Education news

No satisfactory alternative to transfer tests, says minister

So far, nine schools have agreed not to use academic selection this year

EDUCATION Minister Peter Weir has said there is not a "satisfactory alternative" to the post-primary transfer test.

Mr Weir described other methods of selection as "closing the school gates" to some.

Transfer tests for pupils in P7 were cancelled with grammar schools forced to use alternative admissions criteria.

There are demands that schools again scrap assessments due to the disruption faced by pupils in P6.

They only returned to classrooms last month having been learning at home since December.

So far, nine schools have agreed not to use academic selection this year. Others are under pressure to follow suit.

"Schools have a right to use academic selection," Mr Weir said.

"Without the transfer test then we fall back on the sort of criteria which largely speaking will have to be used this summer, which will involve quite often particular connections with the school, whether you have a sibling there for instance, and in many ways that shuts the school gates to a large number of students, so there is not a satisfactory alternative to that."

Mr Weir said he hoped the most recent lockdown would be the last of the school closures.

"Nobody can give an absolute guarantee going into the future but there is a range of mitigations that have been put in place," he added.

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Education news