Northern Ireland

Transfer test: 7,285 pupils sit first AQE exam

Marking exam Image copyright AP
Image caption The unofficial transfer tests have been taking place for six years

A series of transfer tests for primary seven children began in Northern Ireland on Saturday.

Thirty-four grammar schools hosted the Association of Quality Education (AQE) exams for 7,285 pupils.

This year, there are more pupils than ever taking the unregulated tests.

Northern Ireland's Department of Education abolished academic selection with the final official 11-plus test held in 2008.

However, many grammar schools use unregulated transfer tests to select pupils.

There are two unofficial replacement systems for the 11-plus in operation.

The single, multiple choice GL Assessment is used mostly by Catholic schools and the AQE sets a different exam for other schools.

The GL test will be held next week. The number sitting that examination has also increased, to 7,255. That test is free.

There is a charge of £45 for the AQE test, but pupils who get free school meals are exempt.

Attempts to create a single examination have failed.

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