Curriculum and Qualifications (Northern Ireland)

Curriculum and qualifications-related issues can create significant workload burdens for teachers and school leaders.
 
The NASUWT continues to engage with the Northern Ireland Executive, the Department of Education, the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) and other system-wide bodies to ensure that the legitimate interests of the profession are reflected in policy development and implementation.

Reforms to qualification structures across England, Wales and Northern Ireland have resulted in significant differences between previously unified GCSE, AS and A-level frameworks.

For GCSE, qualifications regulated by CCEA are now graded on a nine-point scale from A*-G. This scale is designed to align with the new nine-point, numerical  9-1 scale introduced in England, with new CCEA grade C* designed to align with grade 5 in England and an A* grade calibrated with grade 9 in England.

GCSEs regulated by CCEA now have all examinations taken at the end of the qualification, although some qualifications have retained a unitised structure unlike in England where all qualifications are linear.

For most GCSE subjects, schools have been given an option to continue to offer Ofqual-regulated qualifications as well as those regulated by CCEA.

At GCE, AS qualifications regulated by CCEA will continue to contribute (40%) to the total marks of the full A-level, while in England, AS level qualifications are now standalone in structure. CCEA-regulated AS and A-level qualifications have retained a unitised structure unlike in England where the equivalent qualifications are now linear. In addition to CCEA-regulated GCEs, schools in Northern Ireland can offer most qualifications regulated by Ofqual or Qualifications Wales.

The NASUWT continues to monitor developments in respect of the curriculum and qualifications framework in Northern Ireland carefully, in particular the use of parallel qualifications structures. The NASUWT’s priority throughout will remain to ensure that teachers and school leaders are able to focus appropriately on their core responsibilities for teaching and leading teaching and learning and are able to secure their right to an appropriate work-life balance.