ST JOHN the Baptist Principal Chris Donnelly says parents and children are now left in the “situation where they do not know what admissions criteria will be put in place across our schools” following the fall-out of the cancelled transfer test. 

Mr Donnelly was speaking after news broke that the post-primary transfer tests were cancelled following the latest Covid-19 surge. Children were due to sit the first in a series of entrance exams on Saturday.

While the mainly Catholic PPTC transfer exam will not now go ahead this year, the AQE later announced that they had rescheduled a one-off exam for the end of February.

The St John the Baptist head told the Andersonstown News that news that the transfer test would be cancelled “did not come as a surprise once the stark picture emerged by the start of this week relating to the high levels of positive Covid tests across the north”.

“But that does not take away from the sense of disappointment felt by many children who spent many long months preparing for these tests with the support of their parents and teachers.”

He continued: “Whatever one feels about the existence of academic selection, and opinions are naturally divided across this society on that, at the end of the day, many Primary Seven children have been working so hard in these incredibly challenging circumstances towards the goal of sitting the tests, and I really feel for them. In truth it should never have come to this.”

Mr Donnelly said that Education Minister Peter Weir has had it in “his power all throughout this period to suspend the tests or, at the very least, to develop an agreed contingency plan with relation to admissions criteria for all post-primary schools for the year that’s in it.

“Parents and children are now left in the situation where they do not know what admissions criteria will be put in place across our schools, a situation which is only adding to their anxiety.”