Education news

Single transfer test 'could be introduced by 2020'

Separate tests for P7 pupils have been in place since the government-run 11 plus exam was abolished in 2008

PUPILS could be sitting a single transfer test by 2020, following reports that the two groups that set separate papers have agreed draft proposals.

Negotiations have been held between the Association of Quality Education (AQE) and the Post-Primary Transfer Consortium (PPTC) and the agreement is set to go out to consultation.

Grammar school principals and boards of governors will be among those asked to endorse the proposals, the BBC reported last night.

It is suggested the single test could be running within two to three years.

Separate tests for P7 pupils have been in place since the government-run 11 plus exam was abolished in 2008.

They are used to determine which pupils attend most of the north's grammar schools.

It is reported that the new proposals include two tests of one hour each taken on successive Saturdays and a supplementary test for pupils who miss a test due to illness or other circumstances.

The planned test is understood to combine elements of the existing AQE and PPTC tests, with both multiple choice and longer Maths and English questions, and a charge of £20 per pupil to enter - with the fee waived for children entitled to free school meals.

At present 29 schools use the AQE test, 27 the PPTC test and seven consider results from both tests.

Former DUP education minister Peter Weir last night said he had initiated discussions between the two groups and welcomed the agreement as "excellent news".

"While this plan will still need to go out to consultation, and will take time to implement, this is a major step forward and I commend both organisations on reaching a pupil-focused, sensible compromise which preserves the integrity of the transfer process itself."

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