New Northern Ireland single transfer test to begin in November 2023

SEAG is the group organising the new common entrance test to begin in November 2023.

New Northern Ireland single transfer test to begin in November 2023

Fifty-seven of Northern Ireland’s 66 grammar schools have signed up to run a single common transfer test from November 2023.


This move will see the end of the two Transfer Tests run since 2008 by the AQE (Association Of Quality Education) and PPTC (Post Primary Transfer Consortium.) The New Transfer Test will be run by GL Assessment in the first three years.


The New Common Entrance Test will be used for transferring pupils between primary school and grammar school.


The new testing format will consist of two papers held on two Saturdays, two weeks apart, provisionally scheduled for Saturday, November 12, and Saturday, November 26, 2023.


The plan for one Transfer Test was initiated by grammar schools and they now have now established the Schools’ Entrance Assessment Group (SEAG) to oversee the tests.


Michael Carville (principal of Regent House Grammar in Newtownards), will be the first chair of SEAG.


SEAG was formally established in February 2022 to oversee a single common entrance assessment, with 57 selective grammar schools signing up to join the group.


The November 2022 tests run by AQE and PPTC are likely to be the last before being replaced by the new single test.


Both tests will contribute to candidates’ score rather than the best two of three, in the current AQE format.


The Transfer Tests will be based on the key stage 2 curriculum in literacy and numeracy knowledge and skills that children are being taught at school. Each paper will feature English and maths questions and there will be a mixture of multiple choice and open questions.


SEAG has stated that GL Assessment Ltd in England have been awarded a three-year contract to provide the test, and local staff have been appointed oversee the administration.


Grammar schools have used a transfer test system to select pupils since exams were 11+ exams were first introduced in 1947.