Dickson welcomes cancellation of exams but says support needs to be put in place for students

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has welcomed the cancellation of essential skills and vocational exams for the remainder of the academic year but said support needs to be put into place for students.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds announced the move for BTec and other exams, saying she had instructed CCEA Regulation to ensure awarding organisations put in place ‘suitable alternative awarding arrangements reflective of this year’s particular circumstances’.

“This is a welcome move, a little over a fortnight after the same happened for GCSE, AS and A-Level exams,” said Mr Dickson.

“However, while I appreciate the Minister has called for alternative awarding arrangements, it is vital definite contingency plans are put in place as swiftly as possible. We have seen the chaos presided over by Minister Dodds’ party colleague, the Education Minister, in relation to other exams and that cannot be allowed to be repeated.

“Students need supported through this pandemic, having experienced disruption throughout two academic years in some cases, adding to other related issues. That distress and uncertainty has been unacceptable, and Alliance will continue to work with the Minister to ensure it is minimised as much as possible.”