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The Collegiate grammar school

A leading Northern Ireland grammar has been forced to allocate places by pulling pupils' names out of a hat. The Collegiate grammar school in Enniskillen argues that the lottery is no more unfair than the previous system of tick boxes to give a snapshot of a pupil's ability across the range of subjects.

Since the tick boxes were abolished last year, secondary schools have to use grades from primary schools to determine intake.

Faced with a number of children with the same grade competing for the last few places, the Collegiate governors tried unsuccessfully to get more details on pupils from the Department of Education and the local authority, the Western Education and Libraries Board.

The school governors said: "Only when we had exhausted all these possible means of acquiring further information did we finally, and very reluctantly, find ourselves having to set non-academic tiebreakers, distasteful to us. We felt it was the only means of giving everyone an equal chance of being selected."

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