Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

1,000 pupils apply to take grammar entrance exams

About 1,000 pupils in Northern Ireland have already applied to sit the next round of entrance exams being set by grammar schools.

The Association for Quality Education (AQE) — which is running the Common Entrance Assessment on behalf of 34 schools — has processed 600 pupils’ forms since registration opened just five days ago.

A further 400 forms are currently being processed.

The registration period for 34 schools – mainly in the Catholic sector — who are members of the Post-Primary Transfer Consortium (PPTC) opens on Monday.

Last year 7,000 P7 pupils sat the AQE tests and 6,500 sat multiple choice papers set by GL Assessment on behalf of the PPTC schools. The results for this year’s P7s were issued in February and pupils will find out next Saturday which school they have been allocated a place in.

Billy Young, from AQE, said: “We expect to have the same number of pupils sitting the tests as we had last year.

“Some schools have been holding information days this week so we are expecting a big influx of registrations next week.

“I know a lot of work has gone into trying to find a resolution to school transfer and we would much prefer the tests to be regulated so we hope a solution can be found.”

Yesterday a group representing teachers from all school types and sectors across Northern Ireland handed over their final advice paper to politicians on how to deal with the current stalemate.

The report is due to be kept under wraps until party discussions have taken place on the document.

The advisory group — made up of 12 education experts — was headed up by two former school principals with opposing opinions on academic selection.

Paul Hewitt is former headmaster of the Royal School Dungannon and Michelle Marken is the past principal of St Joseph's College in Belfast.

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