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Transfer Tests in NI postponed until January 2021

Statement from Phoenix Law:

The High Court was told this morning that the transfer test will now be postponed until January 2021.

In response to a High Court judicial review challenge, the Minister of Education, Peter Weir and the two test providers confirmed to the Court that they would accommodate tests now occurring in January 2021 with the Education Authority operating a compressed timetable for the appeals and admission process.

It was agreed between the parties that a delay of the exams and additional time would be in the best interests of the children due to sit the exams.

The mother of our client commented:

“My daughter and I are delighted with the result we achieved today. We hope that this will go some way to address the educational disadvantages experienced by some children during lockdown. We are both frustrated and disappointed that it took to the very last minute for this decision to be made and that we had to take legal action in the first place. This decision demonstrates that those involved could have taken action on this sooner and showing that all children are at the heart of the decisions made.”

Ciaran Moynagh, Partner of Phoenix Law said:

“The global pandemic has brought about unprecedented change to the way of living. Such unprecedented change must be mirrored by the Department of Education in ensuring children’s interests are protected. Making children undertake life changing exams during such turbulent times would be most unfair. The right decision has been made this morning. Sitting exams in November or December certainly would not have been in their best interests.”

This case was never about the rights and wrongs of academic selection. My client achieved a postponement of the tests and that postponement will allow some of the disadvantaged children who did not have access to private tuition/resources or remote technology during lockdown to be back at their desk learning from experts for a reasonable period of time before they sit exams in the new year.

We now await confirmation of test dates and will continue to monitor the viability of examinations in light of the current global pandemic.

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