Catholic heads say transfer test ‘damaging’

Exams
Exams

The heads of Catholic primary and secondary schools in NI have reiterated their opposition to the continued use of transfer tests.

The Catholic Principals’ Association (CPA) has said it is against the “unregulated system” of selection at 10/11 years of age to determine admission to some Catholic grammar schools.

Tomorrow, thousands of children will take the GL Assessment multiple choice papers which are used by 26 Catholic grammars, six non-Catholic grammars and two integrated schools.

There has been no state involvement in ‘11-plus’ exams in a decade.

The CPA says the overwhelming evidence is that selection at 10/11 years is “damaging to children and detrimental to the education system in general”.

A spokesperson said: “The compelling evidence emerging from areas which have moved away from selection affirms that all children are advantaged and none disadvantaged by this move.”

“It is sad that the interests of individual institutions are considered more important than the needs of individual children.”

The CPA spokesperson added: “We continue to look forward to the establishment of an education system which meets the needs of all and not one that is self-preserving and self-satisfied in prioritising the needs of some at the expense of others.”

It had been hoped that a new single assessment would be in place by autumn 2018. A discussion paper published in March 2017 suggested children should face three 45-minute test papers. Two papers would be multiple choice while the third would, instead, contain writing and maths exercises.