Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest information

Northern Ireland

This section details:

- Examinations information for students in Northern Ireland

- Applications information for students applying to university in Northern Ireland, including UCAS and clearing

- Applying for student finance in Northern Ireland.

If you’re looking for information for students in one of the other UK nations or applying to another UK nation for university, please go here for more information.

A Levels and GCSEs

CCEA, the qualifications organisation for Northern Ireland has stated that assessments in 2020 for A level, AS level and GCSEs will be based on a range of evidence, for example, prior attainment and a teachers expert view. CCEA has started collecting this data from schools and colleges.

Ofqual has now published details of the new arrangements for assessing and awarding grades for GCSE, A and AS level, Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and Advanced Extension Award (AEA) in maths qualifications. You can also find information on vocational and technical qualifications in their guidance.

Results day in Northern Ireland will be on the 13th of August for AS and A levels and the 20th of August for GCSEs.

If you’re a private candidate, make sure to look at CCEA’s guidance for private candidates.

Make sure to check the CCEA website for the most up to date information.

Vocational, technical and other general qualifications

Ofqual have stated that for vocational, technical and other general qualifications this year, grades will be based on the evidence of assignments, modules or class work carried out during the course, before the lockdown prevented students attending classes. This grading also applies to qualifications in Northern Ireland.

Grades for vocational, technical and other qualifications should have already been submitted to their examination body and will now be being assessed.

Please see this government guidance for full details regarding how vocational, technical and other general qualifications. will be awarded this year.

You should check the following details have been made clear to you before confirmation and clearing in August:

  • how much of a course is proposed to be delivered online or face-to-face, or a mix of both, if the balance between, lectures, seminars and self-learning has changed or if placements are affected.
  • what support there will be in place for students to access any online learning
  • any changes that may occur due public health guidance, such as changes to social distancing, and implications for provision, such as being unable to attend lectures at certain times or having to change living arrangements in student accommodation
  • the terms and conditions for your course which should be clear
  • how to access a clear and fair complaints process for the university or college
  • cost of the course, including making clear if any discounts have been offered for the year in which adjustments will be made, and if the cost will increase to a ‘normal’ level thereafter

If you feel that you have not received the information you need from your university or college, you can:

The Office for Students, the regulator in England, has published information on consumer rights. This guidance applies only to universities and colleges in England and gives advice on what things you should expect to be clear from university and colleges in England. For more information see the Office for Students' Frequently Asked Questions.

If you are applying to a university in Northern Ireland, make sure to look at your university or college’s website directly for the most up to date information. We also encourage you to check UCAS for deadlines for applying to university in Northern Ireland and check UCAS Track.

If you receive your last decision from a university or college on or before the 13th of July, your reply date to this offer through UCAS is the 20th of July, including Extra choices.

UCAS will email you regarding your application if there are any significant changes to it.

Changes to application and admissions announced for 2020

UCAS has extended the deadline for accepting offers so that applicants have more time to assess their options due to the COVID pandemic.

If you receive your last decision from a university or college on or before the 13th of July, your reply date is the 20th of July (this includes Extra choices).

New enhanced clearing process for admissions: There will be an enhanced clearing process for admissions for 2020, called Clearing Plus, which will match students to universities and opportunities based on their achievements and course interests. If you exceed your predicted grades, Clearing Plus can suggest alternative courses with higher entry requirements. This is to help you to have more options. You will also have the opportunity to change your choice of provider/course, even if you are ‘placed’ at a provider and after you receive your grades.

Clearing 2020: Clearing for 2020 will open on the 6th of July.

  • All applications mus be submitted to UCAS by 18:00 (UK time) on Monday the 21st of September. This is the final deadline for all courses with 2020 entry.
  • You must have added any Clearing choices in addition to any other uni and college applications in Track on UCAS by the 20th of October.

For up to date information on UCAS deadlines, see the UCAS website.

If you are applying to a university in Northern Ireland, make sure to look at your university or college’s website directly for the most up to date information. We also encourage you to check UCAS for deadlines for applying to university in Northern Ireland and check UCAS Track.

If you’re applying for Student Finance in Northern Ireland, you should apply for student finance as soon as possible. Although the deadline for applying has passed, the sooner you apply, the sooner you will receive your student finance. You should apply based on your first preference of university or college. There is no penalty if you withdraw or change your application later, for example, through Clearing.

Students with a disability or long-term health conditions should be encouraged to apply for Disabled Students Allowance as soon as possible. It currently takes approximately 14 weeks for applications to be processed so they need to apply now to ensure support is in place in time for the start of their course

The quickest and easiest way to apply is via Student Finance Northern Ireland.

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