Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Northern Ireland's P7 pupils set to find out name of their new school

More than 23,000 primary seven pupils across Northern Ireland find out tomorrow which post-primary school they will be going to in September.





Marking the end of a difficult year for the pupils and their families, letters from the education boards will drop through the letterboxes of all of the 23,328 pupils in Year 7 in primary schools and prep departments this year.

If a school was not oversubscribed it must accept all applicants. If oversubscribed, their published admissions criteria was used.

Sixty-seven schools — mainly grammars — used the results of new transfer tests to determine their intake, against the advice of the Education Minister.

Secondary schools set non-academic criteria — for example having a sibling at the school.

Education Minister Caitriona Ruane wanted all schools to use free school meal entitlement as their first criteria.

This was the case for only 15 secondary schools, while another 47 schools used it further down their criteria.

Parents who consider a school did not apply its admissions criteria when selecting pupils, or applied the criteria incorrectly, have a right to appeal to an Independent Appeals Tribunal established by the education board.

Politicians from the DUP, UUP, SDLP and Alliance Party are due to meet next week following party discussions on an advice paper produced by a group of educationalists tasked to advise them on solutions to the stalemate.

Alliance education spokesman Trevor Lunn said: “I hope that the young people get into the school of their choice in spite of the crazy system they have had to go through this year. We are working towards providing a solution although we have already suggested a temporary solution of a CCEA test being put in place.”

Factfile

  • 34 schools used results from the AQE exams as their first criterion. Over 7,000 pupils sat these tests. The scores range from 55 to 145, with the average score set at 100 and split into five bands.
  • The 6,700 pupils who sat the GL Assessment tests answered multiple-choice questions in two papers on one day.


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