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.

Exams and next steps

The Government has agreed with the higher education sector that all students who achieved the required grades this year will be offered a place at their first choice university or college.

The Government has also removed the caps on numbers for medicine, dentistry and veterinary science, meaning that if students have met the conditions of their offer to study, they should be able to take up their place this year where there is capacity, or be offered deferred place at their chosen university or higher education provider.

For further information see here

AS and A Level results were announced on the 13th of August. These results were based on a school’s previous submission to CCEA, (the regulator for qualifications in Northern Ireland), of predicted grades that a school felt a student would have received had they been able to sit an exam. These predicted grades were then standardised across Northern Ireland, which led to some results for AS and A Levels being lower than those a student was predicted from their school or college.

Since then, the Minister for Education in Northern Ireland has announced that AS and A Level qualifications for some students will be reissued. Results will be reissued if the result received on Thursday the 13th was lower than the predicted grade a school or college originally submitted to CCEA. You can read CCEA’s full statement here.

If your results were not what you expected or you wish to appeal, speak to your school or college. The deadline for appeals is 17th September 2020.

There will be an Autumn Exam series, for student who were either unable to secure a calculated grade in the summer, or who want to try to improve their grade. It is worth remembering that this may mean you are not able to start university this year.

You can find out more about appeals and the Autumn exam series here.

Results day in Northern Ireland will be 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.

After Results

UCAS Track opens at 8am on Thursday 13th August.

If you received the results you needed, well done!

If, however, you did not get the grades you needed, or if you have changed your mind, there are options available to you.

Clearing

You will be able to see if you are in clearing on your Track account. You will need to talk to your school or college adviser who can help with clearing options.

You can find out about Clearing and Clearing Plus here.

It may also be worth considering other options, such as Foundation Level Degrees, Higher National Diplomas or Higher National Certificates.

Examinations in the Autumn

There will be an Autumn Exam series, for student who were either unable to secure a calculated grade in the summer, or who want to try to improve their grade. It is worth remembering that this may mean you are not able to start university this year

You can find out more about appeals and the Autumn exam series here

Apprenticeships

You may want to consider an Apprenticeships; you can do an apprenticeship up to degree level. For more information look here, but, remember, as with any job, you will need to apply and go through an interview process. Make sure you research this option thoroughly.

Work and gap year options

You may want to find employment this year, and apply again next year. This can enhance your personal statement and your transferable skills. However, in the current climate, it is worth remembering that there are fewer jobs and more applicants than there were previously.

You may want to take a gap year. Again, you need to research this thoroughly, as there may well be travel limitations.

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.

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.

The Student Loan Company have now announced measures for students who cannot currently attend their course in person. Students will receive their Maintenance Loan as intended at the start of the summer term regardless of a provider's teaching arrangements. Students will also be eligible for finance if they cannot be in the UK for their first term as long as they meet all other criteria for student finance. For more information on student finance, see the Student Loans Company Guidance.

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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