Coronavirus: ‘Deep concern’ over transfer tests after lockdown

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Northern Ireland’s children’s commissioner has written to selective schools urging them to avoid using academic selection to admit pupils.

Koulla Yiasouma said she was “deeply concerned” transfer tests would be wont to select pupils for 2021.

The tests are being delayed by up to 2 weeks but are going to be held in November and December.

Run by AQE and PPTC, they’re employed by the overwhelming majority of grammar schools in Northern Ireland.

The head of the Catholic Church, Archbishop Eamon Martin, had previously asked schools to suspend academic selection in 2020.

In a letter to governors and principals of selective post-primary schools, Ms. Yiasouma made an equivalent appeal.

“It is probably going that faculty gates are going to be opening in ‘stages’ in September and you’ll hopefully be welcoming new pupils; it’s these children that I’m that specialize in during this letter,” Ms. Yiasouma wrote.

“I am deeply concerned that you simply decided to take care of academic selection in its current form for the subsequent school year.

“Based on the announcement made by AQE and PPTC, these children are going to be expected to require tests a matter of weeks after returning to high school on a staged basis following a five-and-a-half month absence.”

‘Innovative thinking’
Ms. Yiasouma said some children may have had little or no education during the coronavirus lockdown.

“It can’t be considered appropriate to feature further stress to some children by expecting them to require a test which will decide the longer term of their educational career,” she said.

“I don’t underestimate the challenges of doing this but am confident that by undertaking a collaborative piece of labor together with your education colleagues and fogeys, you’ll find an innovative and artistic solution which is within the best interests of youngsters.

“It is that the responsibility of boards of governors to deal with this issue and to switch your admissions criteria in such how to avoid putting children through this extra stress at this uniquely difficult time.”

In a separate letter to Education Minister Peter Weir, the Catholic Principals’ Association also backed Archbishop Martin’s involve schools to suspend the utilization of the transfer tests for entrance to post-primary education in 2021.

“We are placed during a position altogether our schools to form new and unprecedented decisions over a previous couple of months and that we still do so on a day to day moving forward,” the umbrella body said.

“It is during this current climate of innovative thinking that the choice to suspend academic selection and therefore the transfer tests must be taken.

“We can only hope that Catholic Grammar schools take the time to reflect on Archbishop Martin’s words.”

Source: bbc news

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