Teachers at Tyrone and Armagh’s Catholic Primary Schools have joined forces to hit out at the unregulated transfer test in an unprecedented show of strength.
The forty-five head teachers, including principals from the Cooksotwn District, have slammed the exam as ‘educationally unsound’ and ‘fundamentally unfair’.
Their comments come as local grammars send out this year’s transfer test results. An estimated 354 local pupils are waiting to discover if they will be granted entry to the Catholic grammar school of their choice.
The head-teachers, who have grouped under the title Armagh Cookstown Dungannon Primary Principals, have vowed to escalate their protest, and have met the Archbishop Eamon Martin to demand more action.
The teachers laid the blame for the transfer chaos squarely at the grammar schools in the Armagh Archdiocese which have continued with the unregulated exams.
“The responsibility for this secret testing and its awful outworkings rests solely with four grammar schools in the archdiocese of Armagh”, said a spokesperson for the campaign group.
“If this secretive and unregulated testing process is to continue let those responsible for it justify it publicly.
“Let them not use the cover of ‘Post-Primary Consortium’. It is not good enough for those with responsibility to sit on fences or to want to wait for others to jump. What is happening is morally, socially and educationally indefensible.
“We call now for leadership, actions, not words, from Archbishop Eamon Martin, from the Commission for Catholic Education and from all with responsibility in Catholic schools to see an end to this continued unregulated, unfair and secret system of rejection and selection of our young people.
“Yes, politics and politicians have a role. But it is not good enough for those with responsibility to use this as a cover for inertia and inaction in some Catholic schools.”
The teachers claim that the transfer test is placing extra pressures on local non-grammar schools, with pupils from the area failing to get a place.