Five local Grammar schools have made a joint decision to either wholly or in part, used the outcomes of GL Entrance Assessment as the basis of selection of P7 pupils for admission to their respective schools.

As a local consortium, these five schools have operated a central registration procedure with all applicants from the same Primary School sitting the GL Entrance Assessment in one of the five schools listed.

A statement issued today said "The Boards of Governors and the Principals of Abbey Christian Brothers’ Grammar School, Our Lady’s Grammar School, Sacred Heart Grammar School, St Colman’s College, Newry and St Louis Grammar School, Kilkeel have considered the impact of school closures on our local community. They recognise that there has been disruption to the education of pupils since March 2020, including that of P6 pupils and understand that there may be further disruption during the 2020-21 academic year.

"The Boards of Governors of the five schools in the Newry and Kilkeel Consortium have agreed, in light of the current circumstances and for one year only, that the academic admissions criteria in each of the five schools will not be used for the academic year 2021-22."


  • As a result, none of the five schools will use outcomes from GL Entrance Assessment as part of their Admissions Criteria for the academic year 2021-22. Pupils applying to these schools will not be required to provide a GL Entrance Assessment result.
  •  All five schools will temporarily amend their Admissions Criteria for the 2021-22 academic year accordingly.
  • Aside from some minor amendments at an individual school level, the Admissions Criteria for the 2021- 22 academic year will largely be based on each school’s sub-criteria.
  • Each school’s Admissions Criteria will be published by the Education Authority (EA) according to its normal timetable. For reference, the 2020-21 Admissions Criteria are available in each school’sprospectus.

The statement continues "The decision not to use the outcomes of the GL Entrance Assessment for the 2021-22 academic year is specific and particular to this group of five schools in the Newry and Kilkeel area. Each school remains committed to its own ethos and academic focus on high quality teaching and learning. Those who would normally apply to be admitted to each individual school are encouraged to continue to do so.

"Careful consideration was given to this decision to temporarily remove the academically selective element of each school’s admissions criteria for one year only i.e. the academic year 2021-22. It is hoped that this decision will provide clarity in the local area for P6 pupils and their parents/carers."

Edit 29/5/20 6pm

Speaking following a joint announcement by five schools in the Newry area Newry and Armagh MLA, Liz Kimmins said ''I welcome and commend the decision by Abbey CBS, Sacred Heart, Saint Colman's, Our Lady's and St Louis Kilkeel to suspend the use of unregulated tests for this coming academic year.

''This is absolutely necessary to allow our teachers, school staff and of course children to prepare for a return to school, rather than the stress of a high-level exams.

“Academic selection is wrong and unnecessary and puts undue pressure on children.

“Leading human rights and equality organisations, the children’s commissioner and leading trade unions all support the call to abandon academic selection altogether.

''I am hopeful that the other selective schools will follow the leadership and the example shown by the schools in the Newry area and do away with the use of these unregulated transfer tests and instead focus on the task of preparing to return to schools when it is safe to do so."

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