top of page

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.

Sacred Heart Grammar School Newry



10 Ashgrove Avenue 


BT34 1PR 

Telephone:  028 3026 4632 



Principal:  Mr Paul Kane 

Chairperson of the Board of Governors:  Mrs Posey Gilsenan 

Girls Voluntary Grammar

Age Range:                        11 – 18 

Admissions Number:             120  

Enrolment Number:               875                



Due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, Sacred Heart Grammar School is unable to host its annual Open Evening.  

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

Further information about the School, including a virtual tour, will be available at  

 To Parents/Guardians naming Sacred Heart Grammar School  as a Preference on their child’s Transfer Form/Application 


  A Capital Fee (currently £75) is reviewed annually. 

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.  Where this policy refers to the decision taken by the Board of Governors, it is with reference to the work of the Subcommittee set up by the Board, with its full approval and subject to its final ratification. 



Sacred Heart Grammar School, Newry, is a Catholic grammar school for girls. This School normally accepts girls who are academically suited for the type of education it offers and whose parents/guardians are in agreement with the philosophy and aims of the School.

Sacred Heart Grammar School previously used the outcomes of the 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 light of Covid-19 circumstances and for one year only, that academic admissions criteria would not be used for the academic year 2021-22.

In the continuing pandemic, the Board of Governors have decided that academic admissions criteria would not be used for one further year only. As a result, Sacred Heart Grammar School will not use outcomes from the 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. The School’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. Sacred Heart 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 detailed on or attached to the Transfer Application. Parents/Guardians should therefore ensure that all information pertaining to their child and relevant to the school’s admission criteria is both complete and accurate and that this is stated on the Transfer Application or included as an attachment. Examples of such information include whether the child has a sibling (state name of sibling) at the school. A copy of the child’s birth certificate or court order establishing legal guardianship should be attached to the Transfer Application.

(Please note: In accordance with the 1997 Education Northern Ireland Order (Section 16 (4)), Sacred Heart Grammar School has been directed by regulations 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 Sacred Heart Grammar School.

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

(i) Girls who, at the date of their application, have another girl of the family attending the School or have been selected for admission to the School in the coming school year.

(ii) Girls who are the eldest* or only child of the family to transfer to mainstream secondary education.

*The following applicants will also be considered as eldest child:

(A) where a family has moved their permanent place of residence so that a child who is not the eldest child of the family is the first child of that family to have the practical opportunity to apply to the School. Evidence must be provided that the pupil lived at least thirty miles from the School and hence it would not have been practical to attend Sacred Heart Grammar School.

(B) where the eldest child of a family attends a non-mainstream school and the child applying is the next eldest sibling eligible to apply.

Note: Twins, triplets, etc. will be entitled to recognition as ‘eldest’ in family if twins, triplets, etc. are the first born to a family.

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

Tie Breaker Criteria:

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 identified on the birth certificate or court order establishing legal guardianship submitted as part of the 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 applicant’s name (as identified on the birth certificate or court order establishing legal guardianship submitted as part of 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 identified on the birth certificate or court order establishing legal guardianship submitted as part of 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. [Each letter of the alphabet will be given a 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.

Tie Breaker Criteria for 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.

Verification of All Information

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 appended/uploaded to 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 the Board of Governors 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 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 30th June 2023. The school will contact the parents/guardians in writing if their child gains a place in the school by this method.

A child’s name will be automatically added to the list. Parents/guardians should contact the school if they wish for their child’s name to be removed from the list.

If oversubscribed in Year 8 after the School admissions number has been met, the School may approach DE to request a Temporary Variation for additional places, subject to capacity to facilitate those students within existing school accommodation.


Year   2019/20 

Admissions Number   120 

Total Applications All Preferences   175 

Total Admissions   124* 

Year   2020/21 

Admissions Number   120 

Total Applications All Preferences  124 

Total Admissions   120*

Year   2021/22

Admissions Number   120

Total Applications All Preferences   192

Total Admissions    121*

*includes Appeals and Statemented Pupils


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.**

bottom of page