BBC News

NI pupils wait for Welsh exam board 'clarity'

By Robbie Meredith
BBC News NI Education Correspondent

image copyrightPA Media

Pupils in Northern Ireland taking AS and A-Levels through the Welsh exam board WJEC still do not know if they will have to sit exams in summer 2021.

GCSE, AS and A-Level exams in Wales in 2021 have been cancelled, with grades based on classroom assessments instead.

However, more than 1,000 pupils in Northern Ireland take AS and A-Levels through WJEC, the Welsh exams board.

Discussions are still taking place about whether exam arrangements for those pupils will be the same as Wales.

Many pupils at schools in Northern Ireland take subjects like Physical Education or Sociology through WJEC.

In June 2020, there were 1,935 entries from Northern Irish pupils for AS-Levels through WJEC and 1,466 entries for A-Level.

Some teachers who contacted BBC News NI said that they had still not been told if pupils entered for WJEC qualifications in 2020/21 would have to sit exams next summer or not.

'Need for clarity'

The Northern Ireland exams regulator CCEA said it would try to provide clarity "as soon as possible."

"Following the Welsh Education Minister's decision to cancel WJEC summer 2021 examinations in Wales and introduce alternative assessment arrangements, ongoing communication has been taking place between CCEA Regulation, WJEC and the Department of Education to provide clarity on how this will impact Northern Ireland students entered for WJEC AS and A-Level qualifications next summer," the regulator said.

"CCEA Regulation recognise the need for clarity as soon as possible for these students and their teachers.

"A small cohort of Northern Ireland students are entered to take WJEC AS and A-Level qualifications in summer 2021.

"At this stage, the exact figure has yet to be confirmed as entries have not closed."

Education Minister Peter Weir has previously said GCSE, AS and A-Level exams in Northern Ireland will go ahead in 2021, as they are the "fairest and most equitable" way to assess pupils.

However, the number of exam papers in some subjects has been reduced.

Exams in 2020 were cancelled across the UK and results decided on grades assessed and provided by schools instead.

Related Topics

  • A-levels
  • NI education

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