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New post-primary selection policy guidance issued

Fresh transfer guidance on admissions to post-primary schools in Northern Ireland has been published.

The Department of Education reiterated its opposition to testing. “State-funded post-primary schools' boards of governors should not exclude children through the use of the socially divisive and educationally unsound practice of ‘academic' selection,” it said.

Transfer test policy has been mired in controversy with Sinn Fein determined to scrap selection and the DUP adamantly opposed. Many schools have set their own independent tests.

The official guidance recommends a menu of admissions criteria including prioritising those entitled to free school meals and those with a brother or sister attending the school.

The department said it aimed to ensure admissions were fair and children had could reach their full potential.

However Stormont education committee chairman, the DUP’s Mervyn Storey, said Education Minister Caitriona Ruane was “out of her depth” in dealing with “real issues”.

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