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O'Dowd meets OFQUAL Chief Regulator

Education Minister, John O'Dowd, has today met with the Chief Regulator, Glenys Stacey, of OFQUAL.
Tuesday, 17 December 2013

OFQUAL is the regulator of qualifications, examinations and assessments in England and vocational qualifications in the north of Ireland. The meeting follows an invitation from the Minister to improve engagement across the jurisdictions regarding current, and potential, changes to GCSEs and A-levels.

Speaking about the meeting, the Minister said: “After Secretary of State Gove announced changes to GCSE English and English Language in England without giving prior notice, I felt it important to establish face-to-face engagement with the Chief Regulator of that jurisdiction so that issues relevant to both areas could be discussed openly and for mutual benefit.

“This is a key time for GCSEs and A-levels. Earlier this year I commissioned a fundamental review of the qualifications to establish whether any changes need to be made to them so that young people here are adequately equipped to compete on a level playing field with students from across these islands and, indeed, further afield.

“I have long maintained that it is vital that local young people are not disadvantaged or left behind in any way by any changes made to qualifications in other nearby jurisdictions. By reviewing our local arrangements and continuing to maintain good links with universities and employers across these islands, we will ensure that qualifications here are robust, portable and suitable for the needs of learners.

“The review, carried out by the local regulator CCEA, made a series of recommendations which by and large are not for radical change in the short term and these are currently out for public consultation until 20 December.

“Today’s meeting gave me the opportunity to put across my concerns to OFQUAL regarding the need to share ideas as early as possible about the way ahead in each jurisdiction and also to ensure that, going forward, contact is maintained at official level on a routine, regular basis.

“The meeting was constructive, useful and interesting. I thank Ms Stacey and her colleagues for meeting with me and I look forward to the benefits such improved engagement across our jurisdictions will deliver on the crucial issue of how exactly our young people are appropriately awarded the qualifications they need for life.”

Notes to editors:

  1. More information on the OFQUAL website.
  2. The Department of Education’s ‘Education Works’ campaign encourages families to play, talk, read and count with their child and to ‘Get Involved Because Education Works’. The campaign highlights the vital role families can play in helping children do well at school and improve their life chances. Visit nidirect for more information. Watch the TV ad on the Department’s YouTube channel.
  3. View photos from the Department of Education in our Flickr collection  
  4. Media enquiries to the Department of Education’s Communications Team on Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699715440 and your call will be returned.