Archbishop Eamon Martin has called upon schools in the North not to use academic selection this year following the significant disruption to the school year caused by the CoronaVirus Pandemic.
Archbishop Martin told the Irish News and the BBC that parents and teachers were uneasy and unhappy that the anxiety and uncertainty was already affecting some children.
In his letter Archbishop Martin wrote: “I know that teachers have been providing helpful study packs and online resources to assist with home schooling. Parents are doing their best to respond, while juggling work and home commitments, and in some cases overseeing learning for several children at once.”
“Some pupils are responding well; others are struggling, without ready access to technology or the one-to-one assistance of their teachers. A school principal observed to me that he anticipates educational disadvantage will be exacerbated given this year’s special circumstances.”
“in the best interests of our children and schools, I appeal to the whole educational community to support a suspension of the use of academic selection for entrance to post-primary schools in 2021.”
“I urge the boards of governors to publish admissions criteria which do not rely on the use of transfer tests carried out under such uncertain and challenging circumstances.”