Admission criteria for

September 2021

In recent years the Transfer Test - either the AQE or GL (PPTC) version has been used as part of the admissions policy for entry into year 8. In 2020 the Transfer Test did not take place and so this school has developed new criteria for entry into Year 8 in September 2021.


These 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 2021.


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 2021.

Wellington College Belfast

Wellington College Belfast 

Controlled Grammar School Co-educational  

18 Carolan Road   


BT7 3HE 

Telephone No: 028 9064 2539 

Fax No: 028 9069 3736 



Principal: Mr D Castles, MBA, MA (Oxon), PGCE 

Chair of Board of Governors:  Ms W Fee 


Age Range:      11-18  

Admission No:          110 

Enrolment No:         770 



A virtual Open Evening will be available for P7 pupils and parents via the College website.  

The College prospectus will be available in hard copy by request. 


To Parents/Guardians naming Wellington College Belfast as a preference on the online Transfer Application: 

The Board of Governors of Wellington College Belfast remains firmly committed to academic selection as a method of entry to the College.  In this unprecedented year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the cancellation of the entrance assessments administered by the Association of Quality Education (AQE) and the Post Primary Transfer Consortium (PPTC), alternative criteria outlined below have been adopted. 


Entrance Assessment Registration  

Please ensure that you provide the following evidence of registration on your child’s online Transfer Application.  

The AQE and/or PPTC candidate registration number must be entered on the online application and if available the AQE Registration Letter or Examination Card, or the PPTC Pupil Registration card should be uploaded. 


Special Provisions 

If you are making a claim for your child to be considered under Special Provisions, please note that you are required to upload with the online application all such material as you consider will assist the Transfer Committee of the Board of Governors in determining if Special Provisions apply. 


Claims for consideration for a child under Special Provisions will be examined and decided upon before the application of the Admissions Criteria. 


Respective functions of the Board of Governors and Principal in relation to admissions to the College 

Wellington College 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 delegates the responsibility for applying these to a Transfer Committee, in conjunction with the Principal. This includes decisions in respect of Special Provisions. Any reference herein to the term the Board of Governors includes any Committee appointed by the Board of Governors for the purposes of applying the admissions criteria. 




Applicants who will be resident in Northern Ireland at the time of their proposed admission to the College will be selected for admission before any such applicants not so resident.   


The College will not use as a criterion the order of the chosen schools on the online Transfer Application; for example a child who has placed the College as a second choice school will be regarded in the same way as all first preference applicants. 


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 shall be applied in the order listed below until the point where the admissions number is reached. 


In the event that there are fewer applicants complying with a particular criterion than there are places available or remaining, those applicants complying with that criterion will be admitted and the next criterion will be applied to the remaining applicants. 


In the event that there are more applicants complying with a particular criterion than there are places available or remaining, those applicants complying with that criterion will go forward to be considered under the next criterion and those not complying with that criterion will be eliminated. 


1) The Board of Governors will first consider for admission into Year 8; 

a. Children who were registered for the Common Entrance Assessment (CEA) provided by AQE, or the GL Assessment provided by PPTC. The AQE and/or PPTC candidate number must be entered on the online transfer application and if available the AQE Registration Letter or Examination Card, or the PPTC Pupil Registration Card should be uploaded as relevant. 

b. Children who were not entered for either entrance assessment, because they would have been entitled to apply for Special Provisions as set out below, will also be considered. 

2) Applicants who at the date of application have a sibling* currently enrolled at the College; the transfer application must provide the full name and date of birth of the sibling; 

3) Applicants who have a sibling* who is a past pupil of the College; the transfer application must provide the full name of the sibling at the time of enrolment, dates of attendance and date of birth; 

4) Applicants who are the eldest or only child** of the family to be eligible for admission, September 2021. Applicants must have submitted with the online Transfer Application a letter on headed notepaper to verify that the applicant is the eldest or only child; this must be a letter from a person who is not a family member of the applicant and who has known the applicant for at least two years; letters of verification will be accepted from a Primary School Principal, Elected Public Representative, GP, Solicitor, member of the Clergy or a Police Officer; 

5) Applicants who are registered at a feeder Primary School from which pupils have been admitted to Wellington College over the preceding three year period (see Note 1). 


*Where applicable ‘sibling’ is defined as another child of the family under Article 2 (2) of the Domestic Proceedings (NI) Order 1980 to include, for example half-brothers and sisters together with children who are adopted or fostered. 


**Twins or other multiples who are eldest in the family are treated as joint eldest children. Eldest child is understood to include eldest child eligible to transfer to a mainstream school. 


If following the application of the above criteria in order there remain more applicants than places a tiebreaker criteria will be used. 


In the event of a tiebreaker being applied, random selection will be used.  Each application at this stage will be allocated a random number electronically generated with Microsoft Excel.  The applications will then be ranked in order, with the higher numbers having preference. 


When considering which applicants should be selected for admission the Board of Governors will only take into account information which is detailed on or uploaded to the online Transfer Application. Parents should therefore ensure that all information pertaining to their child and relevant to the College admissions criteria is stated on the Transfer Application or uploaded to it. 



Special Provisions 

Special Provisions will only apply to children who fall into one of the following categories: 


a) Pupils who have taken up residence in Northern Ireland after 9th October 2020. 

b) Pupils who have received more than half of their Primary education outside Northern Ireland. 

Parents/guardians who wish to apply to the College under Special Provisions should complete Form SP20, obtainable from the College, stating the precise reason why they believe the child is eligible for consideration under Special Provisions and upload it with appropriate evidence with the Transfer Application.   


Parents/Guardians who are applying for Special Provisions must do so by 4.00pm on 16 March 2021. Using the information provided the Board of Governors will determine whether Special Provisions applies. If it does, those children who the Board of Governors considers to be eligible will be included under Criterion 1) b of the Admissions Criteria. 


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 online Transfer Application.  


The provision of false or incorrect information or the failure to provide information within the deadlines set by the College can result in the withdrawal of a place and the inability to offer a place on the part of any school nominated on the online Transfer Application.  If information is found to be incorrect then any place offered because of it will be withdrawn. 


Waiting List 

Should a vacancy arise after 18th June 2021, 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.  This waiting list will be in place until 30th June 2022. 


The applicant’s name will automatically be added to the list and the College will contact parents if the child gains a place by this method.  Parents should contact the College in writing if they wish for their child’s name to be removed from the list. 


Note 1:  Feeder Primary Schools 

Feeder Primary Schools from which Wellington College has admitted pupils over the preceding three years.  Please note that this does not include pupils admitted to the College with a statement of Special Educational Needs.   


Primary Schools are listed in order of the number of pupils who have transferred in previous years to give an indication of our typical intake pattern and catchment.  Please note, however that this does not indicate priority in the admissions process.   


Cairnshill Primary School 

Rosetta Primary School 

Lisnasharragh Primary School 

Braniel Primary School 

Carryduff Primary School 

Orangefield Primary School 

Cregagh Primary School 

Forge Integrated Primary 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 

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 

Saintfield Primary School 

Drumlins 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 Joseph’s Primary School (Holland Dr) 



Applications and Admissions 


Year      2018/19 

Admissions No      110

Total Applications ie. All preferences     243

Total Admissions     110


Year      2019/20 

Admissions No      110

Total Applications ie. All preferences     244

Total Admissions     110


Year      2020/21 

Admissions No      110

Total Applications ie. All preferences     231

Total Admissions     110


These numbers do 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 will be published on the College website. 

** 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.**