Some grammar schools have outlined how they will admit pupils using “Covid-19 criteria” if transfer tests are cancelled.
It includes pupils entered to sit tests, who have a sibling already at the school or have gone to a local primary.
The separate tests run by AQE and PPTC will be used by most grammars in 2021.
However, some grammars have said they will use alternatives to admit pupils for one year.
The AQE tests are due to take place on 9, 16 and 23 January while the GL Assessment test, run by PPTC, takes place on 30 January with a reserve test on 6 February.
Pupils in Northern Ireland are due to return to school for the new term in the first week of January but that decision is likely to be kept under review depending on the public health situation.
The tests take place mainly in grammar schools and a number of safety measures will be in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the five main teaching unions have previously made a joint call for “alternative arrangements” to the transfer test to be put in place.
Although most grammar schools are not expected to publish the criteria by which they will select pupils until early 2021, some have already made theirs public.
They include details of “Covid-19 criteria” – the alternative criteria they will use to select pupils if the tests are cancelled or there is “such disruption” to them that a child entered for the test cannot receive a score.
Pupils seeking admission will be expected to have entered to sit the relevant transfer test used by the school even if it does not take place.
After that, other common criteria will be used such as whether a child has a brother or sister already at the school or if a child is the eldest in their family transferring from primary school.
Other criteria include whether a child is transferring from a local or “feeder” primary school or where a child has a parent who was a past pupil of the school.
If the grammar school has a “prep” school which the child has attended, that is likely to give them priority for a place in the event transfer tests are cancelled.
Each grammar may also outline other criteria more specific to their area.
However, not all grammar schools will use the same criteria in the same order as their individual Boards of Governors decide which are most important.