WHILE exams for pupils at second level have been cancelled, some controversial transfer tests for primary pupils may still be going ahead.
Locally, both St Michael’s College and Mount Lourdes Grammar School already announced they would not be holding transfer tests this year several months ago. However, on its website, the Enniskillen Royal Grammar School still states its tests will likely be going ahead.
The Royal’s website states how it was “going forward on the basis that the AQE CEA tests will take place next academic year.”
“In planning for them, as for every aspect of our school life in the new term, we will be taking careful account of the developing situation in respect of Covid-19 and we will work carefully with all relevant authorities in implementing their advice and guidance,” it said.
There have been clashes in Stormont over the issue, and locally there have been increasing calls for clarity on the matter. Local MLA Sean Lynch, pictured below left, said the matter wasn’t political but was about the well being of children during the current health crisis.
“I think the minister should have looked at the mental health of children doing these exams,” he said.
Fellow MLA Jemma Dolan, pictured, expressed a similar sentiment: “Transfer tests for children who are only 10 and 11 are unfair and unnecessary. But this year of all years, with the added stress of Covid-19, they should be scrapped.
“The plan by AQE to carry on with plans to hold a transfer test in February is nonsensical and indefensible. It shows a total lack of understanding of the stress and anxiety that children are facing at this time.”
She added: “The Education Minister must put children first and ensure the department is not involved in facilitating this test.”