My eleven plus journey

My eleven plus journey began in a corrugated iron hut with peeling green paint. The hut was our school hall and I remember the green paint well because I used to spend hours picking it off the wall at break and lunchtimes when I wasn't being chased by the girls or playing football, in fact often when I was playing football as I was usually in goal, standing next to the hall! Tuition was pretty much unheard of in those days so I didn't have any and just went and did the exam along with everyone else. I think we had a practice exam a few days before the real thing, but I can't remember. The only thing I remember about the exam itself is one of the questions:

            The cat looked after it's / its kittens

I changed the answer to "her"! But I passed anyway and in September I went off to join my older brother at Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School in Rochester.

In those days, everyone took the 11 plus at their own primary school, however only Buckinghamshire and The Wirral use that system now so most children have to opt in to the eleven plus rather than opt out as they do in Buckinghamshire. In 2009 I asked about the 11 plus at the reception of my daughter's primary school and was advised to contact the grammar school which I wanted her to attend. The grammar school gave me the letter that they were sending out to children in Year 6, the year above my daughter. When my daughter took the 11 plus in 2010, I think it was the first year that the three grammar schools in Torbay had all used the same exam, it was also the first year of Torbay using multiple choice questions in the comprehension tests and the exam was taken in September rather than in November, which is the case for most areas in the country now (although some hold their 11 plus exams in July). Almost every year since 2010 the Torbay eleven plus has been changed in some way. For a change, it seems that the 2016 exam will be exactly the same format as the 2015 one and held at the same time of year, after the big change to CEM tests last year.

I learned a lot from tutoring my daughter and this led me to start Roots 2 Success in 2011, becoming a full-time tutor in 2013. I found many of the 11 plus resources available at the time to be rather uninspiring and not always relevant to the requirements of the exam. I gradually built up a massive stock of 11 plus resources for my pupils and I also started selling resources online in 2015. Children enjoyed using my online resources, but I wanted a better system for children to use them, this led me to work with Cloudberry Digital to develop this website.

It can be difficult to obtain accurate information about the 11 plus exam in your area as changes are made on a regular basis and some primary schools seem to ignore the fact that the eleven plus exists, even though a number of their pupils "pass" it every year!

At Roots 2 Success we monitor changes in the 11 plus around the country and aim to bring you information that is as up to date as possible. We also make it easy for you to check the information for yourself by providing links to all 163 grammar schools and the 36 local authority areas they are located in.