Dodds provides update on award of vocational qualifications

Date published: 08 April 2020

Economy Minister Diane Dodds today provided an update on the award of vocational qualifications to learners in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Covid-19 Update

The Minister said:

“I know that many young people and other learners are understandably concerned about what will happen in relation to their upcoming exams and assessments across a wide range of vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland.

“The safety and interests of our learners is paramount. In line with my Ministerial colleagues in England and Wales, the Education Minister in Northern Ireland, and working closely with the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessments (CCEA), it is clear that it will not be possible to proceed with scheduled assessments and exams for vocational qualifications over the coming months.

“I fully appreciate that this will be a disappointment to many but I can assure you that it is our priority to ensure that vocational learners receive fair and equitable results over the coming months that reflect their efforts to date and allow for due consideration of progression pathways, whether that be to study further or employment.

“Most vocational qualifications are offered across the UK and therefore my Department is working as a matter of urgency with the Department of Education, CCEA and other regulators, awarding organisations and governments across the UK to identify the fairest way to issue grades to learners who are studying qualifications other than GCSEs and A-Levels.

“I will provide more details about these arrangements at the earliest possible opportunity.”

The Minister added:

“I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the staff who work in the sector and to learners and their families for their ongoing support during these exceptionally challenging times.”

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