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Methodist College Belfast

Methodist College Belfast


11plus exam content.

Subjects Tested:  The AQE Transfer Test - English and mathematics

Entrance criteria.

Due to Covid-19 The Transfer Test did not take place in 2020 and special criteria where used that year.

These Admissions criteria reflect those used in previous years for entry in the following September.


The responsibility for selecting applicants for places on the basis of the following criteria is delegated by the Board of Governors to an Admissions Sub-Committee, which includes the Principal.  These criteria have been approved by the Board of Governors of Methodist College Belfast (referred to herein as ‘the College’, see note 1 below for further explanation).  Any reference herein to the term the Board of Governors includes any Committee or Sub-Committee appointed by the Board of Governors for the purposes of applying the Admission criteria set out herein. 




Section 1.  Introduction: 


1.1 The Governors of Methodist College Belfast intend to apply academic criteria to the applications received and so will use the score awarded to the pupil by AQE in the Common Entrance Assessment (CEA), subject only to the consideration by the Board of Governors of those pupils claiming Special Circumstances or Special Provisions as explained below.  


The candidate number and the score in the AQE CEA should be entered in Section C of the Transfer Form in the following format: AQE Candidate Number, followed by the number; AQE CEA score, followed by the score.  Parents/guardians must also attach the original tamper proof notification of result issued by AQE to their child’s Transfer Form. 


The score awarded in the AQE CEA will be used as follows: 


Applicants will first be placed in rank order based on their results in the CEA. Higher scores will precede lower scores. Applicants will then be sub-divided into bands of 5 marks. All applications will be carefully considered, and any claim for Special Circumstances or Special Provisions will be given due weight using the process outlined in points 3 and 4 below.  


1.2  Applicants who will be resident in Northern Ireland at the time of their proposed admission to the College will be selected for admission before any such applicants not so resident. 


1.3  The number of places available is limited to the admissions number set by the Department of Education for Northern Ireland; this is currently 240 places. The cut-off for admission will therefore be the 240th place.  


Section 2.  The admissions criteria will be applied in the following order: 


2.1  Those applicants in the bands down to and including the 240th place based on the applicants performance in the AQE Common Entrance Assessment.  


In the event of over-subscription in the band containing the 240th place then the following selection criteria will be applied in order: 


2.2  Applicants who are entitled to Free School Meals (FSME) (see note 2 below for further explanation); 


2.3  The children of Methodist Ministers in accordance with the terms of the Methodist College Act; 


2.4  Present members of the College in its Preparatory Department, or the sons and daughters of present members of staff of the College; 


2.5  Those with brother(s) or sister(s) who is/are at present in the College or has/have already been offered a place; 


2.6  Those whose brother(s) or sister(s) has/have been a pupil of the College; 


2.7  Those whose parent(s) has/have been a pupil of the College; 


2.8  The remaining applicants in the category. 


2.9  If the number of applicants in any of the above groups within each category exceeds the remaining number of places available, the applicants will be further ranked for acceptance on the basis of a computerised random selection process which will have as input the names and dates of birth of the applicants as shown on their Transfer Form (see note 3 below for further explanation). 


If, following the application of criteria 2.1, all the available places have not been filled, the College will consider for admission any pupils who have not taken the CEA. Allocation of these remaining places will be made by applying criteria 2.2 to 2.9. 


The College emphasises that it is the responsibility of the parents/guardians of the applicants to notify the College on the Transfer Form where the above criteria apply, and to furnish relevant details. 

Section 3.  Procedure for Special Circumstances: 


3.1  Methodist College has academic performance as its first criterion, subject only to the consideration of medical or other problems which may have affected performance in the AQE Common Entrance Assessment (CEA) and which are supported by documentary evidence of a medical or other appropriate nature.  These ‘medical or other problems’ are commonly referred to as ‘Special Circumstances’.   


Please note, if a claim for the consideration of Special Circumstances is made in respect of matters for which Special Access arrangements were granted, the College may take into account the fact that the applicant was granted Special Access arrangements for those matters.  


Parents who wish to apply to the College under Special Circumstances should complete Form SC13 obtainable from the College or AQE, and attach it with appropriate documentary evidence to the Transfer Form. It is the responsibility of the parent to provide the evidence as detailed in Form SC13. 


3.2  Details of Medical or Other Problems 

Where it is claimed that an applicant’s performance in the CEA has been affected by a medical or other problem, it is the responsibility of the parents to set out in the Form SC13 precise details of the problem and append evidence to corroborate its existence.   

Where the problem is a medical one of short term duration which affected the applicant only at the time of the CEA, the College will give greater weight to evidence that the applicant was examined by a medical practitioner in relation to the illness at the time of the assessment. 

Where the problem is of a non-medical nature the parents should append appropriate evidence. 


 It should be noted that in all cases independent evidence will carry greater weight. 


3.3  The following Educational Evidence will be considered: 

3.3.1 The score awarded in the AQE Common Entrance Assessment, if any. 

3.3.2 The results for the applicant of any standardised tests conducted in Year 5, Year 6 and Year 7, with the exception of diagnostic tests which will not be accepted, and the results in any end of year tests in English and mathematics in Years 5 and 6 (see note 4 below).  

3.3.3 The results (without names) for other pupils in the applicant’s Year 7 class of any standardised tests conducted in Year 5, Year 6 and Year 7, the results in any end of year tests in English and mathematics in Years 5 and 6, and where available, the respective AQE CEA scores.   

It is the responsibility of the parent to provide the educational evidence. Where such information is unavailable for good reason, the Governors reserve the right to make a decision based on the information available.  

3.4     A panel of Governors will consider the application for Special Circumstances. Where Special Circumstances are accepted, the panel will determine, on the basis of the information available, a band for the applicant.  Such applicants will then be considered with all other applicants who have received a CEA score and the admissions criteria applied.    


Section 4.  Procedure for Special Provisions: 


4.1  Special Provisions will apply for: 

a) children whose parents wish them to transfer from schools outside Northern Ireland; 

b) children who have received more than half their primary education outside Northern Ireland; 

c)    children, entered for the AQE Common Entrance Assessments, who because of unforeseen and serious medical or other problems were unable to participate in the Common Entrance Assessment. 

 It is expected that all those seeking admission should sit the AQE CEA, with the exception of those applicants who take up residence in Northern Ireland after the start of Year 7.  

Parents who wish to apply to the College under Special Provisions should contact the College as soon as possible. In addition they should complete Form SC13, obtainable from the College or AQE, stating the precise reason why they believe the applicant is eligible for consideration under Special Provisions and provide appropriate independent documentary evidence. A copy of the Form SC13 and all the documentary evidence should be attached to the Transfer Form. 


For those pupils whose parents wish them to transfer from schools outside Northern Ireland, applications for Special Provisions should be received by the College by 23rd April 2014 (see note 5 below).  


4.2 A panel of Governors will consider the application for Special Provisions.  Where Special Provisions are accepted, the following procedure will apply: 

a)  The College will consider any assessment information, with the exception of diagnostic test results, and may choose to assess the applicant’s ability in English, mathematics, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. 

b)    A panel of Governors will determine, on the basis of the information available, a band for the applicant.  Such applicants will then be considered with all other applicants who have received a CEA score and the admissions criteria applied. 

5  Duty to Verify 


The Board of Governors reserves the right to require such supplementary evidence as it may determine to support or verify information on any applicant’s Transfer Form. The Provision of false or incorrect information or the failure to provide information within the deadlines set by post-primary schools can result in the withdrawal of a place and the inability to offer a place on the part of any school nominated on the applicant’s Transfer Form. If you state within your application that your child is currently registered as Free School Meal Entitled, and that claim is decisive in qualifying him/her for admission, then that information will be verified. If it is found to be incorrect, then any place offered because of it will be withdrawn. 


6. Waiting List 


Should a vacancy arise after 23 May 2014 all applications for admission to Form1/Year 8 that were initially refused, new applications, and applications where new information has been provided will be treated equally and the published criteria applied.  This waiting list will be in place until 30 June 2015.  Should a place become available for your child by this method, the College will contact you.  Your child’s name will be automatically added to the list.  Please contact the College if you wish your child’s name to be removed from the list. 



1.  The College has two constituent parts: the Preparatory Department and the Secondary Department. 


2.  “entitled to Free School Meals” will mean pupils who are listed on the Education and Library Board/ESA register as entitled to Free School Meals at the date on which their parent or guardian has signed their post-primary Transfer Form, or at any date up to and including 14th May 2014. 


3.  The random selection process referred to in paragraph 2.9 above is carried out by means of a computer program which, for each applicant, generates a ranking number using the details from the Transfer Form as the seed for a random number generator. The result, for any given applicant, is dependent only on the applicant’s name and date of birth and is not affected by the details of any other applicant. 

Although the process is repeatable, and the results may therefore be subsequently verified, it is not possible to predict in advance of running the program, what the result will be for any given set of details. Applicants with the lowest ranking numbers will be given places up to the number of places available. The operation of the process will be independently monitored. Further details may be obtained from the Principal. 


4.  Parents can obtain information about the educational attainment of their child by contacting or writing to the Primary School Principal. Parents are entitled as of right to such information. In the unlikely event that this information is not forthcoming further advice can be obtained from the Information Commissioner’s Office. A link to this advice can be found in the Admissions section of the College website. 


5.  The 23rd April 2014 provides 10 working days for the College to process such an application from the parents of pupils who wish them to transfer from schools outside Northern Ireland, in advance of the Transfer Office deadline of 14th May 2014 beyond which any new/additional preferences received by the Transfer Office will not be processed until after 23rd May 2014. 


6. Anyone requiring further information about the Admissions Criteria or the application of the Admissions Criteria should contact the Principal of the College.  


When considering which children should be selected for admission, the Board of Governors will only take into account information which is detailed on or attached to the application form.   Parents should ensure that all information pertaining to their child and relevant to the school’s admissions criteria is stated on the Transfer Form or attached to it.   

Contact details.

Methodist College

1 Malone Road



Tel: 028 9020 5205

Type of Exam:  The  AQE Transfer Test in English and maths.

School website.

School history.

The History of Methodist College Belfast (MCB)

Methodist College Belfast was founded in 1865 by the Methodist Church in Ireland and opened three years later in 1868. In 1844, the Conference of the Methodist Church in Ireland approved a proposal to establish a Methodist school in Belfast. Shortly after, a decision was taken to relocate the site of the school to Dublin. Funds for this school were raised in 1845 and it was opened the same year, first as the Wesleyan Connexional School and later to be called Wesley College.

It was only in 1855 that the idea was raised of founding a school specifically for the education of sons of ministers like the Methodist Church in England had at Kingswood School in Bath. Funds were raised with significant amounts coming from the US and England.

The original site for the school was to be in Portadown but the location was changed, first of all to Dublin. Land was acquired in Dublin but proceedings stalled. Several prominent Belfast Methodists began a campaign to have the school built in Belfast. The Methodist Conference allotted the remaining £2000 left from the purchase of the Dublin site to Belfast so long as they could raise £8000 extra with the added proviso that no building could take place until they had raised £10,000. 

A last attempt was made 1863 for the building to take place in Portadown but this failed. The necessary money had been raised by 1864 to satisfy the Conference's stipulations but it was held that £10,000 would not be sufficient. Further fundraising missions were made to the United States and England in 1866. These were led by Robinson Scott, the Rev Robert Wallace and William McArthur. Wallace would die on this mission in Cincinnati from Cholera.  However an additional £10,000 was raised. Several subsequent missions took place to fund building work.

The present site of the college, near Queen's University Belfast on the Malone Road, was purchased by James Carlisle and offered to the committee on the same terms. The site covered 15 acres all of which have been developed by the college to the present day. In addition to the school it was proposed that a strip on the North side be let for building and the rest used by the college. This would become College Gardens which is still owned by the college.

The school originally had a dual foundation as a school and a theological college and the school was designed with this in mind. The architects firm Joseph Fogerty & Son of Dublin won with their bid to design the school. The foundation stone for the Main Building was laid in 1865, and in 1868 the College was opened.

** This information is provided for guidance only and while the content is, to the best of our knowledge, accurate we cannot be held in any way responsible for any errors or omissions that it may contain. Please contact your LA or chosen grammar school for all admission and elevenplus exam queries.**

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