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Lyttle says schools have shown welcome leadership over transfer tests suspension

Alliance Education spokesperson Chris Lyttle MLA has said five Catholic grammar schools have shown welcome leadership after they announced they will not use transfer tests for taking pupils next year.

The Co Down schools – Abbey Christian Brothers’ Grammar School, Our Lady’s Grammar School, Sacred Heart Grammar School, and St Colman’s College in Newry, and St Louis Grammar School in Kilkeel – will not use the Post-Primary Transfer Consortium tests ‘in light of the current circumstances’.

Mr Lyttle, Chair of the Assembly’s Education Committee, said it was an important step the schools have taken.

“This is welcome leadership by these schools, who have recognised how the impact of the ongoing public health emergency on children and their learning,” said the East Belfast MLA.

“I have previously called for the post-primary transfer tests for the upcoming school year to be cancelled due to these exceptional circumstances. Children are experiencing this pandemic in different ways, therefore these tests are not a fair or equitable approach in the current circumstances.

“Today’s announcement shows schools are confident there is other criteria which can be used for transfer other than two sets of tests in the middle of a deadly pandemic. It is now up to Education Minister Peter Weir to give other schools the space and support they need to adapt to alternative methods of transferring pupils, so we can suspend these tests across the board.”