NI pupils can use A-level results in Republic of Ireland

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Pupils sitting A-levelsImage source, PA
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The Leaving Certificate and A-levels are both used by pupils to progress into further and higher education

Pupils in Northern Ireland will be able to use this year's A-level results in 2020 to enter universities in the Republic of Ireland.

As exams have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, A-level pupils will instead be awarded "predicted grades".

Teachers and schools will calculate what result they think pupils would have got had the tests gone ahead.

In the Republic of Ireland, Leaving Certificate exams are still set to take place from 29 July.

The Leaving Certificate and A-levels are comparable and are both used by pupils to progress into further and higher education.

Questions had arisen about whether pupils from Northern Ireland who were not sitting A-level exams could use their "calculated grades" to enter universities in the Republic of Ireland this year.

But the Irish Universities Association (IUA) and Central Applications Office (CAO) have confirmed admission arrangements for Northern Irish students will continue as normal.

"For any examinations/qualifications which are normally recognised, we will continue to accept such results, provided they are formally issued by the examining bodies, in accordance with the timelines for 2020 admission," said the IUA.

Meanwhile, the CAO said: "The decision is a matter for the Higher Education Institutions, but we expect that grades issued by examining authorities will be treated as normal."

The Northern Ireland exams body, CCEA, told BBC News NI it remained in close contact with the IUA and CAO.

Timetable to exam tables

The Republic of Ireland's Minister for Education, Joe McHugh, has said this year's Leaving Cert exams will begin on Wednesday 29 July.

Speaking in the Dáil on Thursday, Mr McHugh said details about the format and timetabling of the exams would be released in the first week of June.

However, some TDs have called for the exams to be cancelled and replaced with predicted grades.

Some school principals have also said there is a need for detailed guidance on how the Leaving Certificate examinations are going to be managed.

The IUA said universities would work with the CAO to ensure new university students in Ireland could begin their studies as soon as possible after the 2020 Leaving Certificate results.

However, it remains unclear if the later Leaving Certificate exams will affect admissions for students from the Republic of Ireland who want to enter universities in Northern Ireland.