No change at St Mary’s

St Mary’s to defy bishops

By Francesca Ryan

S t Mary’s Grammar School is determined to maintain its present pupil admission system, despite support from the Edmund Rice Schools Trust (ERST) for the phasing out of academic selection. The ERST – the body with responsibility for the schools formerly run by the Christian Brothers, including St Mary’s – said this week that it was “fully supportive” of the Catholic Bishops who are backing the scrapping of selection.  The ERST added it hopes by 2014 its grammar schools will be accepting up to 25 per cent of their pupils without assessment.

The ERST said it supported the Northern Ireland Commission for Catholic Education and the Northern Catholic Bishops in advocating the ending of academic selection. However, we’ve learned St Mary’s CBGS is determined to keep its current selection process. In a joint statement released by the Glen Road school and the ERST, St Mary’s says it is “committed” to its current arrangements.

“In response to some of the recent media reports on the statement of the Edmund Rice Schools Trust regarding the phased ending of academic selection,” the statement continues, “representatives of the Trustees and Governors of St Mary’s jointly offer this statement of clarification.

“The Trustees and Governors are committed to maintaining the voluntary grammar status and the high quality provision which St Mary’s offers for our current and prospective students.”

The statement asserts that there are no plans to alter St Mary’s current transfer arrangements.

“It is anticipated that the Trustees of all Catholic grammar schools in the Diocese will meet in the autumn to consider a co-ordinated approach to the issue of transfers involving all of the grammar schools.

“Therefore, at this stage, there has been no formal approach on this matter by the Edmund Rice Trustees to the Governors of St Mary’s Grammar School.”

The statement concludes by stressing that the school’s September 2012 intake is full and that next year’s crop of First Year pupils will continue to be assessment driven.

“For September 2013, St Mary’s will continue to select pupils for entry into Year 8 through the current assessment process, as operated by the Post-Primary Transfer Consortium. Any change to the current transfer mechanism will only come after full consideration between Trustees and School Governors.

“Any significant changes to St Mary’s would always follow consultation with our parents, students and staff.”

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