Grammar-school Admissions Criteria

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:45 pm on 6th December 2021.

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Photo of Michelle McIlveen Michelle McIlveen DUP 2:45 pm, 6th December 2021

I thank the Member for his question. He will be aware that the tests operated by the Post Primary Transfer Consortium (PPTC) are held on one day and there is a supplementary assessment this Saturday for any child who could not sit the first test. The Association for Quality Education Limited (AQE) tests were held over consecutive Saturdays, and it is therefore possible that a child who tested positive for COVID could have missed more than one test. While neither the entrance tests nor the content of schools' admissions criteria are matters for my Department, guidance has issued to schools highlighting the importance of a special provision route in a school's admissions criteria. A special provision route can cater for applicants who have not been able to sit the tests by providing a means of assessing their applications in line with other applications. In a sense, that is no different from other years when illness may have prevented a child from sitting entrance tests. The approach taken will be determined by each school. Parents in that position can see the approach adopted by their preferred schools when the criteria are published on 12 January 2022.