Education news

Thousands of children to receive 11-plus results

Thousands of children in P7 sat 11-plus exams

THOUSANDS of children will learn the results of their 11-plus on Saturday - with some schools expected to accept top grades only.

Four grammar schools - all of them Catholic - took nothing lower than an A last year.

There are some fears among parents that with a higher number taking exams, it may be harder to get into even more schools.

Grammar schools remain split into two camps, using either the Common Entrance Assessment set by the Association for Quality Education (AQE) or multiple-choice papers set by GL Assessment.

There has been no state involvement in 11-plus exams for more than a decade.

Almost 9,000 children sat the AQE papers, up from 8,169 in 2017/18. About 7,800 took the GL Assessment this year, compared to 7,150 last year. The actual number of pupils involved is unclear as many take both sets of exams.

It had been hoped that a new single assessment would be in place by autumn 2018.

The grades or scores required to win a place vary from year to year and school to school.

This month, accommodation website PropertyPal published school information, showing key details for all primary and post-primary providers, including admission, enrolment and application numbers, admissions criteria and the lowest accepted transfer grades and scores.

The site found that seven schools using AQE exams did not accept a score below 100 with the highest being 106 at Friends' School in Lisburn. Friends was the highest performing non-Catholic grammar at A-level in 2018.

PropertyPal also found that three Belfast schools - Aquinas Diocesan Grammar, Our Lady and St Patrick's College and St Malachy's College - did not accept a grade below an A, nor did Lumen Christi College in Derry.

The Catholic Church is opposed to academic selection and wants all its schools to end the practice.

It has achieved this through the mergers of grammar and non-grammar schools in recent years, including in Lurgan and Carnlough.

The Catholic Principals Association, which represents the views of about 230 primary and secondary schools, has said selection at age 10 or 11 is damaging to children and detrimental to the education system in general.

At a time in education and society when there was a heightened focus on the emotional health and wellbeing of children, the CPA said, it was "sad that the interests of individual institutions are considered more important than the needs of individual children - very many of those individual children being damaged as a result of selection/ rejection".

:: For more information on grammar school entrance requirements in 2018, visit https://blog.propertypal.com/lowest-transfer-test-grades-northern-ireland-2018/.

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