Here you’ll find an update from the Minister for Higher Education, and information from CCEA about how grades will be awarded this year, along with any updates to the results and appeals process.

Revised grades (Centre Assessment Grades) are now with universities and colleges – 20 August

This afternoon we sent universities and colleges revised grades (Centre Assessment Grades). 

Here’s our advice on what you should do next…

1. Make sure you know if your grades have changed
If you haven’t already received your revised grades, contact your school or college. UCAS and universities cannot share these with you.

2. If you’re happy with your place you are holding right now, don’t do anything
If you are happy with your university place, you do not need to do anything. You’ll be starting your studies as planned.

3. You will not automatically be confirmed at your original firm choice
Universities received new grades today, so please be patient while they process them. If you want to change, you will need to speak to the university or college. They will advise you how to change your choice. 

4. Clearing is still open
If you are unplaced or want to change your mind, Clearing is still available to find a place. We advise you to talk to your school or college about next steps and keep researching your options. You can use your new revised grades to find a place in Clearing.

If you’d like to know more about revised grades (Centre Assessment Grades) and what they could mean for your application, catch up on our recent Facebook live session.

An update about A level results – 19 August 2020

It was recently announced that students in Northern Ireland will now receive their Centre Assessment Grades if they’re higher than the grades they received on 13 August.

The next step is for awarding bodies to share any revised grades with UCAS, and for us to pass these on to universities and colleges. We hope this will happen by this Friday, 21 August.

We are not able to share your results with you (universities can’t either). You will need to contact your school or college to get your Centre Assessment Grades (CAGs).

Here’s three key things you need to know:

1. No one will receive a lower grade or lose their current university or college place.  
If you are happy with your university or college place, you do not need to do anything. You’ll be starting your studies as planned.

2. Offers will not automatically change in Track.
If you’re thinking of changing your university, college, or course you are currently placed with, you will need to wait until they have received your revised grades to be able to progress your options with a university or college.

3. You will not automatically be confirmed at your original firm choice.
If you missed out on your firm choice, but now meet the conditions with your revised grades and want to return to your original choice, you will need to contact the university or college once they have received the revised grades.

Once revised grades are with universities or colleges, we will email to let you know and to offer our advice.

Universities and colleges have been asked to try to be flexible when making admissions decisions this summer for any private candidates who do not receive a grade. We advise you contact your university or college to discuss your options – they may be able to consider other evidence and information where possible. You will also have the opportunity to take your exams this autumn.

Diane Dodds MLA, Minister for Higher Education, update 22 May 2020:

As Minister for Higher Education in Northern Ireland, I wanted to write to you about what steps I have been taking to ensure your journey into higher education next year is not unduly impacted as a result of Covid-19.

In response to a number of higher education institutions making unconditional and time-bound offers to students, I, along with other Ministers across the UK, had asked universities and colleges to stop making unconditional offers or amending existing offers until 4 May (1 May in Wales). This action was taken because we worried that you may have felt pressured to accept offers over others you might be better suited to, or perhaps would not have normally made. During that time, we have worked with providers to ensure that you will experience an application process like any other given year and you should not be put under any undue pressure by UK higher education providers.

Therefore, to give you time to make your decisions – and to understand more about how qualifications will be awarded this summer, UCAS has extended its offer deadlines for Undergraduate applicants and the rolling decision dates for UCAS Teacher Training applicants and providers. If you’re affected by this extension, UCAS will email you your new decision deadline. For any of you who have received an unconditional offer please consider whether this is the right provider and course for you, before you make a decision.  

I also appreciate that you all find yourselves in a very difficult and unprecedented position this year as a result of the pandemic. I am conscious that decisions you made when you first thought of what you had hoped to do this coming academic year may now have changed and you may be re-evaluating your next steps.

As well as opportunities through UCAS Clearing, our local further education colleges deliver higher education courses that provide you with a standalone higher education qualification as well as a stepping stone into the final years of university, including at Queen’s and Ulster. Some of these opportunities are available through UCAS but many others can be explored through contacting a local further education college. Contact details for all higher education providers can be found at:

For those of you thinking about employment there are also opportunities to allow you to continue your studies and gain a higher education qualification through a Higher Level Apprenticeship offered by a range of employers across a variety of subjects. You can find out about Higher Level Apprenticeships at:

The Department’s Career’s service provides impartial advice for anyone seeking to discuss their future prospects in more detail. If you need help in deciding what is right for you please contact your Careers Adviser by email using your C2K email address, by telephoning 0300 200 7820 or by webchat at:
I would urge you to utilise this free service and explore your options.

I fully appreciate that it has been an extremely difficult time for you all, and I wish you all well in securing the next steps you hope for on your educational journey.

Information on the awarding of Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) GCSE, AS, and A level qualifications

On 16 April, the Minister of Education in Northern Ireland, Peter Weir MLA, announced the way forward for the awarding of Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) GCSE, AS, and A levels.

Following the instruction by the Minister of Education, CCEA has released further information and guidance to all schools and colleges, including the process for how calculated grades will be determined.

The Education Minister announced that he would also ‘…seek to align the issuing of results with England and Wales (i.e. A level results on 13 August and GCSEs on 20 August), thus ensuring that local candidates are not put at a disadvantage…’.

What does this mean for your application?

Other qualifications 

If you are taking other qualifications, you might have questions about how these will be assessed and how grades will be awarded. The table below will give you an indication of the latest updates from the awarding organisations. If yours isn't listed, or you need more information, we recommend you contact the awarding organisation directly and they will be able to give you the most up-to-date advice.

We recognise that some students may feel disappointed that they haven’t been able to complete their assessments. If you do not feel your calculated grades reflect your expected performance, you will have the opportunity to appeal or you may choose to sit your assessments at the earliest reasonable opportunity. If you do this, you should be aware that taking your assessments later may impact you progressing to university in September as planned. 

Attending a UCAS event?

To protect the health and wellbeing of all those attending, we’ve postponed UCAS higher education exhibitions until 31 July. 

You can attend a virtual open day to find out more about unis, or chat to current students with Unibuddy. 

Search for virtual open days

Chat to current students