"You know, I think we've just sat the eleven-plus."
Sitting the eleven-plus
In the 1950s the eleven-plus
examination was taken by all UK state school children in their final year of primary education to determine whether they would be selected for the grammar school
or go to the secondary modern
or technical school
. The system was often criticised for providing only a second-rate option for those who did not pass the exam, and for perpetuating the class system. It was abandoned by many local authorities with the coming of comprehensive schools
(1960s and 1970s), though some counties and boroughs still have both the exam and the grammar schools (mostly fee-paying).
In this story the boys have not been given any prior warning that this is the day of their eleven-plus examination - that was the author's experience and was typical practice at the time.