Education minister cracks down on transfer advice

image captionEducation minister Catriona Ruane says financial problems are behind the latest move

The education minister has told primary schools they will not be paid extra money for helping parents who choose to put their children in for breakaway tests.

Catriona Ruane said schools would be compensated for advising families only up to the delivery of the results of the unofficial tests.

The results are due on 5 February 2011.

Ms Ruane said the move was due to representations from primary school principals.

This year's unofficial grammar school entrance exams begin on Saturday with the first AQE test.

Up until now parents have been able to go to primary schools for advice on how to use the results.

However BBC NI Education Correspondent Maggie Taggart said the minister is cracking down on that process.

From now on, principals will be compensated for the extra time and substitute cover needed to talk to parents, but only up to the date when the exam results arrive.

The minister said that because of financial problems, there may be no money to pay for any transfer advice to parents next year.

It has been described as a "deliberate attempt to mess up the new system".