Northern Ireland

Transfer test: Children receive exam results

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Media captionGabrielle Millar and Zac Parker were happy with their results after months of hard work

Thousands of children in Northern Ireland have received the results of their post-primary school entrance exams on Saturday.

Both the AQE and the Post-Primary Transfer Consortium (PPTC) reported a rise in entrants this year.

There were 16,507 entrants in total in 2018-19, up about 8% from 15,319 in 2017-18.

Most grammar schools have been using one or both tests to select pupils since 2008.

A total of 8,707 pupils entered this year's AQE exam, up from 8,169 in 2017-18.

The PPTC said that about 7,800 pupils had applied to sit their GL Assessment test this year, compared with 7,150 last year.

Some of that increase is likely to be down to a rise in the number of primary school pupils.

Regularly oversubscribed

It is also estimated that about 2,000 children sat both the AQE tests and the GL Assessment exam run by the PPTC.

Although the pupils who sat the test receive their result on Saturday, they will not know which post-primary school they will transfer to until May or early June.

Demand for places in some areas is likely to be high as more than half of post-primaries are regularly oversubscribed.

An 11-plus exam run by the Department of Education was scrapped in 2008.

That led grammar schools to develop their own transfer tests.

In 2018, the two separate testing organisations unveiled draft plans for a common test.

However, a consultation on the proposal has not yet taken place and there is no firm date for a common test yet.

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