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Vocational and Technical Qualifications Update

20 April 2020
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Dear Student,

Vocational and Technical Qualifications Update

I hope you are keeping safe in these difficult and challenging times and have been able to take

some time off over the Easter break.

I am very aware that uncertainty regarding grading of your qualifications is causing increased levels

of anxiety and stress and I want to provide you with an update on the position here in Northern


GCSE and A-Levels

Calculated grades will be issued for those completing their A Level, A/S level and GCSE

qualifications based on a combination of information provided by the college and using statistical

information. A/S level grades will count as a stand-alone qualification but they will not contribute to

final A level grades in 2021. Grades will be awarded for GCSEs due to complete in 2020.

Vocational and Technical Qualifications

The situation for students undertaking vocational and technical qualifications is more complex and

while we do not yet know exactly how awards will be graded, work is ongoing to reach an agreed

way forward in the coming weeks. It is therefore important that you stay in touch with your course


You may be aware from recent media reports this week that England will award calculated results

for vocational and technical qualifications that are used for progression to further and higher

education. This is likely to include BTEC Extended Diploma and other general vocational

qualifications where evidence of assessment carried out to date will be used to award grades.

Should this be the case, students will receive calculated results in the summer, thus enabling

everyone to progress their studies or careers as planned.

While no decision has yet been taken in Northern Ireland, I have been assured that a decision is

imminent. The College has not yet been informed if arrangements will apply for those students on

the first year of a two-year course and again it is important that you continue to engage with your

course tutors.

Skills and Competence-Based Qualifications

Specific qualifications based on skills and competence assessment and license to practice are likely

to adopt a different approach should it not be possible to use existing evidence to calculate results.

This alternative approach may use tailored assessment methods or in some cases include delaying

completion of the qualification when the College reopens.

I understand that the current position is not ideal and I hope you will recognise the importance of

finding a solution that is fair, transparent and adequately reflects the work you have undertaken to

date. Please be assured that all Further Educations Colleges are working together to find the best way

forward. As soon as more information is available you will receive an update.

A full list of courses where calculated results will apply is currently being agreed with awarding

organisations and when we receive confirmation of whether your qualification fits within this list, we will

be in contact with you to advise on what to do next.

The position on awarding results for Essential Skills qualifications is also under consideration and we

should know more in the coming week and will advise you accordingly.

I would ask you to continue to engage with your course team and personal tutor and follow their

advice. It is vital that you work with the College to ensure that you have all your assessments up to

date including assignments that need to be resubmitted, so that you receive the calculated result you


Should you have any questions or concerns please contact your Personal Tutor for further help or use

the college contact email Please continue to visit the college website and the

Frequently Asked Questions section for further updates.

Yours sincerely

Leo Murphy

Principal and Chief Executive

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