Belfast Telegraph

Two Catholic grammars fail to phase out selection

By Rebecca Black

Two Catholic grammar schools that had been due to start phasing out the use of academic selection to determine their Year 8 intake have not yet done so.

Loreto Grammar School in Omagh and Christian Brothers School, Omagh first indicated in 2014 that they would move away from using academic selection.

>>NI Transfer Tests: 2017 Grammar Schools’ intake and grade information<<

In a joint announcement in January 2016 the all-girl Loreto and Omagh CBS for boys said they would end the use of academic selection by 2020.

They were due to start phasing it out from September 2017, but instead last year they continued to select 100% of their Year 8 intake by marks attained in the GL tests.

Loreto accepted pupils with GL scores between 222-282 (A-C1 grades), while Omagh CBS accepted pupils with grades ranging from A to C2.

However, both schools have said they will reduce the number of pupils admitted via academic selection from September 2018.

Omagh CBS principal Foncy McConnell told the Belfast Telegraph: "I wish to confirm that the board of governors have confirmed that the admission criteria for September 2018 will allow 25% of students to be admitted through non-academic criteria."

In a statement, Loreto said that this September, admission to the school's Year 8 will be by academic selection for 94 of the available places and by non-academic criteria for the remaining 31 places.

The school explained that the delay had been due to "processing and approval".

St Mary's Christian Brothers School in west Belfast also considered moving away from academic selection, but in December 2014 its board voted unanimously to retain academic selection.

Meanwhile, Dominican College, Portstewart also indicated in 2014 that it would move away from academic selection.

In 2016, it announced that from September 2017, it would start to move to a phased and complete transformation away from the use of selection.

Last September it admitted 69 pupils based on test scores, and 31 by non-academic criteria.

The Catholic Church advised schools eight years ago to phase out academic selection and scrap all entrance tests by 2012.

Loreto College in Coleraine and St Patrick's Grammar School in Armagh no longer use academic selection.

St Ronan's College in Lurgan has not used academic selection since it opened in 2015 following the amalgamation of the non-selective St Paul's Junior High School, St Mary's High School and the selective St Michael's Grammar.

Belfast Telegraph

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