Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Transfer Maze - jargon buster

Admissions criteria: If schools receive fewer applications than there are places available, all applicants will be admitted. If schools receive more applications than there are places available, they must apply admissions criteria to decide which children should be admitted. Schools publish the admissions criteria they will use in Transfer Booklets. You will receive a Transfer Booklet from your Education and Library Board in December 2009/January 2010.

Academic selection: using the results of academic tests to determine admission to a school. In the Craigavon area there is delayed selection at age 14.

Transfer Form: this is the application form for post-primary schools to be used by all parents. You will be asked to list, in order of preference, the post-primary schools (at least three) which you would like your child to attend. You should include all information relevant to the schools' criteria on this form.

Appeals: In May/June 2010 you can appeal against an unsuccessful application to a school. However, appeals can only be upheld if it is shown that a child has not been admitted because admissions criteria have been applied incorrectly.

Transfer Booklet: This document contains information on the number of places and admissions crtieria for every post-primary school in your area.

Free School Meals entitlement: The department has recommended that all schools use free school meal (FSM) entitlement as their first criterion for entry. If 20% of applicants are entitled to FSMs, then 20% of the school’s places should be allocated to FSM applicants. It is important to register with your education and library board if your child is entitled.

Special needs statement: A statement is a legal document that describes a child’s special educational needs (SEN). It outlines the help that should be given to meet those needs and records the type and name of school that the child attends. It is reviewed annually. If your child has a statement they will not need to compete for a post-primary place. You will discuss a suitable placement with your education and library board.

Bilateral schools: Four bilateral schools in Northern Ireland will select some of their pupils using the new entrance tests. St Patrick’s College in Maghera, Holy Cross College in Strabane, Lagan College in Belfast and Slemish College in Ballymena all have a recognised grammar stream. The rest of their places – probably around 65% - will be allocated using non-academic criteria.

Special circumstances: If your child experiences injury or illness at the time of the entrance exams, you can lodge a claim for special circumstances. You will be asked to provide documentary evidence, for example a letter from your child’s GP.

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