Temporary changes to pupil assessments and reporting requirements

Date published: 20 May 2020

Education Minister, Peter Weir has announced temporary modifications to the assessment and school reporting legislation.

Covid-19 News

The Minister has also placed a temporary suspension on the collection of exams data, following the decision to cancel the summer 2020 examination series.

Each year, schools are expected to produce a report for each pupil as well as statutory assessments at the end of each key stage.

Peter Weir said, “During the current public health emergency I have been considering ways to ease the requirements on schools in relation to statutory assessment and school reporting arrangements. 

“In these challenging times, it is not practicable for schools to spend the significant amount of time required to complete these detailed reports.

“Instead, I have decided that, this year, schools will not have to submit assessments. I am also introducing temporary modifications which will provide schools with a high level of discretion to decide what should be included in school reports.

“This will allow teachers time to continue their excellent work in providing distance learning to their pupils.”

Guidance will be published for schools on these new measures.

The Minister continued: “These changes will enable schools to issue pupil reports before the end of the current academic year. More importantly, I hope that it will provide parents with reassurance on their child’s progress and enable them the opportunity to raise any concerns with a school before the end of the academic year.”

In addition, following his decision to cancel examinations in summer 2020, there will be a temporary suspension to the collection of qualifications results data.

Concluding, the Minister said “I have instructed my officials not to collect qualification outcomes through the Summary of Annual Examination results (SAER).  This is in line with the approaches taken in England and Wales.

“I am also instructing the Education and Training Inspectorate that the outcomes from the summer 2020 exam series should not be formally used in any future inspection processes, nor should those results be published in any inspection reports.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Education (Pupil Reporting) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 (“the 2009 Regulations”) place a number of duties on school principals around annual reporting on their pupils. 
  2. The 2009 Regulations do not apply to nursery schools or to young people in a primary or special schools who are under compulsory school age.
  3. The Education (Pupil Records and Reporting) (Transitional) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 (“the 2007 Regulations”) place a duty on Boards of Governors to make arrangements for the transfer of records of academic achievement, other skills and abilities and academic progress when pupils move to another school.
  4. Guidance on the changes has been made available to schools and can be accessed on the Department of Education's website at Guidance on assessment and school reports 
  5. Following the cancellation of the summer 2020 GCSE, AS and A level examination series, the Minister has decided (in line with England and Wales) that the Department will not be collecting or using the results generated through the alternative awarding arrangements (calculated grades) for accountability or inspection purposes.
  6. Follow us on Twitter @Education_ni
  7. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office on: 028 9127 9207.  Out of office hours, contact the Duty Press Officer on 02890 378110 and your call will be returned.



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