Introduction

This online course has two main aims. The first is obvious enough: to guide parents through the English component of the 11+/Common Entrance.

The second aim is to help develop literacy and prompt self-expression and an interest in the world. So, whilst the 11+/Common Entrance for English schools is controversial, producing literate and engaged 10 year olds is not!

The format of the 11+/Common Entrance has remained relatively simple for some time (11+ refers to a Grammar School-type entrance test and C.E tends to be for entry to private education – I will simply use the expression 11+ from now on). Pupils sitting the test should expect an English exam in which they will answer questions on a short passage of text and be asked to write a short story or brief essay. There may be a series of questions on grammar and correct English use. There will also be a Maths paper and possibly verbal and non-verbal reasoning questions.

The tradition of English ‘Prep’ Schools is a nod to these exams; one of their main functions being to prepare 10 year olds for this exam. The exam is supposed to be a genuine measure of attainment and potential, but this is of course nonsense. We are, none of us, brought up on the same level playing field, and I think it is safe to say that if you entered the exam having never seen a past paper before, well…even an adult might struggle.

So this online course is designed to try to level that playing field. Here are worksheets that focus on the core skills required for the exam. I chose the online format rather than a book (and there are a lot of 11+ books out there) because I can add worksheets when necessary, and also because a Pdf sheet can be printed out easily.

These are worksheets to be done with your child. None of these worksheets should take more than 45 minutes to do, and some as little as 10 minutes. They can be used as daily exercises and an opportunity for you to work closely with your 10 year old. There are reading lists and quizzes, worksheets for writing stories and the opportunity to practice interview questions. Each section starts off with advice that I have picked up from 7 years of teaching towards this exam with pupils and families that cross the demographic spectrum.

My hope is that by breaking exam preparation down into a series of worksheets, working towards it becomes a more enjoyable challenge. Alongside that, no matter how controversial the exam is, developing the skills required to pass it will set up your child for life.