Northern Ireland news

Transfer test organisers open to idea of papers in primary classrooms

All grammar entrance exams were cancelled for children in P7 due to transfer this year

TRANSFER test organisers have said they are open to the idea of letting children sit papers in primary school classrooms.

The Association for Quality Education (AQE) is planning to run assessments in November.

All grammar entrance exams were cancelled for children in P7 due to transfer this year.

There remains concerns that P6 pupils who will sit tests later this year have missed too much face-to-face learning.

At present, children must take entrance exams in grammar schools while some have to attend further education colleges which operate as overflow centres.

The #bringitbacktoprimary campaign wrote to the AQE and the Post Primary Transfer Consortium urging them both to allow pupils to remain in their own schools.

Organiser Naomi McBurney said P6s, if they return on April 12, will have missed approximately 60 days of their P5 year and 60 days of P6.

"If the transfer tests are to proceed for 2022 admission, we ask that you engage with all stakeholders to discuss these taking place in primary schools," she wrote.

"Not only will this help reduce anxiety for our children, but it will also reduce the risk of transmission as children will remain in their school bubble."

AQE chairman Ian Noad replied that the group's only role in the post-primary transfer process was to provide a score for each candidate to meet the requirements of participating schools.

"Our top priority has always been, and will remain, the health and safety of the children involved," he said.

"AQE does not have any remit or authority over primary schools, nor would it wish to have, however, it is willing to engage with interested stakeholders if the minister of education is willing to convene a meeting."

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