not feeling that the test was right for him here is why we let him take it.

test day identity form for grammar school entrance exam

Special Needs and the Eleven Plus

Quite simply, despite his special needs The Sensory Seeker wanted to take the eleven plus. He wanted to prove that he could do it (he was in the school for four hours) and have the same opportunity to go to the grammar schools that his three brothers did before him. He also wanted his special day – as we reward the hard work with special treats on that day. He wanted to earn his reward like his brothers – and not just been given them.

SEN Help with the Eleven Plus

To have extra help in our area you have to provide the school where you wish them to sit the test any additional evidence as to why and what help that should be provided for them to make it a fair test. I seem to recall the turnaround was pretty tight with applying and submitting this. We waited until we had what we needed to hand in straight away. In our case it was a full copy of his EHCP and a letter from Explore Learning just further stating why they believed he required a smaller room and extra time. They awarded him 25% extra time (whether he got it or not we do not know) and a room with just the other children who needed extra time. This actually meant that they were probably the children most likely to cause a disturbance though to be fair, and there was a boy upset and kept messing with his zip.

Child sleeping

The Run up to the Eleven Plus

We paid for him to sit one mock exam to give him a feel of what the eleven plus exam would be like. We only did one because it would be different from him – as the mocks have more children and wouldn’t give the extra time, or know about his needs. The emphasis about the eleven plus was mainly focused on the special day. Tests he really fluctuated between getting 25% on tests to getting high eighties! It really has been an emotional roller coaster.

The one thing we have focused on is how proud we are that he has wanted to give it a go – an important lesson for life. Plus it has meant that he has worked towards something in a group (he went to sessions at Explore Learning), it means he has had taken exams, and learned to be under exam conditions.

The Day of the Eleven Plus

I was a bit confused because the drop off and pick up times were the same as all the other children – meaning he either didn’t have his extra time or they had cut short his break. If really needs be I guess this could be grounds for appeal. I doubt very much we will be appealing.

Happy boy with parents at Chiquotos

He went in happy and he came out happy – and that’s all that really matters. Children were allocated colours and his colour was clearly an indicator of his needs and at drop off and pick up the fact that he was this colour seem to be of high importance, so I felt that he had been well looked after. He felt it went well, but then say he answered things in the wrong section. He was so proud of himself saying, “see I told you I could do it!”

Then we had his special day. He had been awake since 4am on the morning of the test and I am surprised that he managed to stay awake until 2am the following day when the decision was made for him to go to bed. We are quite strict on bedtimes and so this was very late indeed for him to stay up as a treat. We had bought him the LEGO he had asked for because he wanted to build it with me and took him out for dinner and desert the places he wanted to go. Plus he generally just played computer games outside of the hours we normally allow.

Minecraft LEGO characters

The Eleven Plus Results

We now have just under a month to wait for the results but I have heard of another school that sounds much more suitable for him, in my opinion. I am going to see if we can look around and convince him that the grammar school he wants to go isn’t his only choice. The wait for the results is less than 4 weeks too – so we shall see.

special needs and the eleven plus

Special Needs and the Eleven Plus

The eleven plus and special educational needs can be a bit of a minefield. With our oldest he should have got into a certain school but on the day did not do as well on the eleven plus tests as we expected for his capabilities. He had no provisions made for his Asperger’s Syndrome (I have since heard of others having a separate room and longer time), not even to become more familiar with the building. But he was always a very able child and “grammar school material”  and we knew that the eleven plus would put no added pressure on him. But the time is getting closer that The Sensory Seeker needs to think about high school and he assumes that he will take the eleven plus following in the footsteps of (what will be) all three of his older brothers. The trouble is he has a Global Developmental Delay and his Sensory Processing Disorder also makes it harder to learn new things. So the question is what to do?special needs and the eleven plusAnnie Spratt

Do we let our son with Special Needs take the Eleven Plus?

Do we let The Sensory Seeker sit the eleven plus tests, in an environment that is most likely going to be difficult for him, so that we have given him the chance and opportunity just like all our other sons? Or do we make the decision that the test/school would not be suitable for him. Which will knock his confidence more – trying and not succeeding, or not been given a chance in the first place? I mean he is a bright lad and he may even surprise us! He has a few years to go yet and may even close the gap and catch up with his peers. He works so hard. Or when the time gets closer he may just be happy to move up to the local comprehensive school – which he is familiar with because of after school activities and will know lots of people there/going up. Oh how it would be wonderful if they never had to grow up!alone at playtime

Of course I have been suggested another option of paying for him to be tutored (which I haven’t done with any of my other sons), but then I really would be worried that the work would be too hard once he passed the eleven plus entrance exam. That then he’d end up switching schools anyway and then find it even harder to settle as the new boy. Other people have suggested this would be just filling the gaps in his knowledge where the education system has failed him.

Has anyone else been through anything similar? Any thoughts please?