Education Minister announces arrangements for Occupational Studies and CCEA Entry Level qualifications

Date published: 28 April 2020

Education Minister Peter Weir has today made a further announcement on the alternative awarding arrangements that will be used for Occupational Studies and CCEA Entry Level qualifications.

Covid-19 News

This follows an earlier statement on 16 April in relation to the arrangements for grading GCSEs and A levels in Northern Ireland for summer 2020.

The Minister said: “As I have previously stated, it is my priority to ensure that students receive fair and equitable results that reflect their hard work and enable judgements to be made about progression to study, employment or other avenues. 

“Therefore, I am pleased today to be able to provide clarity to those students and their families about the processes being developed for Occupational Studies and CCEA Entry Level qualifications. 

“For those completing their Occupational Studies for which there are no examinations, I have approved a process for awarding grades that will involve a combination of the professional judgement of teachers, based on an extensive range of evidence held by schools, and statistical modelling.

“There will also be a process for standardising outcomes across the centres. This is similar to the process being undertaken for GCSEs being awarded this summer.”

For students completing their CCEA Entry Level qualifications this year, the Minister said he was aware that again there are no examinations for this qualification and the outcome is based on internal assessment moderated by CCEA.

Continuing the Minister said: “I consider the most appropriate way forward will be a calculated approach where teachers provide an estimated level of attainment for learners based on performance over the teaching and learning period. This approach will mean that students will be issued with a result in late June 2020, only slightly later than the results would normally be issued.

“I realise that there are a number of students who are completing other Entry Level qualifications not offered by CCEA.  These fall under the responsibility of the Department for the Economy. The Minister for the Economy, therefore, has instructed CCEA Regulation to engage with awarding organisations to consider how calculated grades can be awarded for these qualifications in the summer. Further communication will be issued from CCEA Regulation and awarding organisations regarding this.”

The Minister concluded: “I have instructed CCEA to take forward work to implement these decisions, and CCEA will issue more detailed guidance to schools, pupils and parents as a matter of urgency this week.

“I hope this provides clarity for pupils and their parents, teachers and school leaders and reassurance that there will be more details to follow.”

Notes to editors: 


  1. The Department is carrying out ongoing work, especially around the development of an appeals process and arrangements for private candidates. 
  2. Departmental officials are also working closely with officials in the Department for the Economy on arrangements for vocational qualifications. Both Occupational Studies and CCEA Entry Level are classed as ‘other general’ qualifications therefore requiring a direction by the Minister for Education.  Other Entry Level qualifications fall under the policy responsibilities of the Department for the Economy.  Details will be announced as soon as that work has been completed.
  3. Media enquiries to the DE Press Office at:

Share this page

Back to top