By Q Radio News
Five Catholic grammar schools in Newry and Kilkeel have decided to scrap academic selection next year.
A joint letter issued by the schools states that the move is due to "the impact of school closure on the current P6 pupils".
It will be the second year in a row that they won't use the transfer test run by the Post-Primary Transfer Consortium (PPTC) set by GL Assessment.
Four other schools in Londonderry and Belfast have already taken a similar approach.
The latest schools include Abbey Christian Brothers' Grammar School, Our Lady's Grammar School, Sacred Heart Grammar School and St Colman's College in Newry and St Louis Grammar School in Kilkeel.
''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 the local community,'' the letter reads.
''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 school closure as P5 pupils.
''The Boards of Governors of the five schools in the Newry and Kilkeel Consortium have agreed, in light of the ongoing
circumstances, that academic Admissions Criteria in each of the five schools will not be used for the academic year 2022-
''The five schools had previously made the decision in May 2020 to amend their Admissions Criteria for one year only.
As a consequence of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the temporary amendments to their Admissions Criteria will
continue for a second year.''
The correspondence continues: ''Each school’s Admissions Criteria will be published by the Education Authority (EA) according to its normal timetable.
''For reference, the 2021-22 Admissions Criteria are available in each school’s prospectus.''