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Announcements about the AQE coming together with the anti-selection Catholic Heads Association (CHA) to agree a common entrance test for grammar schools must be viewed with concern and  reference to the recent past.

In October 2008 the CHA met with Caitriona Ruane, the Education Minister, to view their concerns about the public demand for continued testing. Shortly thereafter the Irish News ran a story with the headline “Exam to replace 11-plus in doubt”  Soothsayers indeed.


The Catholic Heads Association, which represents the principals of 31 grammars, proposed on Tuesday that schools use this test rather than set their own entrance exams.

Irish News 23/10/2008

Although they were fully informed and involved in the AQE it was clear that the CHA wanted no part of any arrangement with the Protestant schools.

The CCEA said it would be necessary to undertake a process of research and development to create an adapted test. Given that amended tests would relate to revised curriculum content, there would be a requirement for a new specification, exemplar material and guidance for teachers and invigilators.

Irish News 23/10/2008

No specification has been published, the contract for the development of the new test was issued without tender and the Minister announced in February that the test was cancelled.

From the CHA perspective all the boxes were ticked. No unregulated Catholic test, no AQE test for Catholic schools and now no regulated test from the DENI.

Re-read the first line of this post again.