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.
Wellington College Belfast
WELLINGTON COLLEGE BELFAST
18 Carolan Road
Belfast BT7 3HE
Telephone No: 028 9064 2539
Fax No: 028 9069 3736
Principal: Mr D Castles, MA (Oxon), MBA, PGCE
Chair of Board of Governors: Ms W Fee
Controlled Grammar College Co-educational
Age Range: 11-18
Admission No: 110
Enrolment No: 770
A virtual Open Event for will be held for P7 pupils and families.
The College prospectus is available electronically on our website, or in hard copy by request.
To Parents/Guardians naming Wellington College Belfast (hereinafter referred to as ‘the College’) as a preference on your child’s Transfer Application.
Entrance Assessment Results
Wellington College Belfast will consider the outcome of a pupil’s performance in either the GL assessment operated by PPTC or the AQE common entrance assessment.
Please ensure that you provide the following information on your child’s Transfer Application:
• The candidate number(s) issued to your child by AQE and/or GL when you registered for the assessment;
• An original copy of the results issued by AQE and/or GL (or both where an applicant has sat both assessments) must be uploaded with the Transfer Application.
Special Circumstances and/or Special Provisions
Parents/Guardians who wish to apply to the College under Special Circumstances and/or Special Provisions should complete Form SC22 obtainable from AQE or the College and attach it to the Transfer Application with appropriate supporting documentation as outlined in the criteria.
It is the responsibility of Parents/Guardians making a claim for your child to be considered under Special Circumstances or Special Provisions to please ensure that you:
• read carefully the guidance outlined in the following sections of the Admissions criteria;
• present all such documentation that will assist the Board of Governors in determining if Special Circumstances and/or Special Provisions apply;
• upload all such documentation with the Transfer Application.
Duty to Verify
Parents/Guardians should note that they will be required to produce documents verifying information pertinent to the College’s Admissions Criteria. If the documents are not uploaded with the Transfer Application, as detailed below, they will be requested after the notification of a place at the College. Failure to produce objective verifying documentation will result in the withdrawal of a place at the College.
Respective functions of the Board of Governors and Principal in relation to admissions to the College
Wellington College Belfast is a co-educational, non-denominational, controlled grammar school with an Enrolment Number of 770 and an Admissions Number of 110.
The Board of Governors has approved the admissions criteria outlined below and delegated to a Transfer Committee, in conjunction with the Principal, the responsibility of applying these criteria to identify which children are to be admitted to the College. This includes decisions in respect of Special Circumstances and/or Special Provisions.
1. ADMISSIONS CRITERIA FOR ENTRY OF PUPILS TO YEAR 8 SEPTEMBER 2022
Wellington College will not use as a criterion the position of preference given to the College on the Transfer Application; for example a child who has placed the College as a second or subsequent preference school will be treated in the same way as a child who has chosen the College as his or her first preference.
When considering which children should be selected for admission, the Transfer Committee will only take into account information which is detailed on or uploaded with the Transfer Application. It is the responsibility of parents/guardians to make sure that all information pertaining to their child and relevant to the College’s admissions criteria, as outlined below, is stated on or uploaded with the Transfer Application.
The number of places available in Year 8 is limited to the admissions number set by the Department of Education for Northern Ireland and is currently 110 places.
If the number of applications is greater than the Admissions Number determined by the Department of Education, the following criteria (to include sub-criteria) shall be applied in the order listed below until the point where the admissions number is reached.
If there are fewer applicants complying with a particular criterion or sub-criterion than there are places available or remaining, those applicants complying with that criterion or sub-criterion will be admitted and the next criterion or sub-criterion will be applied to the remaining applicants;
If there are more applicants complying with a particular criterion or sub-criterion than there are places available or remaining, those applicants complying with that criterion or sub-criterion will go forward to be considered under the next criterion or sub-criterion and those not complying with that criterion or sub-criterion will be eliminated.
1.1 Children resident in Northern Ireland at the time of their proposed admission will be selected for admission to the College before any child not so resident.
The child’s Birth Certificate and proof of address should be uploaded with the Transfer Application. Proof of address – any TWO of the following recent (within the past 6 months) documents with sensitive information redacted: Bank/building society statement; Utility bill (e.g. electricity, gas, TV licence, landline telephone; Addressed payslip; Letter awarding Child Benefit to the child or another letter relating to this benefit; Mortgage statement; Land and Property Services Rates Demand; Financial statement such as ISA, Pension or Endowment; Current Driving licence; Rental agreement.
1.2 The College will consider applications from those pupils who have taken the entrance assessments anywhere in Northern Ireland provided by AQE and/or GL, subject only to the consideration of those children claiming “Special Provisions”, as defined below. Consideration will also be given to those children claiming “Special Circumstances”, as defined below, in respect of medical or other problems which may have affected performance in the AQE and/or GL Entrance Assessment(s).
The Board of Governors will use the result(s) as awarded by AQE and/or GL to allocate pupils to a Band. Children will be allocated to a Band in the order stated below. All children allocated to Band I will be admitted before those allocated to Band II, Band II before Band III and so forth. There is no requirement that a child should sit both the AQE and GL Entrance Assessments. However, in the case of a child who sits both AQE and GL Entrance Assessments, the College will consider whichever result places the child in the higher Band.
On the Transfer Application, it is the responsibility of parents/guardians to provide details of the Candidate Number issued to their child by AQE and/or GL and the result(s) awarded. Parents/Guardians should attach the original AQE and/or GL result(s) form(s) indicating their child’s AQE and/or GL result(s) to the Transfer Application.
Applicants will be allocated to the Bands below in the following order:
AQE will provide parents with an age adjusted Standardised Score for each applicant who has taken that assessment in Northern Ireland in 2021. The College will use this Standardised Score to allocate pupils to a Band as set out in the table below.
AQE Standardised Score
106 or above
103 - 105
99 - 102
94 - 98
88 - 93
87 or below
GL Assessment will provide the results of the entrance assessment to parents as a Standardised Age Score, a Grade and a Cohort Percentile. The College will use the Cohort Percentile to allocate pupils to a Band as set out in the table below.
GLA Cohort Percentile
60 or above
50 - 59
40 - 49
30 - 39
20 - 29
19 or below
In the event of there being more applicants in any of the above bands than places available, or should any further places remain to be filled, the criteria outlined below will apply in the order stated:
1.3 Children who at the date of their application have a sibling, defined as a child of the family1 currently enrolled at the College (state name(s) and Registration Group(s) on the Transfer Application);
1.4 Children who are the are the eldest2 or only child of the family1 eligible to transfer to a mainstream Post-Primary School (details to be supplied on the Transfer Application).
1 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 marriage or 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 Twins and other multiple birth applicants will be regarded as joint eldest. Eldest ‘child of the family’ eligible to transfer includes cases where the eldest child has completed their post-primary education, the eldest child of a reconstituted family, the eldest child of the family was statemented or attended a special school or where a family has relocated to Northern Ireland.
Proof of eldest child should be uploaded with the Transfer Application – a letter on headed note paper, stating that the child is the eldest eligible child and that the family is known to the verifier, from one of the following who is not a family member of the applicant: a Primary School Principal, a medical practitioner, a solicitor, an elected public representative, a member of the clergy or a police officer.
1.5 Children who are entitled to Free School Meals. ‘Entitled to Free School Meals’ will mean applicants 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 9 March 2022.
1.6 Children who attend a Primary School which is a recognised Feeder School to the College.
A recognised Feeder School is one from which any pupils (including statemented children) have transferred to Wellington College Belfast in the most recent 3 years, excluding 2021. Feeder Schools will be ranked in accordance with the actual number of pupils sent in the most recent 3 years, excluding 2021. This rank order will be used so that those primary schools sending higher numbers of pupils to the College will have precedence. A list of feeder schools is detailed in Note 1.
1.7 Tie-breaker. Children will be ranked for acceptance on the basis of a computer-based process which will make use of the data as entered on the Transfer Application. The process is carried out by means of a computer program which, for each child, generates a ranking number using the details from the Transfer Application as the seed for a random number generator. The ranking number generated, for any given child, is dependent only on the child’s data (as entered on the Transfer Application) and is not affected by the details of any other child. 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. Children with the lowest ranking numbers will be given places up to the number of places available.
2. SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES AND SPECIAL PROVISIONS
The purpose of a claim for Special Circumstances and/or Special Provisions is so that a child can be assigned a score and allocated to a Band reflecting their likely AQE and/or GL Entrance Assessment results under normal conditions.
Consideration of a claim for Special Circumstances and/or Special Provisions consists of two parts: the first requires the consideration of whether there is sufficient evidence to permit a child to be considered as having Special Circumstances or attracting Special Provisions, or both. If a child is permitted to be considered as having Special Circumstances or as attracting Special Provisions or both, the second part of the consideration requires an educational judgement to be made on the totality of the material presented to the College so that a score can be awarded which can be placed into the appropriate Band equivalent to that which the child would have obtained in the AQE and/or GL assessment(s) under normal conditions.
Parents/guardians should upload with the Transfer Application all such material as they consider will assist the Transfer Committee in performing both parts of the consideration described above. It should be noted by parents/guardians that both parts of the consideration referred to involve an exercise in judgement and not precise calculation.
The College has academic performance as its second criterion, subject only to the consideration of medical or other problems which may have affected performance in the AQE/GL Assessment and which are supported by independent documentary evidence of a medical or other appropriate nature. These ‘medical or other problems’ are commonly referred to as ‘special circumstances’.
Please note that an application for both Access Arrangements and Special Circumstances cannot be made for the same reason. Where a problem or need is identified in advance of the assessment taking place, an application for Access Arrangements should be made. 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 of the assessments on the days of the AQE and/or GL Entrance Assessments.
Parents who wish to apply to the College under Special Circumstances should complete the appropriate form(s) obtainable from the College and/or AQE, and attach it with appropriate documentary evidence, as detailed below, to the Transfer Application.
Details of Medical or Other Problems
Where it is claimed that a pupil’s performance in the AQE and/or GL Entrance Assessment(s) has been affected by a medical or other problem, it is the responsibility of the parents to set out in the appropriate forms precise details of the problem and append independent evidence to support this claim.
Where the problem is a medical one of short-term duration which affected the child only at the time of the AQE and/or GL Entrance Assessment(s), the School will give greater weight to evidence that the child was examined by a medical practitioner in relation to the illness at the time of the assessment(s).
Where the problem is of a non-medical nature the parents/guardians should set out in the appropriate forms precise details of the problem and attach any appropriate independent evidence to support this.
In reaching the educational judgement needed to award the score that the child would have obtained in the AQE and/or GL assessment(s) under normal circumstances, the Transfer Committee will consider any objective documentary evidence provided by parents/guardians (attached to the Transfer Application) in support of the application. This material may include any or all of the following:
(i) The result awarded by AQE in the assessments (if the child sits two or three AQE assessments) or the raw score provided by AQE (where only one assessment was taken because of the child’s illness; self-isolation or other unforeseen circumstances); or the result awarded by GL due to a child sitting the GL Assessment or the GL Supplementary Assessment.
(ii) The results for the child of any standardised tests conducted in Year 5, Year 6 and Year 7 and the results in any end of year tests, conducted in Years 5 and 6, in English and Mathematics. It should be noted that standardised assessments will carry greater weight in the determination of the Transfer Committee.
(iii) Comparative information from the Primary School, including the results, without names, for other children in the child’s Year 7 class of any standardised tests conducted in Year 5, Year 6 and Year 7 and the results in any end of year tests, conducted in Years 5 and 6, in English and Mathematics and where available, the respective AQE and/or GL results awarded.
(iv) Any other relevant material.
The Transfer Committee will consider the application for Special Circumstances. Where this is accepted, the following procedure will apply:
a) The Transfer Committee will determine, on the basis of the information available, an appropriate admissions Band for the child;
b) The child will then be considered with all other children who have received a Transfer Test result and the admissions criteria will be applied.
Special Provisions will apply for:
a) Children whose parents/guardians wish them to transfer from schools outside Northern Ireland;
b) Children who have received more than half of their Primary education outside Northern Ireland;
c) Children, entered for the AQE and/or GL entrance assessments, who because of unforeseen and serious medical or other problems of the child, which are supported by appropriate independent documentary evidence, were unable to participate in any of the assessments. Parents/Guardians must provide details of the Candidate Number(s) issued to their child by AQE and/or GL Assessment on the Transfer Application and Form SC22;
d) This includes absence for all three AQE Assessments and/or absence for both the GL Assessment and GL Supplementary Assessment due to the child having Covid-19 or the need for the child to self-isolate for all AQE and/or GL assessments due to COVID-19. It is the responsibility of parents/guardians to support this with appropriate documentary evidence proving the child was unable to participate in any of the assessments. For children who have tested positive for Covid-19 documentary evidence such as a positive PCR test should be attached with the Transfer Application.
It is expected that all those seeking admission should have registered (and remained registered) to sit the AQE and/or GL Entrance Assessment, with the exception of those children who took up residence in Northern Ireland after the 24 September 2021.
Parents/Guardians who wish to apply under Special Provisions should contact the College as soon as possible. In addition, they should complete the Form SC22, stating the precise reason why they believe the child is eligible for consideration under Special Provisions and upload it with appropriate independent documentary evidence to the Transfer Application.
The Transfer Committee will consider the application for Special Provisions. Where this is accepted, the following procedure will apply:
a) The Transfer Committee will determine, on the basis of the available information, an appropriate admissions Band for the child;
b) The child will then be considered with all other pupils who have received an AQE and/or GL outcome placing them in the same admissions Band and the admissions criteria will be applied.
3. NOTE TO PARENTS/GUARDIANS
Parents should ensure that all information pertaining to their child and relevant to the College’s admissions criteria is stated on the Transfer Application and uploaded accordingly. When considering which children should be selected for admission, the Board of Governors will only take into account information which is detailed on or uploaded with the Transfer Application.
4. 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. The provision of false or incorrect information or the failure to provide information within the deadlines set by the College may result in the withdrawal of a place. If you state within the application that your child is currently registered as Free School Meals Entitled and that claim is decisive in qualifying him/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.
5. ADMISSIONS TO YEAR 8 FOLLOWING THE CONCLUSION OF THE TRANSFER PROCESS
The College operates a waiting list for Year 8. All applications for admission to Year 8 that were unsuccessful in obtaining a place in the school will be automatically added to the waiting list. This waiting list will be in place until 30 June 2023. Parents should contact the College in writing if they wish for their child’s name to be removed from the list.
Should a vacancy arise after the completion of the transfer process, 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 applied. The School will contact you in writing if your child gains a place in the School by this method.
Should the Transfer Committee of the Board of Governors determine that a child, who has arrived in Northern Ireland after the Transfer Process has been concluded, is suitable for admission, it will seek approval from the Department of Education to admit the child through the allocation of an additional place.
Note 1: Feeder Primary Schools Feeder primary schools are listed in order of the number of pupils who have obtained a place in Wellington College through Post-Primary Admissions over the preceding three years exlucing 2021, those with higher numbers being ranked first. Please note that this does not include pupils admitted to the College with a statement of Special Education Need.
Feeder School Name
Cairnshill Primary School
Rosetta Primary School
Lisnasharragh Primary School
Braniel Primary School
Carryduff Primary School
Orangefield Primary School
Cregagh Primary School
Forge Integared Primacy School
Elmgrove Primary School
Gilnahirk Primary School
Holy Rosary Primary School
St Joseph’s Primary School (Carryduff)
Knockbreda Primary School
Harding Primary School
Belvoir Primary School
Millennium Integrated Primary School
Spa Primary School
Botanic Primary School
Ballynahinch Primary School
Academy Primary School
Euston Street Primary School
St Bernard’s Primary School
St Ita’s Primary School
Strandtown Primary School
Donegall Road Primary School
Brooklands Primary School
Admissions criteria for entry September 2022
Updated January 2022 http://www.eani.org.uk/admissions
Loughview Primary School
Nettlefield Primary School
St Michael’s Primary School
St Malachy’s Primary School
Finaghy Primary School
Dundonald Primary School
Riverdale Primary School
Saintfiel Primary School
Drumlims Integrated Primary School
Glasswater Primary School
Leadhill Primary School
St Bride’s Primary School
Victoria Park Primary School
Stranmillis Primary School
Dromara Primary School
Carr’s Glen Primary School
Cumran Primary School
Derryboy Primary School
Downey House Prep School
Edenbrooke Primary School
Knocknagoney Primary School
Meadowbridge Primary School
St Colman’s Primary School
St Kevin’s Primary School
St Matthew’s Primary School
St Patrick’s Primary School
St Josephs’ Primary School (Holland Dr)
Applications and Admissions to Year 8
Admissions No 110
Total Applications ie. All preferences 244
Total Admissions 110
Admissions No 110
Total Applications ie. All preferences 231
Total Admissions 110
Admissions No 110
Total Applications ie. All preferences 361
Total Admissions 115 (TV request)
This table does not include children who were admitted to the College with a statement of Special Educational Needs, under the Appeals Procedure, or through the Exceptional Circumstances Body.
Criteria for entry to Years 9 and onwards
This information can be obtained by contacting the College.
** 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.**