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Northern - Ireland Catholics back tests at 11

The Commission for Catholic Education is supporting post-primary school entrance exams as a temporary solution to the deadlock over secondary school transfers in 2010.

In a statement last week, the commission said it opposed academic selection at 11 but felt an interim test might be appropriate.

Some schools have said they might use a verbal reasoning exam, but the commission wants the test to be based on key stage 2 English and maths. It does not want pupils to sit several exams.

The commission recommended that schools adhere to the admission criteria guidelines issued by Caitriona Ruane, the education minister, in February. It also urged her to consider "a time-bound working party" to agree post-primary arrangements.

Ms Ruane said that breakaway entrance exams would be "a legal minefield"; following the admission guidelines would take away the need for them.

Cardinal Sean Brady, archbishop of Armagh and primate of all Ireland, said: "I recognise the widespread concerns of parents about the uncertain and disruptive situation we face if a regulated system of transfer is not made available.

"Agreement is urgent and would signal that politics in Northern Ireland has come of age." MR.

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