Yesterday was a big day for us, in particular Jak!
Four weeks ago i booked Jak in to take a test, a test that before then we hadn’t even thought of, but as Jak was soon to turn 11 and it was time for us to start to think about what senior school we would be applying for next year. I read through what was needed of the child applying and thought that my Jak could do that. I filled out his details and booked him into the nearest test centre.
The test i am talking about is the 11+.
The test was to be sat at King Edwards vi Grammar School in Chelmsford, the school that we would love for Jak to attend.
A few days after applying for the 11+ I decided to print out some sample papers fro Jak to look at, it was at this point that i realised what I had put him forward for! Jak is a very bright and talented young boy and i believe in him, I believe that if he puts his mind to anything he could achieve it.
The test consisted of 3 individual tests Maths, English and a Verbal/Non verbal Reasoning, Jak had never even seen most of the questions before on the Verbal reasoning papers.
Jak practised on a few of the sample papers but to be honest it wasn’t enough, he should have had more time and it was completely my own fault for applying so late. Four weeks just isn’t enough time for a young child to get used to the fact of sitting such a test, revision is needed and time! I never realised that children were tutored for the test from the age of 9, Jak told me about a friend of his who has been privately tutored for the past two years for the test and all i had done for Jak was print of few sample papers and sat down with him going through the questions and possible answers.
On Saturday Morning, the day of the test, Jak woke up and was all hyped up for going saying that he would try his best and just enjoy the experience but after an hour and some last minute revision he began crying saying that he couldn’t do it, there was no way i was going to put him under this emmence pressure he was feeling so i told him not to worry and just to go have a shower. 5 Minutes later he has changed his mind and wanted to give it a go, i gave him a big hug and told him that no matter what the results are just to think of it as an audition (as he liked doing these) and to have confidence in himself.
The School is about 25 miles away from us, we decided to go by train just to see how long it would take him if he did get through, we arrived in good time and Jak seemed to be ok, he was laughing and joking with me and when we got to the school Nanny was waiting there to wish him good luck. We joined the long queue of parents with their boys and registered him in, we walked out of the registration room and had to say good bye to Jak, I wished him good luck and told him i believe in him and i took his phone and gewing gum away from him lol.
We registered Jak in at 12:40 and was told to come back at 4:00 to pick him up, watching my little boy walk down that corridor along with the other young boys i felt guilty as hell, he wasn’t prepared for the test and i shouldn’t have taken him.
I went off to the shops with the boys and my Mum to pass the time and went back to the school at collection time, there were hundreds of parents waiting to collect their child, as i waited anxiously behind the line, that had been placed across the playing field, I saw the first boy being lead out by a school prefect and i saw the look on his face as he scanned the hundreds of adults waiting and as he spotted his adult he ran over to them, I looked again within the many boys that were leaving the building and that’s when i saw my Jak. I waved over to him and as he got closer i noticed how white and peaky he looked, he gave him the biggest hug ever and he said to me
“Mum, I’m sorry I’ve let you down, I fluffed it!”
No! I shook my head, “It’s me that’s let you down!” I should have either prepared him more or not have entered him at all! He looked sick and he was shaking, i have never seen him so scared before. The pressure was too much for him, he just wasn’t ready.
I don’t care for his results, I know my son and i know what he is capable of, he is not the brightest of boys but he is my ray of sunshine. I know whatever school he attends he will do well. He told me that most of the questions that came up in the Verbal Reasoning Test paper he had never seen before and had no idea how to answer them so he guessed them and the Maths paper was a lot harder than he what he fault it would be and the English paper wasn’t too bad.
A word of advice from one parent to another: If you are thinking of putting your child through an 11+ test to get into a Grammar school then make sure that they are ready for it, prepare them with revision but don’t push them too much, they are children after all!
Children are not children for long, savior them whilst they are young as they are not young for long and soon grow up to be young adults.
I failed my son, my son hasn’t failed me!