Northern Ireland

Transfer tests: Thousands of NI children receive results

Child taking exam
Image caption Grammar schools have been using unregulated tests to select pupils since the 11 Plus exam was scrapped by the department of education in 2008

Thousands of children in Northern Ireland have received the results of their post-primary school entrance exams on Saturday.

Grammar schools have been using unregulated tests to select pupils since the 11 Plus exam was scrapped by the department of education in 2008.

Pupils have the option of two separate tests - AQE exams which are mostly used by state schools while Catholic schools mostly use GL Assessment exams.

Both results are sent on the same day.

Some families worried about the Saturday postal service asked to be able to collect their letters and 1,500 went to Royal Mail delivery offices from 08:00 GMT.

Attempts to create a single, unofficial exam have failed and children aged 10 and 11 can opt to sit either exam, both or none.

The 2014/2015 academic year was the sixth year the unregulated tests have been run and both exam bodies reported an increase on the number of children opting to take their tests.

A total of 7,285 pupils sat this year's AQE exam - the exam body's highest number of entrants since the unofficial tests began.

The number sitting this year's GL Assessment also increased to 7,255.

The hour-long AQE exam in English and maths is similar to the format of the old 11 Plus exam, while the GL Assessment is a multiple choice test.

Northern Ireland's department of education has not approved the transfer tests and has told primary school teachers that they they should not coach pupils for the exams.

Earlier this week, the BBC's Nolan Show reported that the department had sent letters to 11 primary schools since May 2012 over concerns of possible coaching.

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