Belfast Telegraph

Parents vent anger as pupils prepare for school selection tests

By Michelle Weir

Months of preparation will be put to the test today when thousands of primary seven pupils across Northern Ireland sit the first of three AQE examinations.

They will undertake another test this month and one next month to determine admission to a controlled grammar schools.

A separate GL test for entrance to Catholic grammar schools mainly will take place next Saturday.

Almost a decade after the end of the 11-plus transfer test, the subject still provokes controversy.

One Belfast mother, a teacher, described the tests as a "complete outrage".

She indicated that just two children in her daughter's class were not doing the tests and she claimed that some parents forked out £160 for a day's tutoring during the summer holidays.

She suggested that the work involved is "a short-term pain" but criticised the "long drawn-out" process of the tests for those who wish their children to take both AQE and GL tests, and a long wait for results until January 27.

Larne mother Lorraine Houston said that this was the third occasion that her children had experienced AQE tests.

This time it is the turn of her 10-year-old daughter Olivia, a pupil at Moyle Primary School in the town.

"This time round it is more stressful," said Ms Houston, whose two older children are at Larne Grammar School.

"I think she is feeling a bit of pressure.

"It is hard for them and a long wait for results."

She praised Larne Grammar for its preparation, which included an induction morning, and breakfast and transport laid on on exam day.

Carrick mum Gillian Patterson said that she did not want her daughter Nicole, who attends Eden Primary in Carrickfergus, to feel pressured about the tests.

"I told her I was not putting any pressure on her," she explained.

"I do not want her worrying but she said she really wanted to do it. It is not the end of the world if she does not pass it."

Belfast Telegraph

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