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Cookstown High School, Cookstown

Transfer Selection & Streaming

Each year thousands of children in Northern Ireland sit extra examinations to win a place in grammar school.  These tests can contribute to stress for the children involved but also family disruption and sometimes considerable expense when the cost of private tuition is factored in.

As pupil numbers have declined across the province grammar schools have been forced to admit pupils with lower and lower scores in the AQE Test or the GL Assessment. This means that many grammar schools now have a much wider ability range than at any time in their history which results in mixed ability teaching. 

As a combined grammar and secondary school Cookstown High School believes in academic excellence and grammar school education, however we do not use extra exams to enable access to our grammar school provision. We use Standardised Tests which are done by all children in Primary School as part of their normal school experience to establish their real academic ability and place them appropriately. 

The most academically able pupils are placed in our grammar stream where they are taught accordingly, in a group of pupils of very similar ability, this helps to drive up standards.  Throughout Key Stage Three pupils are monitored closely to ensure that they remain focussed on their work and are appropriately placed.

Cookstown High School recognises that children develop at different speeds and welcomes children of all academic abilities.  Our system means that children who develop academically at a later stage can still avail of our grammar provision, achieve highly at GCSE, move into Sixth Form and progress to university.  Our system caters for individual children at each stage of their development rather than basing their provision on a snap shot of attainment at eleven.

As an all ability school we make provision for children of all academic abilities.  Young people who are more suited to vocational provision perform well at GCSE, benefit from our links with the local Regional College and are facilitated in following a vocational pathway leading to employment or access to Further Education.