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.
188 Belmont Road
Telephone No: 028 9047 1595
Fax No: 028 9065 0555
Principal: Mrs N Connery MEd BA PQH(NI)
Chair of Board of Governors: Mrs L Mallon LLB
Voluntary Grammar School
Age Range: 11-18
Admission No: 110
Enrolment No: 770
A virtual open morning video and prospectus will be placed on the school website.
To: Parents / Guardians naming Strathearn School as a preference on their daughter’s Transfer Application.
Entrance Test Results
Strathearn School intends to use the age standardised score (“the Score”) as awarded by the Association for Quality Education (AQE) in the Common Entrance Assessment (CEA). The Score in the AQE CEA and the AQE Candidate number should both be entered in Section C of the Transfer Application. The original notification received from AQE indicating your daughter’s AQE CEA Score should be attached to the Transfer Form.
Special Provisions and/or Special Circumstances
If you are making a claim for your daughter to be considered under Special Circumstances or Special Provisions, please read carefully the information given in the relevant sections below and act accordingly.
RESPECTIVE FUNCTIONS OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS AND PRINCIPAL IN RELATION TO ADMISSIONS TO THE SCHOOL
The Admissions Criteria given below have been drawn up and approved by the Board of Governors; their application has been delegated to the Principal.
ADMISSIONS CRITERIA YEAR 8 2022-2023
Strathearn (the ‘School’) is an all girls grammar school offering a wide-ranging curriculum of academic courses. The School will initially consider only those applicants who have taken the Common Entrance Assessment (CEA) provided by the Association for Quality Education (AQE). The School will use the Score as awarded by AQE to an applicant in the CEA subject only to the consideration by the Board of Governors of those applicants claiming Special Circumstances or Special Provisions as explained below. Information on the CEA is available from the School or the AQE website (www.aqe.org.uk).
The Score in the AQE CEA and the AQE Candidate number should both be entered on the Transfer Application. The original notification received from AQE indicating your daughter’s AQE CEA Score should be scanned into the Transfer Application. This information will be verified by the School.
Strathearn will not use as a criterion the position of preference given to the School by the applicant on the Transfer Application. Therefore, a girl who has listed Strathearn as a second or subsequent preference school will be considered in the same way as those who have placed Strathearn first on the list.
Girls resident in Northern Ireland at the time of their proposed admission to the School will be selected for admission before any girl not so resident.
1 The first 100 places from the admissions total of 110 will be allocated to girls on the basis of the rank order of their respective Scores; those achieving higher Scores being allocated places before those with lower Scores. If more than one girl is eligible for the 100th place because they have equal Scores, then all such girls will be allocated places up to the School’s admission number, using, if necessary, the criteria listed in 4 below.
2 Following the allocation of places as described in criterion 1, a pool (the ‘Pool’) will be established and the remaining places (if any) shall be allocated from the Pool.
The Pool will consist of at least 15 girls identified on the basis of the rank order of their respective Scores. The Pool will include all girls who achieved the three next highest Scores. If the number of girls achieving these Scores is less than 15, then all girls achieving the fourth next highest Score shall be included in the Pool and, if necessary, the fifth next highest Score and so on, until the Pool consists of at least 15 girls.
Once the Pool has been established, girls from the Pool will be allocated to the remaining places on application of the criteria listed in 4 below.
3 If, following the application of criteria 1 and 2 above, all the available places have not been filled, the School will consider for admission any girls who have not taken the CEA. Allocation of the remaining places will be made by applying the criteria listed in 4 below.
4 If as specified above, the number of applications exceeds the number of available places, or point 3 above applies, the following further criteria will then apply, in the order stated:
(i) girls enrolled in the School’s Preparatory Department as of 1 September 2020;
(ii) girls with a child of the family1 currently enrolled in the School’s Secondary Department (details to be supplied) or accepted for enrolment in September 2022;
(iii) girls who are the eldest child of the family2 in September 2022 (details to be supplied);
(iv) girls with the highest Scores;
(v) girls who are entitled to Free School Meals3;
(vi) girls with a child of the family who has attended the School’s Secondary Department (name and date of attendance to be supplied);
(vii) girls with a child of the family currently enrolled in Years 8 to 14 or accepted for enrolment in September 2022, in Campbell College (details to be supplied);
(viii) if more than one girl is eligible for the final place, priority will be given to the girl whose home is closer to the School. Distance will be measured in a straight line using an Ordnance Survey web distance measurement tool from the front door of the girl’s home to the front entrance of the School’s main administrative building. Home will be taken to mean the girl’s address appearing at the commencement of the Transfer Application Form.
1 for the purposes of the Admissions Criteria, the phrase “child of the family” covers: a child born to a married couple or to a couple in a civil partnership; a child born to a co-habiting couple; a child born to a single parent; a child of either/any of those people by a previous marriage, civil partnership or relationship; a child living with a couple who has been treated as a “child of the family” whether there is a civil partnership or not; a child living with an individual, who has been treated as a “child of the family”; an adopted or fostered child; a situation where, for example, an orphaned cousin is being brought up with a family or individual.
2 eldest child [eligible for admission]” will mean the eldest or only girl in the family, with each twin or each multiple being regarded as an eldest child. The ‘eldest child’ criterion will also apply in the case where a family has not had the opportunity to enrol an elder daughter, such as the case where the elder daughter has completed her post-primary education, could not attend a mainstream school (eg attends a special school) or where the family has relocated to Northern Ireland.
3 entitled to Free School Meals” will mean girls who are listed on the Education Authority register as entitled to Free School Meals at the date on which their parent or guardian has signed their post-primary Transfer Application, or at any date up to and including Wednesday 9 March 2022, no later than 4pm.
The School emphasises that it is the responsibility of the applicants to notify the School on the Application Form where the above criteria apply, and to furnish relevant details.
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 Transfer/Application Form.
To this end, the School will adhere to the Department of Education’s verification procedures (Circular 2011/20) which state:
‘The provision of false or incorrect information or the failure to provide information within the deadlines set by schools can result in the withdrawal of a place and the inability to offer a place on the part of any school nominated on the applicant’s Transfer Form’
‘If you state within your application that your child is currently registered as Free School Meal Entitled, and that claim is decisive in qualifying her for admission, then that information will be verified. If it is found to be incorrect, then any place offered because of it will be withdrawn.’
Strathearn School has academic performance as its first criterion, subject only to the consideration of medical or other problems which may have affected performance in the Common Entrance Assessment (CEA) and which are supported by documentary evidence of a medical or other appropriate nature. These ‘medical or other problems’ are commonly referred to as ‘Special Circumstances’.
Please note, if a claim for the consideration of Special Circumstances is made in respect of matters for which Special Access arrangements were granted for an applicant, the School will take into account the fact that the applicant was granted Special Access arrangements for those matters.
Parents who wish to apply to the School under Special Circumstances should complete Form SC22 obtainable from the School or AQE and attach it with appropriate documentary evidence to the Transfer Application, as detailed below.
• Details of Medical or Other Problems
Where it is claimed that a applicant’s performance in the CEA has been affected by a medical or other problem, it is the responsibility of the parents to set out in the Form SC22 precise details of the problem and append evidence to corroborate its existence.
- Where the problem is a medical one of short term duration which affected the applicant only at the time of the CEA, the School will give greater weight to evidence that the applicant was examined by a medical practitioner in relation to the illness at the time of the assessments.
- Where the problem is of a non-medical nature the parents should append appropriate evidence.
It should be noted that in all cases independent evidence will carry greater weight.
• Educational Evidence
It is the responsibility of the parents to provide the educational evidence as detailed in the Form SC22. This should include (where they exist):
- the Score awarded in the Common Entrance Assessment (if the child sat two or three AQE CEA papers) or the Raw Score awarded by AQE in the CEA, where only one paper was taken because of illness, self-isolation or other unforeseen circumstances;
- the results for the applicant of any standardised tests conducted in Year 5, Year 6 and Year 7 and the results in any end of year tests in English and Mathematics in Years 5 and 6; additional comparative information from the Primary School for other pupils in the applicant’s Year 7 class (without names) and which should include the results of any standardised tests conducted in Year 5, Year 6 and Year 7, the results in any end of year tests in English and Mathematics in Years 5 and 6, and, where available, the respective CEA scores.
A panel of Governors will consider the application for Special Circumstances and where accepted, the panel will determine a score for the applicant. In determining a score, the panel will consider all of the academic information presented, and, if necessary, comparative data collected by the School. Such applicants will then be considered with all other applicants who have received a CEA score and the admissions criteria applied.
Special provisions will apply for:
a) applicants whose parents wish them to transfer from schools outside Northern Ireland;
b) applicants who have received more than half their primary education outside Northern Ireland;
c) applicants, entered for the AQE Common Entrance Assessment, who because of unforeseen and serious medical or other problems (including, without limitations absence for all three CEAs due to COVID-19 or the need to isolate for all three CEA’s due to COVID-19, supported by appropriate documentary evidence), were unable to sit in any of the papers.
Note: It is expected that all those seeking admission should sit the AQE CEA, with the exception of those applicants who take up residence in Northern Ireland after the start of the Year 7.
Parents who wish to apply to the School under Special Provisions should contact the School as soon as possible. In addition they should complete Form SP22, obtainable from the School or AQE, stating the precise reason why they believe their daughter is eligible for consideration under Special Provisions and provide appropriate independent documentary evidence including any Educational Evidence as detailed under Special Circumstances above and that might assist the panel determine an appropriate score. A copy of SP22 and all the documentary evidence should be attached to the Transfer Form.
For those applicants whose parents wish them to transfer from schools outside Northern Ireland, applications for Special Provisions should be received by the School by 9 March 2022, no later than 4pm.
A panel of Governors will consider the application for Special Provisions. Where Special Provisions are accepted, the following procedure will apply:
a) the School will consider any assessment information and may choose to commission an independent assessment of the applicant’s ability in English, Mathematics and/or Verbal Reasoning;
b) a panel of Governors will determine an appropriate score for the applicants. In determining a score, the panel will consider all the academic information available, and, if necessary, comparative data collected by the School. The applicant will then be considered with all other applicants who have received a CEA score and the admissions criteria applied.
Strathearn School operates a waiting lists policy. For Year 8, all applications for admission to Year 8 that were initially refused will be automatically added to the waiting list. New applications, late applications and applications where new information has been provided will also be added to the waiting list. This waiting list will be in place until the end of the following academic year, that is, the end of Year 8. Please contact the school if you wish your daughter’s name to be removed from the list.
Should a vacancy arise after the day placement letters have issued from the Education Authority, the published
Admissions criteria for entry September 2022
Updated January 2022 www.eani.org.uk/admissions
criteria will be applied to the waiting list to select the next candidate for admission.
Waiting lists are also maintained for other Years and applications should be made in writing using the form available on the School website or from reception.
Applications and Admissions
Admissions No 120~
Total Applications ie. All preferences 157
Admissions No 122*
Admissions No 120~
Total Applications ie. All preferences 167
Admissions No 121*
Admissions No 120~
Total Applications ie. All preferences 212
Admissions No 125*
~Includes a Temporary Variation
*Includes statemented pupils, those admitted under appeal or at the direction of the ‘Exceptional Circumstances Body’
ADMISSIONS CRITERIA FOR ENTRY TO FORMS 2-5
Years 2-5 ADMISSION
1. Admission to Forms 2-5 will be governed by the availability of places within that year group, class sizes including practical class sizes and the School’s planned allocation and usage of staff, accommodation and other resources. Admission to the School will depend on the applicant’s ability to benefit from the academic and creative life of the School.
2. In the case of applicants from other post-primary schools, the Board of Governors will give preference to girls on the basis of academic achievement. Academic achievement will be judged with reference to the transfer grade/score (if there was one) and evidence of academic achievement and pastoral information from the current school’s reports.
3. In the event of being oversubscribed with applicants for any year group the following criteria will apply:
I. Academic Record (AQE/ GL Score, examination results, current school’s reports)
II. Applicant attended the Preparatory Department of the School
III. Sister of the applicant attends or attended the School
IV. Applicant is the first born girl in the family
V. Sister of the applicant is accepted for the secondary department of the School for the forthcoming academic year
The Admissions Criteria have been drawn up and approved by the Board of Governors; their application has been delegated to the Principal.
ADMISSIONS CRITERIA FOR ENTRY TO POST 16 (Sixth Form)
Strathearn will give preference to pupils on the basis of academic achievement. Academic achievement will be judged with reference to:
• the grades achieved in GCSEs*
• the relevance of the subjects taken
• information from recent school reports.
*The minimum required for entry into the Sixth Form will be seven passes in relevant GCSE subjects at grades A* to C with at least four passes at grade B (English Examination Board Equivalent 6) or better. Relevant subjects will include no more than one Short Course GCSE and excluding Learning for Life and Work.
If there are more girls who are eligible than there are places available, places shall be awarded in the following order:
1. Applicants with the highest total GCSE point score in relevant4 GCSE subjects – an applicant’s GCSE point score will be calculated on the basis of grades in full course GCSE and no more than one Short Course GCSE (excluding Learning for Life and Work) as follows
English Examination Boards 9
CCEA / WJEC A*
Point Score/Full Course 4
Point Score/Short Course 2
English Examination Boards 8/7
CCEA / WJEC A
Point Score/Full Course 3
Point Score/Short Course 1.5
English Examination Boards 6
CCEA / WJEC B
Point Score/Full Course 2
Point Score/Short Course 1
English Examination Boards 5
CCEA / WJEC C*
Point Score/Full Course 1.5
Point Score/Short Course 0.75
English Examination Boards 4
CCEA / WJEC C
Point Score/Full Course 1
Point Score/Short Course 0.5
2. In the event of a tie, priority will be given to the girl whose home is closer to the School. Distance will be measured in a straight line using an Ordnance Survey web distance measurement tool from the front door of the girl’s home to the School’s Reception. Home will be taken to mean the girl’s address appearing on the Application Form.
Applicants applying from outside Northern Ireland and who are seeking a Boarding Place at Campbell College must satisfy the School that their academic achievement is equivalent to the standard set out above. In addition, pupils for whom English is an additional language have to complete a CEFR B2 Level assessment for entry into Sixth Form. A score of 60% is required for the candidate to be considered.
The Admissions Criteria have been drawn up and approved by the Board of Governors; their application has been delegated to the Principal.
Criteria for any extra places made available by the Department of Education for admission into Sixth Form (Year 13).
The Department of Education may, at the School’s request, increase the number of pupils that the School can
(4 Relevant Subjects are those offered at AS/ A2 Level in Strathearn School, and / or deemed by the School to provide suitable preparation to undertake an AS/A2 level course offered in Strathearn.)
admit to its 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 (as above) and shall be allocated in the order determined by the criteria to be applied in the following order:
1. Pupils who have most recently completed Year 12 in Strathearn.
2. Pupils who are applying from outside NI and who are seeking a Boarding place at Campbell College.
3. Pupils from other schools where admission to an extra place at Strathearn 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 a type suitable 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 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: (1) denominational (2) non-denominational (3) Integrated and (4) 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 school 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.
Requirements for Upper Sixth (Year 14)
Pupils will be admitted to Upper Sixth (Year 14) who have shown by their academic progress and positive attitude to date that they will benefit from the educational provision available in Strathearn in Sixth Form.
Appeals procedure If a pupil does not meet the entry requirements and wishes to make an appeal and/or claim special circumstances, he/she may make an appeal to the Board of Governors. This appeal should be supported by documentary evidence of a medical or other appropriate nature. When considering such appeals, the Governors will take account of a pupil’s commitment to the school (e.g. attendance and behaviour) as one of the criteria they use in arriving at a decision.
** 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.**