If your child attends school in Northern Ireland or you’re looking for information about qualifications, this section brings together relevant resources about the Northern Ireland Curriculum, learning and assessment.

If you have questions about the alternative awarding arrangements for this year, please watch the videos below and visit our new Summer 2022 Awarding web area. Our Frequently Asked Questions (examples below), News, Key Year Facts and Mental Health and Wellbeing sections will be updated regularly over the coming months. Our Student Area also includes relevant examples of Grading and Achieving the Higher Grade from Two Pathways for learners this year.

Summer 2022 Frequently Asked Questions

Will examinations take place in Summer 2022?

On 17 May 2021, the Education Minister announced a return to public examinations for all CCEA qualifications during the next academic year.

Is there a chance that examinations could be cancelled in Summer 2022 again?

The cancellation of CCEA examinations would be a ministerial decision.

Factors taken into consideration would be health and safety advice and guidelines from government and the Public Health Agency.

Are there alternative awarding arrangements in place for GCSE, AS and A level students in 2021/22?

Due to the disruption faced by students in 2020/21 because of the COVID 19 pandemic, students will be provided with the option of omitting one unit of assessment, chosen by CCEA, from the vast majority of CCEA qualifications.

More information on how grades will be awarded in 2021/22 can be viewed online.

How are Entry Level and Vocational Qualification students being assessed in 2021/22?

In Entry Level and Vocational Qualifications, students can omit assessments up to a maximum of 50% of the qualification.

How are Occupational Studies students being assessed in 2021/22?

For Occupational Studies, students can omit one unit of their choice from final assessment.

As with GCSE, AS and A level qualifications, any student who chooses to sit all units will be awarded the higher grade from either all units or the compulsory units only.

In Entry Level and Vocational Qualifications, students can omit assessments up to a maximum of 50% of the qualification.

The Development Pathway


Age 3–4 / Before Year 1

Pre-school education offers children one year of non-compulsory education. Children learn at their own pace through a breadth of learning experiences and challenging play activities in a stimulating environment.

Foundation Stage

Age 4–6

Primary school Years 1 and 2 make up the Foundation Stage. Children build on the learning experiences that they bring to school from home and/or pre-school. They learn through well-planned, challenging play that develops their interests, curiosity and creativity.

Key Stages 1 & 2

Age 6–11

Key Stage 1 (primary school Years 3 and 4) builds on Foundation Stage experiences, and Key Stage 2 (primary school Years 5, 6 and 7) builds on Key Stage 1 experiences. As children progress through these stages, they move from informal to more formal learning.

Key Stage 3

Age 11–14

At Key Stage 3 (post-primary Years 8, 9 and 10), the curriculum builds on the learning experiences that pupils bring from primary school. Pupils now attend classes in different subjects, and teachers typically teach specific subjects to pupils across the different Years.

Key Stage 4

Age 14–16 / Qualifications

At Key Stage 4 (post-primary Years 11 and 12), pupils build on their learning from Key Stage 3. Pupils meet the statutory curriculum requirements through compulsory Areas of Learning and optional courses that lead to general and/or applied qualifications.



At post-16, young people can choose from a number of qualifications that we offer at Level 3 on the Regulated Qualifications Framework, including GCE A levels.

COVID Message 2021