Almost £4m for extra university places in NI

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on September 12th, 2020 by steve

“Almost £4 million is being provided to create extra university places following the cancellation of A-levels in Northern Ireland. This includes medical, nursing and midwifery courses, Finance Minister Conor Murphy said …” (more)

[Michael McHugh, Belfast Telegraph, 11 September]

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Magee won’t expand unless number of uni students in NI is increased, says SDLP’s Rory Farrell

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on September 2nd, 2020 by steve

“Earlier this year, Colr Farrell tabled a motion calling on the Economy Minister to ‘make the necessary adjustments to the Maximum Student Numbers for exclusive use in Derry to allow planned expansion to become a reality’ …” (more)

[Derry Journal, 1 September]

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‘I urge Ulster University to allocate an additional MaSN to the Magee campus’

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 22nd, 2020 by steve

“The oversubscription to Ulster University and Queen’s due to this week’s A-Level u-turn could be eased by raising the Maximum Student Number (MaSN) cap and allocating more places to Magee …” (more)

[Kevin Mullan, Derry Journal, 21 August]

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Calls for cap on places at QUB and Ulster University to be removed

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 19th, 2020 by steve

“The Stormont Economy Minister is facing calls to remove the cap on the number of students which Northern Ireland’s universities can accept. Trade union NIC ICTU has urged Diane Dodds to make the move after Education Minister Peter Weir reversed the decision which saw thousands of A-level grades reduced from teacher estimates …” (more)

[Rebecca Black, Belfast Telegraph, 19 August]

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NI grades u-turn could cause problem for universities

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 18th, 2020 by steve

“Queen’s University in Belfast has said it may have to offer courses to up to 1,000 extra students whose A-level grades will improve after changes to the way results are calculated. The Stormont Executive contributes around £4,000 to the annual fee for each local undergraduate in Northern Ireland, so an additional £4m would be required to cover the cost of those extra places …” (more)

[Vincent Kearney, RTÉ News, 18 August]

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A-levels: Queen’s University seeks ‘urgent clarity’ over U-turn

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 18th, 2020 by steve

“Queen’s University Belfast is seeking ‘clarity as a matter of urgency’ after changes to A-level grades. The university warned it may need between 500 to 1,000 extra places to admit all affected students, at a cost of about £4,000 per student. Ulster University said it still had places available …” (more)

[Robbie Meredith, BBC News, 18 August]

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Students plan protest over Northern Ireland A-Level exams debacle

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 16th, 2020 by steve

“Students are planning a protest at Stormont this week with the Northern Ireland Assembly set to be recalled over the A-level results fiasco. DUP Education Minister Peter Weir has come under increasing pressure as anger grows about almost 11,000 grades being slashed by a computer algorithm after exams were cancelled due to Covid-19 …” (more)

[Peter Moor, Belfast Telegraph, 16 August]

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North’s education minister resists calls to scrap A-Level grades

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 15th, 2020 by steve

“Solely using teacher estimates to allocate A-level grades in Northern Ireland would lack any level of credibility, the North’s education minister has insisted. Giving evidence to his Stormont scrutiny committee, Peter Weir resisted calls to scrap the results allocated to pupils using a standardisation calculation model and replace them with the grades predicted by their teachers …” (more)

[Irish Times, 14 August]

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Education Minister Peter Weir in eye of the storm over A-level results grading ‘farce’

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 14th, 2020 by steve

“Education Minister Peter Weir is facing calls to scrap this year’s controversial A-level results – or reconsider his position – following a backlash from principals and pupils …” (more)

[Claire McNeilly, Belfast Telegraph, 13 August]

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It is time to end the idiotic cap on the number of local students Northern Ireland’s universities can admit …

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 14th, 2020 by steve

“Many of us have a low opinion of Stormont at the best of times but along comes a story that highlights the utter head-bangingly stupid nature of some of their more crazy decisions. Writing in today’s Irish Times Newton Emerson highlights the issue of the cap on local students …” (more)

[Brian O’Neill, Slugger O’Toole, 13 August]


Unhappy Northern Ireland students could challenge exam grading system in court: warning

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Legal issues on August 11th, 2020 by steve

“GCSE and A-level results could be mired in controversy after claims that some children will be disadvantaged simply because of the school they attend and grades could be appealed through the courts. This year because of the coronavirus pandemic children were unable to take key exams …” (more)

[Andrew Madden, Belfast Telegraph, 11 August]

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Universities: English Students

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on June 25th, 2020 by steve

Daniel McCrossan (Social Democratic and Labour Party): Mr McCrossan asked the Minister for the Economy what steps she plans to take in response to the UK Government’s decision to restrict the number of English students able to study at local universities …” (more)

[Northern Ireland Assembly, 23 June]

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‘Programme for Government: Our Shared Future’ (June 2020)

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration, Legal issues, Research, Teaching on June 17th, 2020 by steve

IrelandThe full (draft) Programme is here; extracts related to third level are here.

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Predicting exam grades for Northern Ireland students is like playing God, says teacher

Posted in Teaching on April 20th, 2020 by steve

“Teachers have said being asked to predict their students’ grades is ‘fundamentally unfair’. Two local teachers were among those expressing concern after Stormont Education Minister Peter Weir announced that Covid-19 restrictions mean GCSE, AS and A-level tests will be replaced by a ‘calculated grade’ that takes into account homework and mock exams …” (more)

[Jessica Black and Allan Preston, Belfast Telegraph, 20 April]

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Keeping schools open in Northern Ireland not a political decision, says minister

Posted in Governance and administration on March 17th, 2020 by steve

“Stormont’s education minister has insisted his stance on keeping schools open is not political and is in line with the expert medical advice. Peter Weir was challenged during a sitting of the Assembly as to why schools, colleges and childcare facilities in Northern Ireland remain open, when in the Republic of Ireland they were all closed as part of efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak …” (more)

[Irish Examiner, 16 March]

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Coronavirus: Keeping schools open is correct call, former Health Ministers say

Posted in Governance and administration on March 14th, 2020 by steve

“Two former Health Ministers have backed the decision not to close Northern Ireland’s schools, saying the country’s top medical officers would have provided the best possible advice to the Executive on the matter …” (more)

[Ralph Hewitt, Belfast Telegraph, 13 March]

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Michelle O’Neill calls for Northern Ireland schools to close over coronavirus

Posted in Governance and administration on March 13th, 2020 by steve

“Stormont deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill has said schools, universities and colleges in Northern Ireland should close in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. She claimed the public were concerned and fearful and the difference with the Republic of Ireland’s approach was causing confusion …” (more)

[Michael McHugh, Belfast Telegraph, 13 March]

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North decides against closing schools and universities

Posted in Governance and administration on March 13th, 2020 by steve

“The Northern Ireland Executive has decided against following the lead of the Irish Government and is not ordering the closure of schools and universities in an attempt to limit the impact of the coronavirus. The North’s First Minister, Arlene Foster, also complained on Thursday evening that the Northern Executive was not informed in advance of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s decision in Washington to announce a number of actions to address the Covid-19 emergency …” (more)

[Gerry Moriarty, Irish Times, 12 March]

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Northern Ireland colleges and universities hit by rates hike

Posted in Governance and administration on February 24th, 2020 by steve

“Colleges and university campuses are facing higher rates than luxury hotels, supermarkets and football stadiums, Sunday Life can reveal. The potential increase in their annual bills may also hit Stormont’s education budget, according to a department spokesperson …” (more)

[Christopher Woodhouse, Belfast Telegraph, 23 February]

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Trinity after Brexit

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on February 1st, 2020 by steve

Ireland“What does the UK withdrawal from the EU mean for College’s relationship with Northern Ireland? The United Kingdom exited the European Union at 11pm on 31 January 2020. Sparked by a narrow victory of 51.9% for the Leave campaign in the UK’s June 2016 referendum on EU membership, the date marked the end of a period of debate and delay lasting more than three and a half years …” (more)

[Isabella Noonen, Trinity News, 1 February]

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