Admission criteria for

September 2021

In recent years the Transfer Test - either the AQE or GL (PPTC) version has been used as part of the admissions policy for entry into year 8. In 2020 the Transfer Test did not take place and so this school has developed new criteria for entry into Year 8 in September 2021.


These 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 2021.


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 2021.

Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School

Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School

518 Ravenhill Road 

Belfast   BT6 0BY 

Telephone No: 028 9064 3939 

Fax No: 028 9069 3728 




 Voluntary Grammar School  -Co-Educational  

Age Range: 11-18  

Admission No: 130  

Enrolment No: 770 


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

Chair of Board of Governors:  Mr Terry McDaid 


Virtual Open Event via the School Web site will be available at the end of January 2021. 

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


Under normal circumstances, 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 by GL in completing the GL Entrance Assessment or the Supplementary GL Entrance Assessment.  


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and following Public Health restrictions, the GL Entrance Assessment and Supplementary GL Entrance Assessment have been cancelled this year. Consequently, in these exceptional circumstances and for this year only, our normal entrance criteria have been amended to reflect this.  


Parents/guardians/carers whose children wish to apply for a Year 8 place in Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School, should still do so through the normal post primary admissions process as set out by the Education Authority. 



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. 



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. 




Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School will initially consider only those applicants who were registered to take the GL Entrance Assessment. A copy of the GL Registration Card must be uploaded to the On-line Transfer Application.  


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


Note:  It is the sole responsibility of the parent/guardian/carer of a prospective pupil to ensure that there is submitted, either on the Transfer Application or together with the Transfer Application, all the information required to enable the Board of Governors to apply the Admissions Criteria of Aquinas to the application of the prospective pupil.  Only evidence submitted either on the Transfer Application or uploaded with the Transfer Application at the time of submission to Aquinas for admission shall be considered by the Board of Governors in the allocation of a place to the applicant.  


Special Provisions  

Special Provisions will only apply to children who have not entered for the GL because they took up residence in Northern Ireland after 16 October 2020 or received more than half of their primary education outside Northern Ireland. 


Parents/guardians who wish to apply to the School under Special Provisions should complete Form SP20, obtainable from the School or its website,  stating the precise reason why they believe the child is eligible for consideration under Special Provisions and upload it with appropriate evidence with the Transfer Application.   


Parents/Guardians who are applying for Special Provisions must do so by Tuesday 16 March 2021. Using the information provided, the Board of Governors will determine whether Special Provisions applies. If it does, those children who the Board of Governors considers to be eligible will be considered under the Admissions Criteria below.  


After this date, claims for Special Provision should be made directly to Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School, and parents should notify the Education Authority’s School Admissions Team. The final date for receipt of new applications/additional information is Monday, 12 April 2021, no later than 4pm. 




Preference will be given to applicants 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) Priority will be given to those applicants who registered to take the GL Entrance Assessment. A copy of the GL Registration Card must be uploaded to the On-line Transfer Application  


(2)  In the event of there being more applicants than places available, priority will be given in descending order to those who indicate on the Transfer 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). 


b) are applicants who are the eldest child in the family or the eldest child at the date of application, eligible to transfer to a mainstream Post-Primary school, or the only child. This is subject to satisfying verification requirements as set out below: [Twins or other multiples will be treated as joint eldest] 


The verifying letter must be uploaded with 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 written on headed notepaper and signed 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 submitted their post-primary Transfer Application. 

Should family circumstances change after completion of the Transfer Form it is essential that parents/ guardians inform the Education Authority before 12 April 2021 no later than 4 p.m. 


e) If after consideration of the above criteria, there remain more applicants than places available, applicants 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 Transfer Applications.  


The process is carried out by means of a computer program which, for each applicant, generates a ranking number using the details from the 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 submitted on the 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. 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 the Transfer Application.  Parents should ensure that all information pertaining to their child and relevant to the school’s admissions criteria is uploaded with the Transfer Application. 



Should a vacancy arise after 18 June 2021 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 2022.  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. 



Year 2018/19 

 Admissions Number  110 

 Total Applications ie All Preferences  178

 Total Admissions   116* 


Year 2019/20 

 Admissions Number  130 

 Total Applications ie All Preferences  237

 Total Admissions   138* 

 Year 2020/21 

 Admissions Number  130 

 Total Applications ie All Preferences  207

 Total Admissions   137* 


*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.**