Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

P7 pupils left in limbo by transfer confusion

Some P7 pupils will discover today that they have not yet been allocated a place at a school for this September.

Over 23,300 schoolchildren across the province received letters this morning and all will expect to find out which school they transfer to in the new term.

However, some may be shocked to discover they did not secure a place at any of the schools they applied to. Parents were advised to submit at least three post-primary schools on their child’s Transfer Form — in order of preference.

If a school was not oversubscribed, it must accept all applicants. If oversubscribed, they will have used their published admissions criteria. Sixty-seven schools — mainly grammars — used the results of new transfer tests to determine their intake, against the advice of the Minister.

The Western Education and Library Board (WELB) has said that 20 children have not yet been placed in a school.

Robert Thompson, WELB’s head of transfer and open enrolment, said: “A small number of parents/guardians whose children have not yet been placed at this stage of the procedure due to parental preferences being exhausted will also receive a letter from the board advising them of the post primary school(s) within each district council area which still have places available.”

The North Eastern Education and Library Board said that 17 pupils have not yet been placed in its area. The other three education boards are likely to be dealing with a similar situation.

Pip Jaffa, from the Parents’ Advice Centre, said parents are likely to be shocked if their child has not yet been allocated a place.

“If a child is disappointed with the school they have been allocated it will be important to point out the good points of the school they are going to or, alternatively, look into appealing the decision,” she said.

\[Brian Lovett\]Parents who consider that 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.

They must give notice to their education board of their intention to appeal by June 9.

All of the education board offices will be closed on Monday.The Parents Advice Centre helpline can be contacted from Tuesday on 0808 8010722.

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