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Schools in north likely to avoid A-level results upheaval

The north is expected to avoid significant upheaval

SCHOOLS are bracing themselves for a turbulent A-level results day - but the north is expected to avoid significant upheaval.

Teachers in Britain awaiting results on Thursday say sweeping changes to the curriculum will make a significant impact on overall grades.

In addition, schools and colleges are being warned to expect "more variation" in their AS-level results this year, the first since they split from A-levels.

Exam regulator Ofqual is warning that the performance in AS-levels will dip because the subject matter is new to pupils and teachers.

Experts suggest the results in the north will be similar to previous years, however.

For the past year, schools in the UK have been offering a new curriculum in a wide range of subjects at AS-level, which are taken at the end of the first year of sixth form, while continuing to teach the old curriculum to sixth formers.

The new AS exams, offered by awarding bodies in England, no longer count towards the final A-level grade.

It is expected that around 80 per cent of AS exams in Northern Ireland this year will have been taken with the local CCEA awarding body. The number of AS entries are expected to be similar compared to previous years and it is, therefore, also anticipated that performance will be similarly consistent.

When the CCEA regulator carried out a fundamental review of A-levels and GCSEs in 2013, only a minority (27 per cent) advocated following qualifications policy direction in England. During the widespread consultation, 82 per cent wanted to retain the link between AS and A-level.

Meanwhile, CCEA has set up a dedicated examinations helpline which offers advice and guidance for pupils expecting results over the next fortnight.

The helpline will be in operation from 9am until 5pm, from Wednesday August 17 until Wednesday August 31, however lines will open early at 7am on Thursday August 18, A-level results day. Anyone with queries regarding CCEA examination results can call 028 9026 1260, email helpline@ccea.org.uk, or visit www.ccea.org.uk.

CCEA Examinations Manager Michael Crossan said the helpline responded to hundreds of calls each year from schools, parents and pupils.

"This highlights the importance and the value that this service provides during what can be an anxious and stressful period," he said.

"I would encourage anyone with a query or concern about their CCEA examination results to pick up the phone and give us a call."

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