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Post-primary transfer tests postponed by a fortnight

The series of assessments will be held between late November and mid-December, the Association of Quality Education said.

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Post-primary transfer tests in Northern Ireland have been postponed by a fortnight (Ian West/PA).

Post-primary transfer tests in Northern Ireland have been postponed by a fortnight (Ian West/PA).

Post-primary transfer tests in Northern Ireland have been postponed by a fortnight (Ian West/PA).

Post-primary transfer tests in Northern Ireland have been postponed by a fortnight.

The series of assessments will be held between late November and mid-December, the Association of Quality Education (AQE) said.

Exams are normally taken by pupils on consecutive Saturdays beginning in early November.

The AQE said: “Having considered all of the available dates and taking into account the post-primary transfer timetable, the board has decided that the dates for the 2020/21 assessments will be on Saturday 21st November, Saturday 28th November and Saturday 12th December 2020.”

Results will be issued on Saturday January 30.

The delay is intended to allow pupils extra time in school to prepare for the exams.

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In 2008 the 11-plus exam run by the state was dropped (Niall Carson/PA)

In 2008 the 11-plus exam run by the state was dropped (Niall Carson/PA)

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In 2008 the 11-plus exam run by the state was dropped (Niall Carson/PA)

In 2008 the 11-plus exam run by the state was dropped.

Most grammar schools have been using the private AQE test since then or its counterpart, the PPTC (post primary transfer consortium) to select pupils.

PPTC will host its assessment on Saturday December 5.  Results will be issued on Saturday January 30.

AQE initially proposed postponing the November assessment until January.

It said it had been closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and the real difficulties and uncertainty it has posed for parents, pupils and schools over recent weeks, particularly surrounding home schooling and pressures of work.

The January dates were proposed to allow this year’s P6 pupils the opportunity to catch up with curriculum teaching and after consultation with primary and post primary principals.

That was rejected by the Department of Education.

AQE said: “AQE acknowledges the minister’s firm support for academic selection and both parties examined in good faith a number of differing options.

“However, for logistical reasons, it was reluctantly recognised that such an accommodation would not be possible and the department was unable to accede to AQE’s proposal.”

The minister said Monday’s announcement should provide pupils, parents and teachers with the clarity that they have been calling for.

“More importantly, I hope that it will remove any stress that pupils and parents might be feeling and provide reassurance in terms of being able to plan and work towards the new dates that have been announced.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank both the Association of Quality Education (AQE) and Post Primary Transfer Consortium (PPTC) for working to make this happen in the unique circumstances that we currently face.”

PA