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.

Methodist College Belfast

Methodist College Belfast   

Voluntary Grammar School 




1 Malone Road 


BT9 6BY 

Telephone No: 028 9020 5205 

Fax No: 028 9020 5228 

E-mail: Web-site: 

Principal: Mr S Naismith MA 

Chair of Board of Governors: Rev Dr J Unsworth 

Age Range: 11-18 

Admission No: 240 

Enrolment No: 1810 



Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the College will be holding a virtual Open Evening and information will be posted on the College website. 

CAPITAL FEE: £140 per annum. 


The responsibility for selecting applicants for places on the basis of the following criteria is delegated by the Board of Governors to an Admissions Sub-Committee, which includes the Principal. These criteria have been approved by the Board of Governors of Methodist College Belfast (referred to herein as ‘the College’, see note 3 below for further explanation). 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. 




Section 1. Introduction: 

1.1 Applicants who will be resident in Northern Ireland at the time of their proposed admission to the College will be selected for admission before any such applicants not so resident. 

1.2 The number of places available is limited to the admissions number set by the Department of Education for Northern Ireland; this is currently 240 places. The cut-off for admission will therefore be the 240th place. 

Section 2. The admissions criteria will be applied in the following order: 


2.1 Those applicants registered for the AQE CEA 2021 or resident and being educated outside of Northern Ireland on the date when registration for the AQE CEA 2021 closed. (see note 7) 

(N.B. Parents/Guardians must provide appropriate documentary evidence that the applicant was registered for AQE CEA 2021 or that they were resident and being educated outside of Northern Ireland on the date when registration for the AQE CEA 2021 closed.) 


Applicants who are entitled to Free School Meals (FSME): Priority to be given so that the proportion of such children admitted is not less than the proportion of first preference FSME applications received within the total number of first preference applications received. (see notes 1 and 2); 


If the College is oversubscribed following the application of criterion 2.1, then all applicants who meet criterion 2.1 will be prioritised for admission by applying the following criteria in order: 


2.2 The children of Methodist Ministers in accordance with the terms of the Methodist College Act; 

2.3 Present members of the College in its Preparatory Department (see note 3); 

2.4 Those with sibling(s) who is/are at present enrolled in the Secondary Department of the College or has/have already been offered a place; 


2.5 Those whose sibling(s) has/have previously been a pupil in the Secondary Department of the College (see note 4); 


2.6 Eldest child in the family, defined as children who, at the date of their application, are: 

. the eldest child of the family or 

. the next eldest child of the family where the eldest child(ren) of the family attends a special school or is unable to attend a mainstream school. (see note 5) 


2.7 The children of present members of staff of the College; 

2.8 Those whose parent(s) has/have been a pupil of the College; 

2.9 The remaining applicants. 


2.10 If the number of applicants in any of the above groups within each category exceeds the remaining number of places available, the applicants will be further ranked for acceptance on the basis of a computerised random selection process. (see note 6 below for further explanation). 


If, following the application of criterion 2.1, all the available places have not been filled, the College will consider for admission any pupils not registered for the CEA. Allocation of these remaining places will be made by applying criteria 2.2 to 2.10. 


The College emphasises that it is the responsibility of the parents/guardians of the applicants to notify the College on the online Transfer Application where the above criteria apply, and to furnish relevant details. 


The Board of Governors reserves the right to require such supplementary evidence as it may determine to support or verify information on any applicant’s online Transfer Application. 

If the requested evidence is not provided to the Board of Governors by the deadline given, this will result in the withdrawal of an offer of a place. Similarly, if information is supplied which appears to be false or misleading in any material way, the offer of a place will be withdrawn. 


Should a vacancy arise after 18 June 2021 all applications for admission to Form 1/Year 8 that were initially refused, new applications, and applications where new information has been provided will be treated equally and the published criteria applied. This waiting list will be in place until 30 June 2022. Should a place become available for your child by this method, the College will contact you. Your child’s name will be automatically added to the list. Please contact the College if you wish your child’s name to be removed from the list. 



1. “entitled to Free School Meals” will mean pupils who are listed on the Education Authority register as entitled to Free School Meals at the date on which their parent or guardian has completed their online post-primary Transfer Application, or at any date up to and including 12 April 2021, no later than 4 pm. 


2. The calculation of this proportion will be on the basis of first preference applications received by the post- primary school on or before the 12 April 2021, no later than 4 pm. 


3. The College has two constituent parts: the Preparatory Department and the Secondary Department. 


4. Parents/Guardians must provide name(s) and dates of past pupil(s). 

5. Eldest child: This must be indicated on the online Transfer Application and supported by a letter from the principal of the primary school which the child attends, or a solicitor or a medical professional. 

6. The random selection process referred to in criterion 2.10 above is carried out by means of a computer program which, for each applicant, generates a random number. The result, for any given applicant, is not affected by the details of any other applicant. Applicants with the lowest random number will be given places up to the number of places available. The operation of the process will be independently monitored by the Senior Vice Principal. 

7. The parents of pupils who wish them to transfer from schools outside Northern Ireland, must complete the online Transfer Application process, in advance of the Transfer Office deadline of 12th April 2021, no later than 4 pm, beyond which any new/additional preferences received by the Transfer Office will not be processed until after 18 June 2021. 

8. Anyone requiring further information about the Admissions Criteria or the application of the Admissions Criteria should contact the Principal of the College. 

When considering which children should be selected for admission, the Board of Governors will only take into account information which is detailed on or uploaded with the online Transfer Application. Parents should ensure that all information pertaining to their child and relevant to the school’s admissions criteria is stated on the online Transfer Application or uploaded to it. 



Applications and Admissions 


Year     2018/19 

Admissions No     240

Total Applications ie. All preferences     322

Total Admissions     240


Year     2019/20 

Admissions No     250

Total Applications ie. All preferences     364

Total Admissions     250


Year     2020/21 

Admissions No     242

Total Applications ie. All preferences     369

Total Admissions     244*


* One application upheld on Appeal and one application upheld by Exceptional Circumstances Body 

Criteria for Admission to Forms 2 – L6 

The criteria for admitting pupils to places in Forms 2 to Lower Sixth have been approved by the Board of Governors of Methodist College Belfast. The application of the criteria is delegated to an Admissions Panel consisting of the Principal, the Vice Principal (Pastoral) and the Admissions Officer. Consideration will be given to any medical or other problem that may have temporarily affected a student’s academic performance. This needs to be supported by appropriate documentary evidence. A pupil will be admitted only where their admission will not prejudice the efficient use of resources. 

Entry to Forms 2 to 4 

The decision of the Admissions Panel will be based on the following evidence of academic ability, if available: 


1. The two most recent school reports; 

2. An assessment set by the College; 

3. Any other appropriate evidence of academic ability and/or potential. 

Please note that only in exceptional circumstances (e.g. a family move necessitating a change of school) will new pupils be admitted to Form 5. 


Entry to Sixth Form 

The academic requirements for entry into Sixth Form are as follows: 



 A minimum of 6 GCSE subjects at Grade ‘C’ or above (all taken by the end of Form 5) 


Students are expected to take three subjects to A Level. This means that for the majority of students, entry to Lower Sixth will require them to have achieved a minimum of 3 B Grades and 3 C Grades at GCSE including English Language and Mathematics. 


 Grade ‘B’ or above in each of the subjects to be taken at A Level unless otherwise stated in the  6th Form entry booklet. If the A Level subject is not available at GCSE then a Grade B or above in a related subject will be accepted. (A related subject is a subject taken at GCSE which requires comparable skills to a proposed A Level subject). 


 Students may request to take a 4th subject if they: 

. Intend to apply for a university course that requires 4 A Levels or 

. Intend to study Medicine, Veterinary Studies or Dentistry 

. Are studying Mathematics and Further Mathematics at A Level or 

. Have another compelling reason to study an additional subject. 


It is anticipated that all students will progress to Upper Sixth. However, if a student is significantly underachieving in the Lower Sixth Year then a meeting will be arranged with Head of Sixth Form and/or the Senior Vice- Principal to discuss and identify alternative pathways of 



Pupils coming from an education system which does not use GCSE / IGCSE will have to provide evidence of having achieved at an equivalent standard. They may also have to complete entrance assessments set by the College. 

Should the number of applicants mean that school’s enrolment number would be exceeded if they were all admitted to the Sixth Form then students will be selected using the following criteria which are presented here in order of priority: 


1. Those students who were students of Methodist College in Form 5 and who meet the above entry criteria. 

2. Those students of Methodist College in Form L6, who need to repeat the year due to significant pastoral or medical issues. 

3. In rank cumulative GCSE score order, those students from other Post Primary schools who have completed an application form by the date of formal application and who meet the above entry criteria and are able to be coursed subject to availability, until the school’s enrolment number is reached. 

** 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.**