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NI Grammar School Admission criteria for
September 2022
These details will be updated in January 2024.

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.

Our Lady’s Grammar School



Convent of Mercy 

Chequer Hill 


BT35 6DY 

Telephone:  028 3026 3552 

Fax:  028 3026 0140 



Principal:  Mrs Fiona McAlinden BSc(Hons), PGCE, MEd, PQH(NI) 

Chairperson of the Board of Governors:  Sr M. Frances Connolly 


Girls Voluntary Grammar 

Age Range:                 11-18  

Admissions Number:            148 

Enrolment Number:             860 



Due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, Our Lady’s Grammar School is unable to host its annual Open Evening.  

A Virtual Open Day will be hosted via the school website in January 2022. 



School Fee:  £70 per annum (under review) 


Respective functions of the Board of Governors and Principal in relation to Admissions to the school 


The Board of Governors has delegated the responsibilities for the task of applying the criteria as indicated below to a Subcommittee.  The decisions of this Subcommittee are subject to the final ratification of the Board of Governors. 



Our Lady's Grammar School, Newry, is a Catholic grammar school for girls. This school wishes to accept girls who will benefit from the education it offers and whose parents/guardians are in agreement with the philosophy and aims of the school.

Our Lady’s Grammar School previously used the outcomes of GL Entrance Assessment as the basis of selection of P7 pupils for admission.

The Board of Governors considered the impact of school closures on our local community as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and recognised there has been disruption to the education of pupils since March 2020.

The Board of Governors agreed, in the continuing pandemic, that academic admissions criteria would not be used for the 2022-2023 academic year. As a result, Our Lady’s Grammar School will not use outcomes from GL Entrance Assessment as part of its Admissions Criteria for the academic year 2022-23. Pupils applying will not be required to provide a GL Entrance Assessment result.

Our Lady’s Admissions Criteria for the 2022-23 academic year have been amended accordingly.

Careful consideration was given to the decision to temporarily remove the academically selective element for the academic year 2022-23. Our Lady’s Grammar School remains committed to its own ethos and academic focus on high quality teaching and learning. Those who would normally apply to be admitted are encouraged to continue to do so.

When considering which children can be selected for admission, the Board of Governors will only take into account information which is included on or submitted with the Transfer Application. All relevant information that might qualify a pupil for a school’s published admissions criteria must be included. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that this information is provided and that it is both complete and accurate before submitting with the Transfer Application. Examples of such information include whether the child has a sibling (state name of sibling) at the school or whether the child is registered with the Education Authority as being entitled to Free School Meals.

(Please note: In accordance with the 1997 Education Northern Ireland Order (Section 16 (4)), Our Lady’s Grammar School has been directed to select for admission all children resident in Northern Ireland at the time of their proposed admission before any child not so resident may be selected for admission.)


1. All girls who have applied to be admitted to Our Lady’s Grammar School.

If there are more girls who have applied than places available, then girls will be selected according to the following criteria applied in the order set down below: -


(i) Girls who, at the date of their application, have a parent/guardian who is a member of the permanent teaching, administrative, or ancillary staff of Our Lady’s Grammar School.

(ii) Girls who, at the date of their application, have another girl of the family (as defined by DE in Transfer 2010 Guidance) enrolled at the school or selected for admission to the school in the coming school year.

(iii) Girls who, at the date of their application, are registered with the Education Authority as being entitled to Free School Meals Provision (as defined by DE in Transfer 2010 Guidance). Priority to be given so that the proportion of such children admitted is not less than the proportion of FSME applications received within the total number of applications received. The calculation of this proportion will be based on the applications received by the School on or before the 9 March 2022 (no later than 4 pm) and the proportion will be applied in the manner set out in DE Circular 2016/15. If the number of applications from girls entitled to Free School Meals is greater than the calculated proportion above, then selection for all places remaining in this category will be on the basis of the computer-based process detailed below under ‘Tie-breaker’.

If there are more girls who meet one of the above sub-criteria when they are applied in the order of priority set down than there are places available, then the remaining sub-criteria will become sub sub-criteria and applied successively in the order set out until the final selection is completed.


Should there be over-subscription amongst girls, once the above sub-criteria have been applied, selection for all places remaining will be on the basis of a computer-based process which will make use of the names (identified on the birth certificate or on a court order) as entered on the online application. The process is carried out by means of a computer programme which, for each applicant, generates a ranking number using the details from the online 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 online 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 programme, 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.

Where, after this process has been applied, two or more applicants have identical ranking numbers and thereby qualify for the last available place(s), places will be allocated by random selection.

Twins and children of other multiple births

Where, in the event of having to use the tie breaker in the process of determining rank order for twins and other children of multiple births, the procedure will be conducted as set out above but, on completion, the ranking number of the second and any subsequent girl of the multiple birth will be changed to that number immediately after the ranking number of the first girl and the ranking number of all other applicants whose ranking was lower than that of the first girl will be changed accordingly as a result.


The Board of Governors reserves the right to require such supplementary evidence as it may determine to support or verify information on the Transfer Application or submitted with the Transfer Application by parents/guardians.

The provision of false or incorrect information or the failure to provide any requested verifying documents within the deadline set by Our Lady’s Grammar School will result in either the withdrawal of a place or the inability of the school to offer a place.

The responsibility to ensure that:

• The Transfer Application and other necessary documentation is correctly completed;

• Any required verification documents are provided within specified deadlines,

lies with the parents/guardians of the child. Failure to ensure that this occurs will lead to the application not being considered by the Board of Governors and/or the withdrawal of a place in the school.


Should a place in Year 8 become available for any reason after the start of the school year first consideration will be given to pupils who have moved from elsewhere to the local area and who were thus unable to apply before Summer 2022. Any other place(s) will be offered to those whose applications were considered by the Admissions Committee and who were not admitted. All such unsuccessful applicants will have been placed in a Rank Order determined by the published criteria; should a place in Year 8 become available, it will be offered to the pupil placed first in that Rank Order.


Year   2019/20

Admissions No    120

Total Applications All Preferences    189

Total Admissions    125*

Year    2020/21

Admissions No    148

Total Applications All Preferences    155

Total Admissions    148

Year    2021/22

Admissions No    148

Total Applications All Preferences    214

 Total Admissions   162*

*includes Appeals and Statemented Pupils


(Admission to Years 9, 10, 11 and 12)

It is not school policy to admit pupils to year 12, except in exceptional circumstances. Should a place in Years 9, 10 or 11 become available, for any reason, then the Admissions Criteria will apply as for Admissions into Year 8 with Special Provisions for those who have moved from elsewhere to the local area.


The Board of Governors reserves the right to refuse an application for a place in Years 9, 10 or 11 even if a place becomes available, if the Board is of the opinion that the admission of the child would prejudice the efficient use of resources.


(All external applicants for places in Year 13 must provide evidence from their former school that they have a good disciplinary and attendance record).

All applicants must have taken GCSE or equivalent examinations.

a. The minimum academic requirement for acceptance into ‘A’ level studies in Our Lady’s Grammar School is the same for internal and external applicants, that is, at least 4 Grade Bs and 3 Grade Cs at GCSE or equivalent, appropriate to the ‘A’ level course which they wish to follow.

b. Certain subjects have specific entrance requirements. Details may be obtained from the ‘A’ Level Choices Booklet available on request from the school after Easter 2022.

c. If there are more applicants than the number of places available in the Year Group or desired subject group(s) priority will be given to students presently attending the school. **(see below)

d. If it is necessary to decide between applicants from other schools who fulfil criterion a. in this section, the following will be applied in order of priority:

(i) Academic abilities, determined by points score where

A* = 8 points A = 7 points B = 6 points C *= 5 points C= 4 points

In the event that two applicants have the same points score, the Admissions Criteria as outlined for applicants seeking admission into Year 8 will be applied.

Applicants who have obtained grades in equivalent examinations other than GCSE examinations will be allocated points for their qualifications.

Pupils considering a transfer from another school must contact the Principal of Our Lady’s Grammar School as soon as possible following the publication of the GCSE results. Interviews will be arranged.

Applicants must bring with them to interview: 

their results slip(s);

their two most recent school reports.

**NB: Criteria for any extra places made available by the Department of Education for Admission to Sixth Form in Our Lady’s Grammar School

The Department of Education may, upon request, increase the number of pupils that a school can accept into Year 13. Places that become available in this way shall be allocated only to pupils who meet the basic eligibility criteria for Sixth Form study in Our Lady’s Grammar School (as outlined above) and shall be allocated in the order determined by the criteria to be applied in the order below:

1. Pupils who have most recently completed Year 12 in Our Lady’s Grammar School;

2. Pupils from other schools where admission to an extra place in Our Lady’s Grammar School has been agreed by the Department of Education.

Parents should note how the Department of Education (DE) will, in response to a school’s request, increase the school’s enrolment number in order to allow an extra post-16 pupil to enrol. DE will first check whether there is another school or schools of the type suitable*** (see below) for that pupil within an hour’s journey of where the pupil lives. If there is, DE will then check whether this other school or schools with places available may provide all of the post-16 courses that the pupil wishes to pursue. If these checks find that no other suitable school may provide all of the post-16 courses that the pupil wishes to pursue – then DE will agree a school’s request for an extra place.

***What is a school of a type that is suitable for a pupil?

To determine this, DE first considers all schools to be one of 4 types:

(i) Denominational;

(ii) Non-denominational;

(iii) Integrated;

(iv) Irish-Medium

A school requesting an extra place for a post-16 pupil will belong to one of these 4 types and DE will consider any other school or schools from this same type as suitable for the pupil. DE will also consider as suitable for the pupil any school from the same type as the type of school that the child attended in Year 12

** 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.**

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