For more than 60 years the 11-plus exam was used by grammar schools in Northern Ireland to decide which P7 pupils they would welcome through their gates.
The Second World War had just ended when, in 1947, children aged 10 and 11 first picked up their pencils to vie for a place at what were regarded as the best schools in the country.
The post-war UK government's Education Act was a legacy of the outgoing Conservative president of the Board of Education, R.A. 'Rab' Butler.
The Butler Act applied to England and Wales while similar legislation was introduced in Scotland in 1945 and here in Northern Ireland by the unionist Education Minister, Samuel Hall-Thompson two years later.
When pencils were put down in schools in November 2008, the 11-plus was finally consigned to the history books, seven years after then Education Minister Martin McGuinness had commissioned the Burns Report into education. It was one of his first moves on taking up the position in the fledgling Stormont Executive.
Even that proved controversial at the time. During the consultation process, forms were sent to every household in Northern Ireland and predominantly filled in by those who had children at grammar schools - and the majority of responses were in favour of retaining academic selection.
However, Mr McGuinness said on the whole, the weight of opinion across all the responses was against selection, as long as an acceptable alternative was in place.
The battle to rid Northern Ireland of academic selection was on - though its fate had likely been sealed when unionists sidestepped the education portfolio in the new power-sharing Executive born at the end of the peace process.
Education became the bastion of Sinn Fein until 2016, and the party made no secret of its opposition to academic selection.
Caitriona Ruane followed Martin McGuinness into the position and was Minister overseeing the final curtain call for the 11-plus tests in Northern Ireland.
There was, however, political manoeuvring in the background.
The Labour government in the UK under Tony Blair had planned to abolish academic selection altogether under direct rule but a deal under the St Andrews Agreement won it a reprieve.
It was then left up to the local politicians to find a solution to what should replace the official 11-plus. There has never been agreement and today the debate still rages on.
No legislative provision was made for a replacement for the 11-plus and the vacuum was filled by two different consortia offering their own transfer tests. The GL exam offered by the Post Primary Transfer Consortium (PPTC) is favoured by Catholic Grammar Schools, while the AQE-operated tests are used by most other schools.
In effect a system of 'Catholic' and 'Protestant' transfer tests was created. The politicising of education continued, even with something those schools agreed about.
Where once there was a single, uniform test across all schools, now there were two completely different testing procedures, with different questions and different marking systems - and for the past 22 years parents have been paying for the privilege.
The relative merits and opposition to transfer tests and academic selection in general have been a subject of intense debate in political circles since the turn of the century - but now the process has been brought sharply back into focus by Covid-19.
The PPTC has cancelled its transfer test for this year, while the AQE, instead of running tests over three weekends in January, is now planning to hold a single entrance exam on February 27. Whether that goes ahead remains questionable. Five Northern Ireland grammar schools have already said they will not be taking part.
The current education minister has already said he "will not be the one to end academic selection". He has made no apology for sticking up for the rights of grammar schools to choose their own way forward and he will stand resolute in backing them till the cows come home.
Others, though, have seen the chink in the academic selection armour and are seeking to prise it off. Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the Green Party have slipped in comments to statements affirming their opposition to the process, while maintaining their opposition to this year's test is merely on health and safety grounds.
That hasn't gone unnoticed by the current Education Minister, and backed by senior DUP figures, the hatches have been battened down as quickly as that chink of light appeared.
Whoever holds the key to the door of the Department of Education holds the key to the future of academic selection. For now it is tucked tightly in the back pocket of the DUP.
But in the back of DUP minds there may be a spark of concern starting to grow. What if the schools they have supported in their collective right continue with academic selection find there is a better way now they have been forced into it?
They maybe wished they had ridden out the earlier storm and pressed on with the tests as first planned last November. Instead the storm has intensified.
Covid will change many things. There will be many taking the opportunity to have a long hard look hoping something better, more uniform, fairer to all can be born from the chaos. But a political will to steer a clear path through the storm and into the future needs to be there too.
Can it ever be the case that the needs of children are front and centre as two educational ideologies continue to clash? History tells us no.
Like so much else in Northern Ireland, the education system has been pulled one way, then the other and breaking point has almost been reached.