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Maya's top of the class after achieving first ever perfect score in AQE transfer tests

By Rebecca Black

Published 28/05/2016

Maya Davidson, a pupil at Howard Primary School in Dungannon
Maya Davidson, a pupil at Howard Primary School in Dungannon

A Co Tyrone girl has achieved the highest marks ever recorded in the AQE transfer tests.

Maya Davidson (11), a pupil of Howard Primary School in Dungannon, attained a perfect 64 out of 64 on all papers.

The AQE confirmed that she was the first child to get 100% across the board and had come top of the 7,772 youngsters who sat the exams this year.

It was the first time there was a perfect score in the tests - an unofficial replacement to the 11-Plus, which was abolished by former Sinn Fein Education Minister Caitriona Ruane.

Pupils sit three papers under the AQE test system. The best two results are used to come up with a final grade, allowing for one poorer performance.

Maya's perfect score gave her another reason to celebrate after she secured a place at her preferred post-primary - the Royal School Dungannon.

Her father, John, told the Belfast Telegraph that he and his wife, Elaine, were overjoyed with the news.

"We're always so proud of our daughter and we are delighted in particular with her excellent and well-deserved result," Mr Davidson said.

He also told how the practice tests that this newspaper releases every year had proven very useful for his daughter. "We made extensive use of the invaluable transfer test booklets published by the Belfast Telegraph," Mr Davidson added.

As well as her academic excellence, Maya has other impressive strings to her bow, including a love of music, sport and writing. She is also a Girl Guide.

On top of that, the pupils plays the flute and has been nominated by the Education Authority Music Service, for this year's Anita Currie Cup.

She also recently won a silver medal representing Dungannon Junior Hockey Club at the annual Ballymena Junior Hockey Tournament.

To top it all off, a piece of her writing has been published in young writers' anthology.

Peter McIlwaine, Maya's teacher and vice-principal of the Howard Primary School, praised the high achiever.

"Her excellent academic results highlight her tremendous ability and conscientious attitude to her studies," he said. "Maya is a dedicated student with a thirst for knowledge."

Dr David Burnett, headmaster of the Royal School Dungannon, also commended her.

"Congratulations to Maya on a wonderful achievement of scoring full marks in her three transfer tests," he said. "Her attitude to learning is a great example for anyone to follow."

Stephen Connolly, joint chief executive of the AQE, said Maya should be proud of herself.

"The AQE congratulates Maya on her uniquely impressive achievement of full marks in the last cycle of assessments," he added. "She is to be commended for her obvious dedication and hard work."

Thousands of children across Northern Ireland will find out today whether they have secured a place at their preferred secondary school.

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