Northern Ireland news

Record numbers of children to receive results of unofficial 11-plus exams

The number of entries have been increasing every year

RECORD numbers of P7 children are to receive results of unofficial 11-plus exams, which will determine whether or not they secure a grammar school place.

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 on Saturday.

The number of entries have been increasing every year, although the exact number of pupils taking the tests remains unclear as many do both.

Last year, around 8,100 pupils entered the CEA compared to 7,725 in 2016.

A total of 7,255 children applied to sit the GL Assessment, up from 6,851 last year.

The heads of Catholic primary and secondary schools object to their continued use.

Ahead of the papers being taken last year, the Catholic Principals' Association (CPA) said it was opposed to "the unregulated system of social selection at 10/ 11 years of age which operates under the guise of academic testing".

It said no part of Catholic education should be involved in supporting or operating a system of selection which promotes social segregation and inequality.

Academic selection, it added, had been shown to damage the educational prospects of children from the most disadvantaged communities.

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