NI Grammar School Admission criteria for
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.
St Marys Grammar School Magherafelt
St Mary’s Grammar School Magherafelt
3 Castledawson Road
Telephone: (028) 7963 2320
Principal: Mr F Dunlop (Acting)
Chairperson of the Board of Governors: Mrs AM Campbell
Voluntary Grammar School (Denominational)
Age Range of pupils: 11-18
Admissions No: 153
Enrolment No: 1070
Due to Covid-19, we are unable to showcase our school through the usual Open Evenings.
A virtual tour and school prospectus are available on our website www.stmarysmagherafelt.com
To Parents/Guardians naming St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt as a preference on your child’s on-line Transfer Application
Entrance Assessment Results
St Mary’s Grammar School will give preference to, (apart from those who qualify for either the Special Circumstances or Special Provision procedures), those applicants awarded a Standardised Age Score by GL in completing the GL Entrance Assessment on Saturday 13 November 2021 or the Supplementary GL Entrance Assessment on Saturday 11 December 2021.
Please ensure that you provide the following information on your child’s on-line Transfer Application:
• The name of the Assessment Centre where your child sat the GL Entrance Assessment.
• The combined, Standardised Age Score provided by GL Assessment for your child (and attach a copy of the statement of results to the on-line Transfer Application).
• Any parent/guardian claiming Special Circumstances must submit an initial claim for Special Circumstances (SCR Form) at the Assessment Centre where your child sat his/her GL Entrance Assessment by 2.00 pm on Wednesday 15 December 2021. Independent evidence in support of Special Circumstances is not required to be produced at this stage.
• This documentation, together with the independent, verifiable documentary evidence which corroborates the Special Circumstances claim, must be attached to the on-line Transfer Application along with a completed SC1 Form.
Further details on Special Circumstances can be found in Point (2).
Claims for Special Provision (SP1 Form) should be attached to the on-line Transfer Application and registered directly with St Mary’s Grammar School by 4.00pm, Wednesday 23 February 2022. Further details on Special Provision can be found in Point (3).
Provisions for COVID-19 Disruption
If the GL Entrance Assessment takes place but at the time of the GL Assessment and Supplementary Assessment, an applicant who is entered/registered to sit the assessment is unable to sit either of these assessments due to COVID-19 reasons, the applicant may apply under Special Provision (Point 3d) to sit a Special Provision Assessment. See Point (3) for further details on Special Provision.
Parents are requested to make an annual voluntary contribution of £100 per pupil, up to a maximum of £200 per family, to help develop existing facilities. This should be paid by October of each year. Charges for educational trips/visits will be made according to DE regulations. In addition, there is a £20 stationery fee.
ADMISSION CRITERIA FOR ENTRY INTO YEAR 8
The Board of Governors draws up the Admissions Criteria and delegates to the Principal and a Selection Committee the responsibility of applying the criteria.
1. NOTES OF INFORMATION
a) In accordance with DENI regulations, all children resident in Northern Ireland at the time of their proposed admission will be selected for admission before any child not so resident may be selected.
b) It is the sole responsibility of the parents/guardians of prospective pupils to ensure that all information relevant to the Admissions Criteria of St Mary’s Grammar School is submitted either on the on-line Transfer Application or uploaded to that Application at the time of submission. Only evidence submitted either on the on-line Transfer Application or attached to the Application at the time of submission shall be considered by the Board of Governors in the allocation of a place.
c) The GL Entrance Assessment will incorporate a standardised assessment in English and Mathematics. Further information on the GL Entrance Assessment is available on the school website (www.stmarysmagherafelt.com) or directly from the school. The Board of Governors will initially consider applications for a place in St Mary’s Grammar School for entry to Year 8 in September 2022 from pupils who have completed the GL Entrance Assessment and have been awarded or assigned a Standardised Age Score pursuant to the application of the Special Circumstances or Special Provision procedures and will admit pupils based on Standardised Age Score achieved in the assessment or otherwise awarded.
2. SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
Special Circumstances allow for a post-assessment adjustment or provision of a Standardised Age Score to an applicant who is eligible for consideration.
Special Circumstances usually refers to the claim that, as a result of medical or other problems, a pupil’s performance in the Entrance Assessment was adversely affected. Special Circumstances should be sought only where events on the day of the assessment or factors unknown at the time are considered to have directly influenced the outcome on the day of the GL Assessment. Information relating to making a claim for Special Circumstances can be obtained from the school website (www.stmarysmagherafelt.com and follow the link to 'Special Circumstances Pack’) or directly from the school.
A notification of a claim for Special Circumstances must be made using the SCR Form by 2.00 pm on Wednesday 15 December 2021. Independent evidence in support of Special Circumstances is not required to be produced at this stage.
It is the responsibility of parents/guardians to ensure that such claims and all independent, verifiable documentary evidence which corroborates the Special Circumstances claim, must be attached to the on-line Transfer Application along with a completed SC1 Form.
Details of Medical or Other Problems
Where it is claimed that a pupil’s performance in the GL Entrance Assessment has been affected by a medical or other problem, independent evidence of its existence must be provided to the school. Where the problem is a medical one, of short-term duration, which affected the pupil only at the time of the GL Entrance Assessment, the school will require the production of evidence that the pupil was examined by a medical practitioner, in relation to the illness, at the time of the GL Entrance Assessment. Where the problem is of a non-medical nature, the parents/guardians must set out the precise details of the problem and append any appropriate, independent evidence to corroborate its existence, to the Transfer Application.
Sufficient objective documentary evidence must be provided by the parents/guardians applying for Special Circumstances and accompany the on-line Transfer Application, and verified by the primary school to enable the Board of Governors to reach a decision.
At the time of completing the on-line Transfer Application, details of the Special Circumstances and independent supporting evidence must be provided and attached to the on-line Transfer Application.
The following information should be provided on Form SC1:
Records of the results of all available Key Stage 2 CAT4 (verbal and quantitative) and/or PTE/PTM results. These must be verifiable and must be signed off by the Primary School Principal. The verified results must be attached to the on-line Transfer Application.
All other test results should be accompanied by the name of the standardised test supplier, and be dated and verified by the primary school (eg signature of Principal, school stamp/headed notepaper);
Any other relevant educational material from the primary school;
The primary school’s comments on the pupil’s academic achievements in relation to the standardised tests taken during Key Stage 2.
The Board of Governors will, when considering the weight to be given to submitted evidence, consider standardised test results as ranking in priority to other submitted evidence.
The Board of Governors may decide in relation to an applicant claiming Special Circumstances, that the Standardised Age Score which the applicant in fact achieved in the GL Assessment is the Standardised Age Score which the applicant would have achieved if the applicant had sat the GL Assessment under normal circumstances. Once a decision has been made the applicant will be considered alongside all other applicants who have been awarded a Standardised Age Score or received a Standardised Age Score equivalent and the admissions criteria applied. Applicants considered under Special Circumstances will be judged on the evidence made available to the school using the school’s protocol which is available on request to parents/guardians whose claims for special circumstances have been registered and accepted.
General Note on Special Circumstances
It is emphasised that the onus is on the parents/guardians to ensure that the above information is provided by the primary school. Failure to provide such information may result in St Mary’s being unable to consider the application for Special Circumstances. Parents/guardians have a statutory right to request and obtain information on their child. Further information on the rights to access pupil records is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office or from the following website: http://www.ico.org.uk
For further information, please refer to the following policy documents: ‘Post Primary Transfer Consortium Entrance Assessment Access Arrangements’ and ‘Claiming Special Circumstances: A Guide for Parents and Guardians of Children who have taken the GL Entrance Assessment’. The guidance documentation is available from St Mary’s or can be downloaded from our website www.stmarysmagherafelt.com
3. SPECIAL PROVISION
Special provision may be made by the Board of Governors for children:
a) who are transferring from primary schools outside Northern Ireland.
b) who have received more than half of their primary education outside Northern Ireland.
c) whose educational provision to date has been negatively affected by serious medical or other problems, which is supported by independent, verifiable documentary evidence and who have not taken the GL Assessment or its Supplementary Assessment.
d) who were entered for the GL Assessment and it took place, but the applicant was unable to sit either the GL Assessment or Supplementary Assessment due to COVID-19 reasons.
It is the responsibility of the parents/guardians to provide precise reasons why the applicant did not take part in the GL Entrance Assessment or Supplementary Assessment and to submit appropriate documentary evidence attached to the on-line Transfer Application.
The Board of Governors may require a suitably qualified person or body approved by St Mary’s to make an assessment of the applicant’s ability. This will be known as the Special Provision Assessment.
The Board of Governors, within the operation of its admission criteria, will decide whether these children should be admitted on the basis that they fall within the ability range of other pupils being admitted in that year.
Parents/Guardians wishing to claim Special Provision should complete a SP1 Form, available from school website (www.stmarysmagherafelt.com), stating the case for eligibility under this category, and attach to the pupil’s on-line Transfer Application. A copy of the completed SP1 Form should also be submitted to St Mary’s Grammar School by 4.00pm on Wednesday 23 February 2022.
The Board of Governors will consider each application for Special Provision. Where this is granted, the Board of Governors will:
contact parents/guardians of the applicant;
arrange a date and time for the applicant to sit the above assessment in St Mary’s.
The result of the test will be converted to a Standardised Age Score.
When the Standardised Age Score has been assigned parents will be informed.
Where St Mary’s is not your first preference school and you have sat a Special Provision Assessment in another school, St Mary’s will use the results of that Special Provision Assessment in the Special Provision Procedure.
If applicants in categories a) and b) above wish to take the GL Entrance Assessment or the supplementary assessment, the GL Entrance Assessment Standardised Age Score obtained will be considered.
Such applicants will then be considered with all other applicants who have received a GL Entrance Assessment Standardised Age Score and the admissions criteria applied.
4. ADMISSIONS PROCEDURE
Applicants claiming Special Circumstances or Special Provision will be considered first. The Board of Governors will assign, on the basis of the information available, an appropriate Standardised Age Score equivalence for these applicants.
Once this process is completed, pupils will be placed in a single list based on their combined, Standardised Age Scores in the Entrance Assessment or otherwise awarded. Those with the highest score will be at the top of the list, which will, therefore, be in rank order of merit. On the basis of this rank order, pupils will be admitted up to the school's admission number of 153.
In the event of equal combined Standardised Age Scores, then the criteria set out below from (a) to (e) will be applied, in sequence, to allocate the final place(s):
(a) Children who, at the date of application, have a child of the family currently enrolled at the school;
(b) Children: -
(i) who at the date of their application, are the eldest of the family to be eligible to apply for admission to the school; or
(ii) where a child of the family is more than 7 years younger than their next sibling (the name and date of birth of next eldest sibling must be provided if more than 7 years’ difference; or
(iii) where a family has moved 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; or
(iv) where the eldest child of a family attends a non-mainstream school and the child applying is the next eldest sibling;
(c) Children selected on the basis of age with the eldest candidate being selected first, established by date of birth as entered on a birth certificate (a copy of the child’s birth certificate must be uploaded with the online Transfer Application if the applicant was not registered for the GL Entrance Assessment with St Mary’s GS, Magherafelt).
(d) In the event of two or more children having the same date of birth, children will be selected for admission on the basis of initial letter(s) of surname (as entered on birth certificate) in the order set out below:
L Z H N P R X V T F J B D G E O C S M Q A Y U W I K
This order was determined by random selection.
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 initials of the forenames will be used.
(e) If children are tied after application of admissions criteria (a) – (d), final selection will be made on the basis of a computer-based process.
The process is carried out by means of a computer program which, for each applicant, generates a ranking number using the details from the on-line Transfer Application as the seed for a random number generator. The ranking number for any given applicant, is dependent on the applicant’s name (as written on the on-line Transfer Application). Applicants with the lowest ranking numbers will be given places up to the number of places available.
In the event that places remain, after those who have taken the Entrance Assessment have been admitted, then remaining places will be allocated using the above criteria (4a-e) in sequence, until the final place has been allocated. This includes children who have not taken the Entrance Assessment required by the school.
When considering which children should be selected for admission, the Board of Governors will only take into account information which is detailed on or attached to the online Transfer Application. Parents/Guardians should ensure that all information pertaining to their child and relevant to the school’s admission criteria is stated on the on-line Transfer Application or attached to it.
DUTY TO VERIFY
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 on-line 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.
WAITING LIST POLICY
Should a vacancy arise after 21 May 2022, all applications for admission to Year 8 that were not placed, 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 2023. The school will contact you 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.
Number of Applications and Admissions
Admissions No. 153
Total Applications All Preferences 186
Total Admissions 161*
Admissions No. 153
Total Applications All Preferences 196
Total Admissions 164*
Admissions No. 153
Total Applications All Preferences 216
Total Admissions 175*
* Additional places granted
This table does not include children who were admitted to the school with a statement of special educational needs.
ENTRY TO YEARS 9-12
Those wishing to apply for entry to Years 9-12 must make a formal application each year using the School Application Form and provide the two most recent reports from their present and any previous schools. Full details, including the School Application Form, may be obtained by
** 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.**