Transfer Talks: A mixed methods exploration of the impact of the non-testing year of post-primary transfer on children, parents and educators in Northern Ireland

During the 2020-2021 academic year, the transfer tests used by grammar schools to select admissions to year 8 were first postponed and then cancelled as a result of ongoing public health concerns during the Covid-19 pandemic. Consequently, admission to grammar schools for September 2021 was instead determined by alternative criteria set by individual schools, all but three of which adopted non-academic criteria. The ‘non-testing’ cohort of children who began their post-primary education in September 2021 (and are currently in year 10) therefore represent a unique cohort of children within post-primary schools since they transferred using very different admissions criteria (on the part of the grammar schools) from previous or subsequent years.

This original research project undertaken by the Centre for Research in Educational Underachievement at Stranmillis University College and funded by the Mental Health Champion for NI, aimed to explore pupils’, parents’/carers’ and teachers’ experiences of the 2020-2021 “non-testing” year of post-primary transfer in Northern Ireland, including the perceived impact on children’s emotional health and wellbeing. 

You can also view the report here: