A FERMANAGH primary school principal has welcomed the move by St. Michael’s College and Mount Lourdes Grammar School to suspend academic selection for the next academic year, meaning this year’s P6 pupils will not be sitting a transfer test to enter either of these schools.

Brian Treacy, Principal of Holy Trinity School, said: “In our view, as a school, we are delighted by the decision that has been taken.”

Mr. Treacy praised the post-primary schools for their decision, and said: “They have recognised that significant challenges for the P6s in the last year and a half [exists, along with] the significant disruption to their learning.”

He confirmed that the post-primary schools in Fermanagh consulted feeder schools, and added: “They would have consulted a number of the primary schools to talk them around how the children were getting on, in terms of their levels, and how they were getting on as any post-primary school would do to see how the children were getting on.”

Some may be left wondering if there will be a gap in their education as the children will not be preparing for their transfer test, but Mr. Treacy assured this newspaper that this would not be the case in Holy Trinity.

He said: “Over the past number of years, we focused very much on the learning and teaching. We would have done very little during the school day [in terms of] sitting a transfer test, marking it and going over it, because that is not quality learning and teaching.

“If there was any transfer preparation, it would have been done after school – it didn’t interfere with the key work during the school day.”

Mr. Treacy said he would be interested to see how the transfer test and academic selection “pans out over the next few years”.

On Friday last, a statement was released by the Clogher Diocese which confirmed the two Catholic grammar schools in Fermanagh would not use academic selection in the coming year.

“The Trustees, Boards of Governors and Principals of Mount Lourdes Grammar School and St. Michael’s College have considered the impact of school closures on our local community.

“They recognise that there has been significant disruption to the education of pupils since March 2020, and understand that there may be further disruption for children throughout the remainder of the 2021-22 academic year and beyond.

“The respective Boards of Governors are particularly aware of the impact of school closure on the current P6 pupils who were also affected by the schools’s closure, as P5 pupils.

“The suspension of the use of GL Entrance Assessment outcomes for the 2022-23 academic year is specifically in response to the circumstances which the Coronavirus pandemic has presented.

“Mount Lourdes and St. Michael’s will temporarily amend their Admissions Criteria for the 2022-23 academic year accordingly. Each school’s Admissions Criteria will be published by the Education Authority according to its normal timetable.

“Both schools remain committed to a Catholic ethos with a focus on pastoral care and high-quality learning and teaching. Those who would normally apply to be admitted to each individual school are encouraged to continue to do so.”