Single post-primary transfer test proposed

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By Rebecca Black, PA

A single post-primary transfer test system in Northern Ireland has been proposed.

Two unofficial test systems have been run by two private companies since the state Eleven Plus exam was scrapped more than ten years ago.

Currently children can sit up to five test papers if they enter both systems, set by PPTC for mainly Catholic grammars and the AQE for other grammars.

Talks began between PPTC and AQE in 2017 around producing a single test, an initiative which was encouraged by then education minister Peter Weir to streamline the process.

PA understands that a group of grammar school principals were asked to come up with a proposal.

That proposal was sent to grammar schools for approval earlier this month, with a deadline of next week to submit their views.

It is envisaged that the first single test system would be run in November 2023, in which entrants would sit two papers.

If the proposal receives the support of grammars it would lead to the setting up of a new company, the Schools’ Entrance Assessment Group, to run it, and the winding up of AQE and PPTC.

Grammar schools have been asked for a decision by September 29.

There is a sharp split in public opinion over the use of academic selection for 11-year-olds in Northern Ireland.

The tests have not been held for the last two years because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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