Welcome to OCR Policy’s dedicated Northern Ireland page. This page looks at where government education policies in Northern Ireland differ to those in England and what this means for schools, colleges and OCR qualifications.
The Entitlement Framework is at the heart of Northern Ireland's Department of Education (DE) and Department for the Economy (DfE) 14 to 19 education policy. It aims to provide access for all students to a broad and balanced curriculum that enables them to reach their full potential, regardless of which school they attend or where they live.
A list of the OCR qualifications - GCSEs, A Levels, Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals - that can be used in the delivery of the Entitlement Framework is available to download. This list is updated annually.
Only the listed qualifications are approved for use in schools in Northern Ireland and it is the responsibility of schools to check that approvals are in place before any course is offered to students.
If schools wish to offer a qualification that does not appear on the current list, they can seek approval from the Department of Education.
Performance points scores at age 14 to 16 in Northern Ireland are reported on a 0–58 scale with the following points assigned to each grade:
ICT GCSE was withdrawn from the 2019 (14 to 16) English performance tables. We will be withdrawing this qualification due to the lack of demand. September 2019 will be the last two year cohort. Two alternative products are our Cambridge Nationals in Creative iMedia and Information Technologies.
Performance points at age 16 to 19 in Northern Ireland are reported on a 0–300 scale for one A Level size qualification (360 guided learning hours) and multiples of this for larger qualifications are set out below:
Further information on performance points is available from the Department of Education.
UCAS tariff points differ from the accountability performance points above.
Ahead of a wide-ranging review, the Department for Education in England is withdrawing funding approval for a range of key stage 5 vocational qualifications which do not feature any external exam component.
In all cases, there are alternative versions of these qualifications, which do include external examinations and continue to be funded in England and appear on England’s 16 to 19 performance tables.
However, as Northern Ireland has devolved administration arrangements, decisions to remove funding approval in England do not affect the availability of these qualifications in other parts of the UK.
All of OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical qualifications continue to be made available in Northern Ireland. Qualification review dates are summarised in the summary brochure.
We will continue to keep you informed of any changes regarding the impact of the DfE post–16 review.
Update: advice during Coronavirus
Following the NI Economy Minister, Diane Dodds’ statement, OCR has amended the guidance for the delivery of OCR Cambridge Technical qualifications in Northern Ireland:
Do I need to get my Cambridge Technical learners to complete unfinished NEA/coursework now?
There is no requirement to set additional assessment or homework tasks for determining an assessment achievement, and no learner should be disadvantaged if they are unable to complete any work set after schools/colleges and other centres were closed. Where learners have completed additional work after these closures, caution should be exercised where that evidence suggests a change in performance. In many cases, it is likely to reflect the learner’s circumstances and context in which the work was done. Centres should retain records made in reaching a centre assessment result for each learner. OCR may request supporting evidence at its discretion.
We have a range of events and materials for you to book or download.
We are committed to supporting our centres in Northern Ireland. We have recently held a 14 to 19 curriculum event to meet with centres delivering our qualifications. The event attracted over 40 schools and colleges, providing the opportunity to hear about policy changes in England and the impact on Northern Ireland curriculum delivery.
Call our contact support centre on 02476 851509 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to answer your queries.