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Thousands of children to receive 11-plus results

P7s at St Oliver Plunkett PS in west Belfast, some of whom will receive 11-plus results tomorrow

THOUSANDS of children will today receive the results of their 11-plus style tests - labelled by principals of Catholic schools as "damaging".

A majority of grammar schools have been running their own entrance exams since the last state-sponsored 11-plus was held in November 2008.

Schools largely remain split into two camps using either the Common Entrance Assessment (CEA) or multiple-choice papers set by GL Assessment.

Results for both exams will be issued today. Each attracted about 7,000 entries with many pupils sitting both.

Ahead of results day, the principal of St Oliver Plunkett PS in west Belfast sent a letter to pupils to tell them "we are so proud of you".

Paddy McCabe wrote that he was proud for "a thousand reasons".

"It is in every conversation with you, every laugh shared, every learning experience, every assembly, every door opened, every thank you said, every report back from visitors about you and the list could go on," he said.

"If you think you we are delighted with you, think about just how much your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are proud of you and how much they love you.

"Yes, for you, right now in this present moment Saturday is important to you but you have to know that you can never be measured by a grade, the love people have for you cannot be measured by a standardised score.

"We know that you have worked hard, we know that you tried your best, how we think of you will not be altered by any grade on Saturday morning. You will still be you and we will still be as proud of you on Monday morning as we are today."

The Catholic Principals' Association (CPA), meanwhile, said the continued use of unregulated testing to determine admissions was in conflict with the fundamental aims and values of Catholic education.

"Bizarrely, and despite the overwhelming evidence that selection at 10/11 is damaging to children and detrimental to the education system in general, this unregulated practice continues," a spokesman said.

"Continuing selection also ignores the compelling evidence emerging from areas which have moved away from selection affirming that all children are advantaged and none disadvantaged by this move. In those areas, parents have embraced the changes and all children have benefited as a result.

"Why can this not happen elsewhere? Who or what is preventing progress for all?"

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