Belfast Telegraph

Exclusive: Transfer test grades required by every grammar school in Northern Ireland in 2016

By Rebecca Black

Today the Belfast Telegraph can reveal the grades or scores each of Northern Ireland's 64 selective grammar schools accepted for their September 2016 intake.

The figures relate to pupils who sat the Post Primary Transfer Consortium's GL assessment or the Association of Quality Education's (AQE) Common Entrance Assessment in November and December 2015. As these tests are not run by the Department of Education, there are no centralised statistics available.

>>Full list of every Northern Ireland school's intake grade 2016<

Through Freedom of Information requests, this newspaper has compiled the only comprehensive table of results revealing the grades each selective grammar school accepted for its 2016/17 Year 8 intake.

As in previous years, we have produced AQE and GL summaries showing the grades selective schools accepted in each test.

This year, for 64 schools, we have information on how many applications each received, how many first preference applications were made, what their approved enrolment is, and the highest and lowest grades accepted.

Meanwhile, four integrated schools have introduced grammar streams. They ask for academic evidence in support of applications for these places - but insist they do not use it to determine their intake.

The schools say it can be a transfer test result, a primary school report that reflects high academic ability or equivalent supporting evidence.

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Grammar streams accounted for 35% of Year 8 places at Strangford College, Sperrin Integrated College, North Coast Integrated College and the Integrated College in Dungannon last September.

Strangford College in Carrowdore, Co Down, responded to a Belfast Telegraph enquiry confirming it does have a grammar stream that parents can opt for, but that selection within this stream is based on non-academic criteria.

It said its Year 8 intake for its grammar stream in September 2016 had AQE scores between 67 and 109 - but that students were not admitted based on these scores.

Sperrin Integrated College in Magherafelt said that 35% of its 80-pupil intake last September was grammar stream entry.

However, like Strangford College, entry was not determined by test scores. Its admissions criteria states: "Parents of academically able children may opt for grammar entry and should indicate this on the green transfer form, including appropriate supporting evidence."

In the case of over-subscription it clarifies that other criteria will be used to differentiate between pupils, including whether they have siblings enrolled at the school, or whether the school was a first or second preference.

The admission criteria says as a final decider pupils will be admitted according to date of birth, with preference to the eldest child. However, if two children have the same date of birth they will be admitted by their surname via a randomised selection of letters used by the school.

The other two integrated schools which use this approach are North Coast Integrated School in Coleraine and the Integrated College in Dungannon.

Two other integrated schools - Lagan College in Belfast and Slemish College in Ballymena - use academic selection to determine 35% of their intake.

AQE ensures all of our children can show themselves at their very best


Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph