top of page

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.

Portadown College


Portadown College Controlled Senior High School (Grammar) 

Killicomaine Road  

Portadown Age Range: 14-18 


BT63 5BU 

Telephone:  (028) 3833 2439 Admissions No: 220  

Fax:               (028) 3835 0733 

Email:   Enrolment No: 780 


Principal:     Miss G R Gibb, BA (Hons), MSc, PGCE, PQH(NI) 

Chairman of the Board of Governors:  Mr P H Aiken, BA(Hons), DMS, CFCIPD 



This virtual event may be viewed on the Portadown College website (  

from Wednesday 20 January 2021. 




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




Portadown College will consider for admission those students who, in the judgement of the Board of Governors, are suited to and will benefit from the courses and form of education on offer in the College. 


The lodging of an application for a place at Portadown College is interpreted by the Board of Governors as an indication that parents/guardians and the student concerned accept and are in agreement with the ethos, philosophy, aims, policies, rules and regulations of the College including any code of conduct or behaviour management policy of the College.  Information in relation to this may be obtained from the College.  


The lodging of an application for a place at Portadown College is interpreted by the Board of Governors that parents/guardians consent to the College receiving, storing and processing data for the purposes of admission. 


In selecting students for admission those resident in Northern Ireland will be selected for admission before those not so resident. 


When considering which students should be selected for admission, the Board of Governors will only take into account information which is detailed on, or attached to, the application form alongside the provision of relevant information as indicated below. Parents/guardians should therefore ensure that all information pertaining to their young person and relevant to the College’s admissions criteria is stated on the application form or attached to it by the date specified.   




Special consideration will be given to students whose normal progress has been adversely affected by medical or other problems which have impacted on his/her academic performance.  Documentary evidence of these special circumstances must be provided to the College by the student’s parents/guardians no later than 4.00 pm on Monday 10 May 2021. 


This evidence must include: 

i. precise details of this problem, with independent evidence to corroborate its existence and its effect on the student’s academic performance; 

ii. if the problem is of a medical nature, appropriate medical certificate(s).  In particular, where a medical problem was one of short duration which affected the student during examinations, the College will require production of evidence that the student was examined by a medical practitioner in relation to the illness at the time of the examination; 

iii. if it exists, evidence of the student’s academic performance in Years 8, 9 and 10; 

iv. if appropriate, accredited assessments, including assessments by qualified educational psychologists. 


In the event of not being able to separate applicant students down to the last available place the Admissions Sub-Criteria listed below will apply in the order given. 




The Board of Governors reserves the right to require such supplementary evidence as it may determine to support or verify information on any application/transfer form. 


The provision of false or incorrect information or the failure to provide verifying documents by the required deadlines may result in either the withdrawal of a place or the inability of the College to offer a place. 




Priority will be given to applications stating Portadown College as 1st preference. 


The number of places to be made available for each of the Contributory Junior High Schools will be based on the academic attainment of the students from each school who have applied for admission to Portadown College. The 2021 allocation will have regard to the allocation of places in Year 11 in previous years.  


A. Contributory Junior High Schools 


In the event of there being more applications on behalf of students attending any one particular Junior High School than places available for students from that school, the Board of Governors will select students on the basis of the overall examination score and rank order (highest to lowest).  


This selection will be based on the academic evidence provided to Portadown College.  Academic evidence will be taken from the Christmas Year 10 assessments and Year 10 Transfer examinations.  In a contingency situation, academic evidence will be taken from continuous Year 10 assessment and/or standardised data as generated by the Contributory Junior High Schools.  This academic evidence must be provided to the College no later than 4.00 pm on Friday 7 May 2021. It is incumbent on parents/guardians to ensure that this academic evidence is provided in writing by the Junior High School to the College within the timescales indicated in these published criteria which have been approved by the Board of Governors.  


The College will use the same source of academic evidence for all students applying from that Contributory Junior High School in determining the rank order of applicants from that School to ensure equal treatment of all within that cohort of candidates. 


B. Schools other than Contributory Junior High Schools 


Up to 5 places are available to students attending schools other than the Contributory Junior High Schools. The Board of Governors will select students on the basis of an assessment of evidence made available to it of previous academic attainment and suitability of the education on offer at Portadown College. Students will be 

selected on the basis of a rank order (highest to lowest) established through inspection of the academic evidence provided. Any unfilled places will be redistributed to the Contributory Junior High Schools. 


Evidence of academic attainment of students not attending one of the Contributory Junior High Schools must be provided to the College no later than 4.00 pm on Friday 7 May 2021. 






Year      2018/2019 

Admissions No      205

Number of Applications      257

Total Admission      207


Year      2019/20 

Admissions No      210

Number of Applications      257

Total Admission      212


Year      2020/21 

Admissions No      221

Number of Applications      279

Total Admission      222



The College does not operate a Waiting List Policy. 




Consideration can only be given where places are available at the time of application. 


Given that GCSE courses are of two years’ duration, applications for admission to Year 12 will only be considered if the courses taken by the applicant in his/her previous school are compatible with those on offer in Portadown College. 




Students wishing to transfer to Portadown College for Sixth Form Courses should contact the Principal.  Interested students are invited to view the virtual Open Night on the Portadown College website ( from Wednesday 20 January 2021.   Students wishing to register their interest in Sixth Form should contact the College Office (tel: 028 38332439 or email: by Friday 25 June 2021. 


Admission will be based on: 

(a) Evidence of academic attainment based on externally validated examinations.  A minimum of 3 Grade B and 5 Grade C*/C GCSE passes are required (“the Minimum Academic Criteria”).  

(b) Availability of places in chosen subjects or courses.   


The admissions criteria for admission after GCSE will be applied by the Principal on behalf of the Board of Governors.   


Students who are currently attending the College and who have attained the Minimum Academic Criteria will be offered places in preference to students from other schools. 


Students from other schools who meet the minimum criteria will be offered places on the basis of rank order of achievement in descending order based on total points (i.e. based on GCSE grades, or their numerical equivalences, where A* = 4 points, A = 3 points, B = 2 points, C* = 1.5 points, C = 1 point) and their entry is subject to places being available and/or the Principal requesting additional places from DENI with the support of the Education Authority. 


Applications from students with qualifications other than GCSE will be assessed on the basis of GCSE equivalence where possible. 


Portadown College criteria for any extra places made available by the Department of Education for admission into Year 13 (Sixth Form) 


The Department of Education may, on request, increase the number of students that the College can admit to its Year 13.  Places that become available in this way shall be allocated only to students who meet the basic eligibility criteria to be applied in the order set down. 


1. Students who have most recently completed Year 12 in Portadown College. 


2. Students from other schools where admission to an extra place at Portadown College has been agreed by the Department of Education.* 


*Parents/guardians 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 student to enrol.  DE will first check whether there is another school or schools of a type suitable for that student within an hour’s journey of where the student 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 student wishes to pursue.  If these checks find that no other suitable school may provide all of the post-16 courses that the student 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 student? To determine this, DE first considers all schools to be one of 4 types: (i) Denominational (ii) Non-denominational (iii) Integrated and (iv) Irish-Medium.  A school requesting an extra place for a post-16 student will belong to one of these 4 types and DE will consider any other school or schools from this type as suitable for the student.  DE will also consider as suitable for the students any school from the same type as the type of school that the student attended in Year 12. 




Should there be more applications at any time than places available the following sub-criteria will be applied to identify the students to be admitted in the following order:- 


1.  Sibling in attendance at Portadown College. 

2.   Children who, at the time of application, are the eldest child of the family eligible to apply. 

3.   Sibling previously attended Portadown College. 

4.  Initial letter of surname (as entered on birth certificate) in the order set out below:- 

M Y K T S L Mac Z Q O G N A Mc I H F V P R W D B C U J X E  

5.  In the event of surnames beginning with the same initial letter, the subsequent letters of the surname will be used in alphabetical order.  In the event of two identical surnames, the alphabetical order of the letters of the forenames (as entered on birth certificate) will be used. 

6.   If applicants are still tied after this then priority will be determined amongst them by a method of computerised random selection capable of leaving a clear audit trail. 


Force Majeure 


In appropriate circumstances, the College will give due consideration to any circumstances which it feels qualifies for force majeure. 

** 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.**

bottom of page