Northern Ireland

Education Authority apologises over delayed P7 letters

Pupil sitting transfer test exam
Image caption The EA delay affected some of the 120 pupils who have not yet been placed in a post-primary school

The Education Authority (EA) has apologised after a number of P7 pupils were not told that they had not been placed in a post-primary school.

Letters from the EA to their parents were not delivered as planned on Saturday 20 May.

The authority said the letters would now be sent by recorded delivery on Tuesday.

"We are currently investigating the cause of the delay," an EA spokesperson said.

The EA also apologised to parents who could not contact a helpline to get information about the process.

"The EA helpline received a high volume of calls on Saturday," the spokesperson continued.

"We apologise to anyone who was not able to get through."

On Saturday, about 21,000 P7 pupils were contacted by post-primary schools to confirm their year 8 places for September 2017.

The EA delay affected some of the 120 pupils who have not yet been placed in a post-primary school.

'Constantly engaged'

On Monday, Michael Holden, whose son attends Killinchy Primary School, told the BBC his family have been left in limbo after they did not receive a letter over the weekend.

He said he and his wife made about 300 attempts to get through to the emergency hotline, but that it was constantly engaged.

"When we eventually did get through, it said the mailbox was full and simply disconnected the line," he said.

"No principal in our area was given the result either, so the primary schools weren't given the information so they weren't able to assist any parent."

He added: "The whole thing is just absolutely shocking and in the day of technology - why they can't offer alternatives that we could log into a system and view the result?

"It's ridiculous."

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