NI Grammar School Admission criteria for
September 2022
These details have been updated.

Admission criteria for grammar schools in Northern Ireland for entrance in September 2022 have changed.

In the autumn term of 2021-2022 school year the Transfer Test - either the AQE or GL (PPTC) version has was used as part of the admissions policy for entry into year 8 by many schools. However some schools decided not to use either the AQE or GL (PPTC) Transfer Test and so those schools have developed new admission criteria for entry into Year 8 in September 2022.

 
These Grammar School admission criteria can vary greatly from school to school and you should make yourself aware of all the criteria details as they will determine which children will be admitted to this school in September 2022.
 
Make sure that you provide the school with all the information that they require as the school will use the information that you provide when making their decision about which children are admitted in September 2022.
 

Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School

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AQUINAS DIOCESAN GRAMMAR SCHOOL

518 Ravenhill Road

Belfast BT6 0BY

Telephone No: 028 9064 3939

Fax No: 028 9069 3728

E-mail: info@aquinas.belfast.ni.sch.uk

Web-site: www.aquinasgrammar.com

Principal: Mr Barry Kelly BSc, PGCE, MEd, PQH(NI)

Chair of Board of Governors: Mr Terry McDaid


Voluntary Grammar School Co-Educational


Age Range: 11-18

Admission No: 130

Enrolment No: 770


Due to Covid restrictions: Open events will be Virtual and will be available online via www.aquinasgrammar.com

from Thursday 20th January 2022.


To Parents/Guardians naming Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School as a preference on their child’s On-Line Transfer Application.


Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School will give preference to, (apart from those who qualify for either the Special Circumstances or Special Provision procedures), those applicants awarded a grade and SAS score by GL in completing the GL Entrance Assessment on Saturday 13 November 2021 or the Supplementary GL Entrance Assessment on Saturday 11 December 2021. Parents/guardians must upload the GL Grade and SAS score result form to the On-line Applicaton.


COVID-19 Disruption

If the GL Entrance Assessment takes place but at the time of the GL Assessment or Supplementary Assessment, an applicant who is entered/registered to sit the assessment, is unable to sit either of these assessments due to COVID-19 reasons, the applicant may apply under Special Provision (d) to sit a Special Provision Assessment. See Note on Special Provision below.


RESPECTIVE FUNCTIONS OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS AND PRINCIPAL IN RELATION TO ADMISSIONS TO THE SCHOOL

The Board of Governors draws up the admissions criteria and delegates to an Admissions Sub-Committee, which includes the Principal, the responsibility for applying these criteria. Any reference herein to the term the Board of Governors includes any Committee or Sub-Committee appointed by the Board of Governors for the purposes of applying the Admission criteria set out herein.


CAPITAL FEE

From September 1993 parents of all pupils admitted to Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School (except in the case of pupils who are not resident in Northern Ireland and who are non E.C. nationals) have not been required to pay Tuition Fees. A Voluntary Contribution (currently £130 per pupil for the eldest family member, then £100 for any additional child) is requested.


ADMISSIONS CRITERIA FOR ENTRY OF PUPILS TO YEAR 8 IN SEPTEMBER 2022

Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School will initially consider only those applicants who have taken the GL Entrance Assessment and who have been awarded a grade/SAS or assigned a grade/SAS pursuant to the application of the Special Circumstance or Special Provision procedures and will admit pupils based on grade/SAS achieved in the assessment or otherwise awarded.


The Board of Governors will not use as a criterion the position of preference given to Aquinas on the On-Line Application i.e. an applicant who has chosen Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School in any position on the On-Line Application will be considered equally with those who have put Aquinas first.


Note: It is the sole responsibility of the parent/guardian of a prospective pupil to ensure that there is uploaded via the On-Line Application, all the information required to enable the Board of Governors to apply the Admisions Criteria of Aquinas to the application of the prospective pupil. Only evidence uploaded via the On-Line Application shall be considered by the Board of Governors in the allocation of a place to the applicant.


SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES AND SPECIAL PROVISION PROCEDURES

Special Circumstances usually refers to the claim that as a result of medical or other problems an applicant’s performance in the GL Assessment was affected. Any claim for Special Circumstances must be submitted on a Special Circumstances Claim Form [SCR] available from the school at which the applicant took the Assessment. Supporting evidence is not necessary at this stage but the reasons for the claim and the applicant’s full name, address and date of birth must be included. Claims for Special Circumstances must have been received by 2.00 pm on Wednesday 15th December 2021 by the Assessment Centre at which the applicant took the GL Entrance Assessment.


Independent, verifiable documentary evidence which corroborates the Special Circumstances claim [SCR form], and the SC1 form must be upload when completing the On-line Application by 4pm on Wednesday 23rd February 2022.


Note on COVID-19

Special Circumstances will not be applied solely due to lost teaching and learning time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lost teaching and learning is being addressed in the GL Entrance Assessment 2021 via the assessment methods and the reduction in the content that will be assessed. Specific COVID-19 impacts which are unique to the applicant may still be applicable to Special Circumstances.


NB: The existence of special circumstances DOES NOT in itself lead to automatic admission to Aquinas. Each case is considered on its own merits by the Board of Governors.


The Board of Governors will consider applicants claiming that Special Circumstances or Special Provision exist. These will be considered first. Where this is granted, the Board of Governors will determine, on the basis of the Educational Evidence available, an appropriate grade and SAS equivalent for the applicant. Such applicants will then be considered with all other applicants who have awarded a GL Entrance Assessment Grade / SAS and the admissions criteria applied.


If a claim for the consideration of special circumstances is made in respect of matters for which access arrangements were granted or could have been granted had they been made known to the assessment centre, the Admissions Committee may take into account the fact that the applicant was granted access arrangements or could have been granted access arrangements for those matters.


Circumstances relating to application for Special Circumstances must apply at the time of the Entrance Assessment and be supported by appropriate written evidence. A Special Circumstances claim will not be considered without such evidence.


It is the responsibility of parents/guardian/carers to ensure that such claims and all verifying information are included and form SC1, must be upload via the On-line Application.


DETAILS OF MEDICAL OR OTHER PROBLEMS:

Where it is claimed that an applicant’s performance in the GL Entrance Assessment has been affected by a medical or other problem, independent evidence of its existence must be provided via the On-line Application. Where the problem is a medical one of short term duration which affected the applicant only at the time of the GL Entrance Assessment Aquinas will require the production of evidence that the applicant was examined by a medical practitioner in relation to the illness at the time of the GL Entrance Assessment. This evidence should be provided on headed notepaper of the medical practitioner and signed and dated by him/her.


Where the problem is of a non-medical nature the parents/guardians must upload via the on line Application precise details of the problem and append any appropriate independent evidence to corroborate its existence. Please refer to documents: Post Primary Transfer Consortium ENTRANCE ASSESSMENT ACCESS ARRANGEMENTS POLICY (Section 10) and Claiming Special Circumstances - A Guide for Parents & Guardians; PPTC Claiming Special Circumstances - A Guide for Parents & Guardians


EDUCATIONAL EVIDENCE:

Sufficient objective documentary evidence must be provided by the parents/guardians applying for Special Circumstances and be uploaded with the online Application, and verified by the primary school to enable the Board of Governors to reach a decision.


The following information should be provided on form SC1:-

• Records of the results of KS2 CAT4 (verbal and quantitative) and/or PTE/PTM results. These must be verifiable and should be signed off by the Primary School Principal. The verified results should be attached to the On-line Transfer Applicaiton.

• All test results should be accompanied by the name of the standardised test supplier, and be dated and verified by the primary school (eg. Signature of Principal, School stamp/headed notepaper);

• Any other relevant educational material from the Primary School.


The Board of Governors will, when considering the weight to be given to submitted evidence, consider standardised test results as ranking in priority to other submitted evidence.


The Board of Governors may decide in relation to an applicant in this category of special circumstances, that the grade which the applicant in fact achieved in the GL Assessment is the grade which the applicant would have achieved if he had sat the GL Assessment under normal circumstances. Once a decision has been made the applicant will be considered alongside applicants within that category.


It is emphasised that the onus is on the parents/guardians to ensure that the above information is provided by the primary school. Failure to provide such information may result in Aquinas being unable to consider the application for Special Circumstances. Parents/guardians have a statutory right to request and obtain information on their child. Further information on the rights to access pupil records is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office or from the following website: http://www.ico.org.uk


Applicants considered under Special Circumstances will be considered on the evidence made available to the school and awarded a grade/SAS using the school’s Protocol which is available upon request.


NOTE ON SPECIAL PROVISION

Applications which fall into this category shall be considered before the consideration of the applications of those who sat the GL Entrance Assessment under normal circumstances.


Special provision may be made by the Board of Governors for applicants:

a) who are transferring from primary schools outside Northern Ireland

b) who have received more than half of their primary education outside Northern Ireland

c) whose educational provision to date has been negatively affected by serious medical or other problems which is supported by independent verifiable documentary evidence and who have not taken the GL Assessment or its Supplementary Assessment.

d) who were entered for the GL Assessment and it took place, but the applicant was unable to sit either the GL Assessment or Supplementary Assessment as a result of COVID-19.


It is the responsibility of parents/guardians to provide precise reasons why the applicant did not take part in the GL Entrance Assessment and to ensure appropriate documentary evidence is uploaded with the Transfer Application.


Applicants in categories (a) & (b) above who wish to apply under Special Provision do not need to take the GL Entrance Assessment or the supplementary assessment unless their parents/guardians so wish, in which case the GL Entrance Assessment grade obtained would also be considered.


The Board of Governors will require a suitably qualified person or body approved by Aquinas to make an assessment of the applicant’s ability. This will be known as the Special Provision Assessment.


The Board of Governors, within the operation of its admissions criteria, will decide whether these children should be admitted on the basis that they fall within the ability range of other pupils being admitted in that year.


Parents of pupils presently enrolled in P7 wishing to claim Special Provision should complete Form SP1 available from Aquinas website, stating the case for eligibility under this category, and upload it as part of the pupil’s On-line Transfer Application. This should be completed by by 4pm on Wednesday 23rd February 2022. After this date, claims for Special Provision should be made directly to Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School. The final date for Aquinas to accept such requests is 2pm on Monday 4th April 2022.


The Board of Governors will consider each application for Special Provision. Where this is granted, the Board of Governors will:

• contact parent(s)/guardian(s)/carer(s) of the applicant;

• arrange a date and time for the applicant to sit the above assessment in Aquinas. As with the GL Assessment the Special Provision Assessment will also be marked by GL.

• The result of the test will be converted into a grade / SAS and parents informed.


Where Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School is not your first preference school and you have sat the same / acceptable Special Provision Assessment in another school, Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School will use the results of that Special Provision Assessment in the Special Provision Procedure.


Such applications will then be considered with all other applicants who have received a GL Entrance Assessment grade and the admissions criteria applied.


Verification.

To assist with verification, Parents/Guardians are asked to use the Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School form V1 [www.aquinasgrammar.com] to assist in the verification of information used in our admissions criteria


ALLOCATION OF PLACES

Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School will give preference to those pupils for whom a grade/SAS relating to the GL Entrance Assessment method has been awarded by GL or assigned by the Board of Governors pursuant to the special circumstances/special provisions procedures. Information on the GL Entrance Assessment is available from Aquinas, or available to download from the Aquinas website at www.aquinasgrammar.com


Preference will be given to applicant’s resident in Northern Ireland at the time of their proposed admission before any applicant who is not resident in Northern Ireland.


In order to determine which pupils will be accepted into Year 8 the following criteria will be applied in the order set down:

(1)

(i) Priority will be given to those applicants who have been awarded a grade A under the GL Assessment or who have been assigned a grade A after consideration of Special Circumstances or Special Provision application. The school will award places on the basis of this grade.

(ii) Priority will be given to those applicants who have been awarded a grade B1 under the GL Assessment or who have been assigned a grade B1 after consideration of Special Circumstances or Special Provision application. The school will award places on the basis of this grade.

(iii) Priority will be given to those applicants who have been awarded a grade B2 under the GL Assessment or who have been assigned a grade B2 after consideration of Special Circumstances or Special Provision application. The school will award places on the basis of this grade.

(iv) Priority will be given to those applicants who have been awarded a grade C1 under the GL Assessment or who have been assigned a grade C1 after consideration of Special Circumstances or Special Provision application. The school will award places on the basis of this grade.

(v) Priority will be given to those applicants who have been awarded a grade C2 under the GL Assessment or who have been assigned a grade C2 after consideration of Special Circumstances or Special Provision application. The school will award places on the basis of this grade.

(vi) Priority will be given to those applicants who have been awarded a grade D under the GL Assessment or who have been assigned a grade D after consideration of Special Circumstances or Special Provision application. The school will award places on the basis of this grade.


(2) In the event of there being more applicants in any grade than places available within each such grade, priority will be given in descending order to those who indicate on the On-Line Tranfer Application that they:


a) have a sibling in the school. Siblings are Children who, at the date of their application, have a child of the family currently enrolled in Aquinas. (Please name the sibling and class).

b) are applicants who are the eldest child of the family or the eldest child at the date of application, eligible to transfer to a mainstream Post-Primary school, or the only child.

‘Eldest’ will also include those children whose:

i. elder sibling attends a special school or unit


This is subject to satisfying verification requirements as set out below: [Twins or other multiples will be treated as joint eldest]

The verifying form V1 must be attached to the Transfer Application and state that the child is the eldest and that the child and family are known to the verifier.

It must be signed and where possible stamped or address provided by one of the following who is not a member of the applicant’s family:

i. a medical practitioner

ii. a solicitor

iii. a clergyman or equivalent

iv. a primary school principal


c) Priority will be given to applicants if they are enrolled pupils in the following feeder primary schools in no specific order: St. Anne’s PS BT10 0NE; St Bernard’s PS, BT6 0JS; St Bride’s PS, BT9 6FP; Holy Rosary PS, BT7 3DB; St Ita’s PS, BT8 6YY; St Joseph’s PS, BT8 8EX; St Malachy’s PS, BT7 2BJ; St Matthew’s PS, BT5 4EW; St Michael’s PS, BT6 0BW


d) Applicants will be selected if they are entitled to Free School Meals.

‘Entitled to Free School Meals’ will mean applicants who are listed on the Education Authority register and who are entitled to Free School Meals at the date on which their parent or guardian has completed their On-Line Transfer Application.

Should family circumstances change after completion of the On-Line Transfer Application it is essential that parents/ guardians inform the Education Authority before 4pm on Wednesday 9th March 2022.

If it becomes necessary to make a final selection, in order to remain within the admissions number, applicants in this pool will be


e) Ranked by their Score – Total SAS [Max 282 in descending order] and places awarded until none are left


f) If there are still ties for the final places after e above then those tied for the final place(s) will be

ranked for acceptance on the basis of a computer-based process which will make use of the names of applicants as shown on their On-Line Transfer Application.


The process is carried out by means of a computer program which, for each applicant, generates a ranking number using the details from the full name as entered on the On-Line Transfer Application as the seed for a random number generator. The outcome, for any given applicant, is dependent only on the applicant’s name (as entered on the On-Line Transfer Application), and is not affected by the details of any other applicant. Although the process is repeatable, and the results may therefore be subsequently verified, it is not possible to predict, in advance of running the program, what the result will be for any given set of details. Applicants with the lowest ranking numbers will be given places up to the number of places available.


[Each letter of the alphabet will be given an random value. Some will be positive and the others negative numbers.] This will be overseen by the Admissions Sub Committee of the Board of Governors.


When considering which children should be selected for admission, the Board of Governors will only take into account information which is detailed on On-Line Transfer Appliaction. Parents should ensure that all information pertaining to their child and relevant to the school’s admissions criteria is uploaded as part of the Transfer Application


WAITING LIST POLICY

Should a vacancy arise after 21st May 2022 all applications for admission to Year 8 that were initially refused, new applications and applications where new information has been provided will be treated equally and the published criteria above will be applied. This waiting list will be in place until 30 June 2023. The school will contact you in writing if your child gains a place in the school by this method.


Your child’s name will be automatically added to the list. Please contact the school if you wish for your child’s name to be removed from the list.


APPLICATIONS AND ADMISSIONS

Year

Admissions Number

Total Applications ie All Preferences

Total Admissions

2019/20

130

237

138*

2020/21

130

207

137*

2021/22

150

357

156*


*Includes pupils placed in Aquinas through Education Authority Special Needs or Appeal or Exceptional Circumstances Body.

Criteria for admission to Year 9 and onwards

Available on request from the school.

** This information is provided for guidance only and while the content is, to the best of our knowledge, accurate we cannot be held in any way responsible for any errors or omissions that it may contain. Please contact your LA or chosen grammar school for all admission and Transfer Test queries.**