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Coronavirus Northern Ireland updates: Education Minister Peter Weir announces dramatic U-turn over A-level grades

  • A-level and AS students in NI to be awarded the higher of the grades submitted by their teachers or received after CCEA standardisation
  • NI GCSEs students to be awarded grades predicted by teachers
  • Stormont Assembly is recalled and will sit on Tuesday afternoon
  • Over 300 Covid-19 confirmed cases in the last seven days
  • NI close to needing localised coronavirus restrictions, says chief scientific adviser
  • Scroll down to follow updates as they happened

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A Level and GCSE students hold a protest at the Education AuthorityÕs office buildings on Academy Street in Belfast City Centre.  Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

A Level and GCSE students hold a protest at the Education AuthorityÕs office buildings on Academy Street in Belfast City Centre. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

A Level and GCSE students hold a protest at the Education AuthorityÕs office buildings on Academy Street in Belfast City Centre. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

AS and A-level pupils in Northern Ireland will receive their teacher-assessed grade or CCEA-awarded grade, whichever is higher, Education Minister Peter Weir has announced.

Mr Weir announced the dramatic U-turn - the second in less than 12 hours - at a Stormont press conference on Monday afternoon.

The major policy shift comes amid a raging controversy about the computer-generated standardisation system used to allocate grades. More than a third of students' grades were lowered from those given by teachers.

Mr Weir said CCEA is working to release the revised results to students as soon as possible.

“Concerns remain over the impact of changes to the qualifications system throughout the United Kingdom and any potential solution offered has its flaws," he said.

“However, my prime concern is to ensure that young people in Northern Ireland are in no way disadvantaged in comparison to their peers elsewhere.

“Portability and comparability of qualifications is critical for students, particularly in Northern Ireland.

“Whilst standardisation is normally an important feature of awarding qualifications, these are truly unique circumstances and this approach is now being adopted across the UK. This is why I have taken this decision today."

Meanwhile, there have been 39 new cases of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland confirmed by the Department of Health.

No further deaths have been reported and the death toll remains at 558.

In the past 24 hours 3,340 tests have been carried out on 2,425 people bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Northern Ireland to 6,430.

There have been 302 new cases of the virus recorded in the last seven days, with 73 of these in the Mid and East Antrim council area and 71 in Belfast.

As of Monday there are currently two Covid-19 inpatients in Northern Ireland's hospitals with none in intensive care units.

A total of 1,520 people have been discharged from hospital after recovering from the virus.

In Northern Ireland's care homes there are currently four active outbreaks of Covid-19.

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Belfast Telegraph