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‘Summer of chaos’ for children as post-primary place appeals almost four times higher than 2020

With the school restart just six weeks away, some pupils’ futures remain unclear.

The number of post-primary places appeals against the Education Authority has risen by almost four times what it was in 2020 – from 259 last year to 810 as of July 5.

Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly who has been dealing with a number of queries from concerned parents.

“This stark rise in the number of appeals is the latest revelation in a summer of chaos for children and their families,” said Ms Kelly.

“School starts in September, and we still have hundreds of children who do not know which school they will be attending.

“Changing from primary to post-primary school is a huge time of upheaval in a child’s life and they require time to adjust to the idea and get comfortable to their new surroundings.

“Neither parent nor child can prepare for the new term if they do not know which school they will be attending. Parents cannot even purchase their child’s uniform as their fate still hangs in limbo.”

Ms Kelly said that while it is welcome that the vast majority of children have now been placed in a post-primary school, she has called on the Education Authority “to work with families and schools to facilitate these appeal hearings as soon as possible so outstanding issues can be resolved and every child knows which school they will be attending.”

About 23,500 children in Year 7 found out on June 12 which post-primary school they would transfer to but doubt still lingers for many others.

The increase has been partly attributed to the fact that for the first time in decades grammar schools did not use transfer tests to decide which pupils to admit in 2021.

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