Coronavirus: School exams in NI will not go ahead

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image captionEducation Minister Peter Weir said work was being done to create a comprehensive list of key workers

A level and GCSE exams in Northern Ireland will not go ahead this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, but pupils will still get results, the education minister has said.

Peter Weir said pupils would still receive "fair, equitable results that reflect their hard work".

CCEA, with the other awarding organisations, will develop a "robust process for awarding grades", he said.

On Wednesday it was announced that NI schools will close from Monday.

Mr Weir said the system that would be used to award grades would be "a combination of prior achievements, internal assessments, predicted grades, analysis and modelling of existing data trends to provide the necessary assurance about the robustness, accuracy and fairness of the grades awarded".

He said it would allow judgements to be made on progression to employment, study or other avenues

"We will also work with further and higher education sectors to ensure arrangements are put in place to allow them to operate admissions processes as efficiently as possible."

He also said the school closure did "not mean the end of education".

Teachers will continue to be working throughout this period and remote learning will be provided, he added.

Earlier on Thursday it was also revealed that a limited number of schools will open on Monday for the children of "key workers", including doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, home carers and staff required to maintain the health and social care sector.

Mr Weir said that after next week, the scheme will be expanded to the children of other key staff, including haulage workers, police, the Fire and Rescue Service, prison service and those involved in the delivery of oil, gas, electricity and water.

For other pupils, Mr Weir emphasised that there "will be teaching through online resources".

"The aim throughout this process is for teaching to continue, and for teaching to continue to the end of the academic year on this basis," he said.

"If you're a health care worker, working for the health service, it is likely that there will be that availability, we can accommodate that.

"In terms of key workers for overall Northern Ireland plc, what we will be doing is working with each department very quickly to establish the list of categories of key workers.

"Schools will be contacted, because they have the data on every parent.

"They will be contacting parents on the basis of 'do you fit into one of these categories, do you want to avail of a place?'"

media caption'The societal and economic impact of this measure will be enormous'

'Where will our children go?

Earlier on Thursday, Justin McCamphill, from the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers, said he was "slightly clearer" after hearing from Mr Weir.

"We need to bear in mind as well that many of those teachers have children as well who will be off school," he said.

"And we need to ask the question if we are looking after the healthcare workers children, where will our children go?"

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has said that contingency planning meetings are taking place on Thursday and into next week as schools prepare for closure.

NAHT president Geri Cameron said the system is in "relatively unchartered waters".

Ms Cameron told Good Morning Ulster on Thursday that pupils remained at the "forefront of everybody's thoughts".

More information on schools closure

  • Remote learning and home packs for self-study are being explored over the period ahead;
  • BBC News NI education correspondent Robbie Meredith says this school year is over but "teaching and learning is still continuing";
  • Some schools have told pupils to get their on laptops at 0930 every morning and they will attempt to run as close to a school day as possible;

A number of NI schools had already decided to close for the rest of this week.

Schools in England, Scotland and Wales will close from Friday.

Some are listed on the NI Direct website.

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