21 May 2022

County Derry grammar school confirms transfer arrangements

The school say they 'will use academic selection'.

County Derry grammar school confirms transfer arrangements

A letter has been sent to parents of pupils at St Mary's Grammar School, Magherafelt, confirming their plans.

A County Derry grammar school has confirmed it will proceed with academic selection in Autumn 2020.

St Mary's Grammar School, Magherafelt, confirmed they intend to use the transfer test, known as the GL Entrance Assessment.

In a statement, the school said they are aware of the 'unprecedented circumstances' of this year.

"After lengthy consideration of the issues, the Board of Governors of St Mary's Grammar School intends to use academic selection in its admissions criteria for pupils wishing to transfer to the school in September 2021," it read.

"The GL Entrance Assessment will be conducted in accordance with the most up-to-date Public Health Agency guidance available to schools at that time."

The school are part of a group called the Post-Primary Transfer Consortium (PPTC), who have taken measures to mitigate some of the disruption caused by Covid-19 this academic year.

The group released a statement claiming marking and standardising approaches will ensure 'comparable outcomes' to previous years.

"It will not, for example, be harder to achieve an A grade this year," it read.

"Every year, regardless of how many pupils sit the Entrance Assessment or of whether the papers prove to be slightly easier or more difficult than a previous year, the marking and standardisation processes ensure that similar proportions of pupils will achieve similar grades."

St Mary's added that they have a 'contingency plan' in the event of the Entrance Assessment not being able to take place.

They said: "Should it be required, the implementation of this plan will include alternative admission criteria, the details of which will be published for parents at that time.

"Any change of circumstances would have to be considered in the local context, acted upon and communicated to parents at the earliest possible date."

St Columb's and Thornhill in Derry city are among a number of schools that have opted against asking prospective pupils to take the transfer test this year. Both are also members of the PPTC.

Another County Derry member, Rainey Endowed in Magherafelt, are yet to publicly announce their arrangements, but a statement from the PPTC is available on their website, detailing information about transfer arrangements.

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