Hundreds of primary seven pupils from across the city received transfer test results yesterday which will decide for many, which secondary school they progress to at the beginning of the next academic year.
It’s now 5 years since the 11 plus exam was scrapped and many remain critical of the current exam system which is often accused of putting unnecessary stress on children and parents.
Speaking yesterday after meeting a group of primary seven pupils, St Mary’s College principal Marie Lindsay said she felt sorry for the childern and parents who were being put under pressure.
However the local principal said many parents now felt more confident about the variety of options open to their children at the point of leaving primary school.
She said: “Increasingly, what we’re seeing is that both young people and their parents are realising the good options they have available to them in the North West, regardless of the transfer test and parents are making informed decisions taking into account those options.
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Ms. Lindsay said it was important to realise that most school curriculums were much more varied than the what she described as the “narrow” range of skills often examined. She added that the co operation between grammar schools and non grammar schools in Derry in particular was something to be praised.
“Regardless of what school a child gets into in the post 16 age group a number of pupils are now accessing courses in grammar schools and we have a great partnership with all our grammar schools. I think there’s been this misconception that the schools are all fighting with one another but Derry is a small place and we all work closely together to make sure these young people have a great learning experience and I think we’ve shown that when our schools do work together we can give our students an excellen standard of education.”
The local principal said all schools now have higher performance targets.
“In the past grammar schools traditionally were considered the path to a university and other schools that fell outside that bracket weren’t always expected to send students down that route but that has now changed and all schools have to step up to the plate which can only benefit all of our young people.
“The main thing to remember is that all of our young people possess unique and individual skills and talents and that’s something that we should celebrate.”
Young people who received transfer test results yesterday, will find out which school they have been accepted to in May.