Amid expectations that the Cabinet will sign off on a dual approach to the Leaving Certificate this week, Social Democrats Education spokesperson Gary Gannon TD has called for clarity, communication and contingency for any assessment plans.

Commenting today, Deputy Gannon said:

“Leaving Certificate students have made their voices heard in terms of what they want but now we need urgent clarity and clear communication on what the dual approach to the Leaving Certificate assessment will look like from the Department, who have committed to providing options for sixth year students.

“The clock is ticking and every day that passes without an announcement adds to the already high levels of stress and anxiety on students. This is a direct result of the Government’s failure to prepare for this scenario.

“There needs to be contingency plans built into the arrangements for this year’s assessments. We need to know, for instance, if the case numbers start to rise again, how does this impact the assessments? If there is an outbreak in a school, what happens? How does the assessment take place under each level safely?

“The Government did not learn from last time and failed to prepare – it cannot fail again.

“There are many logistical questions that are completely unanswered, especially in relation to oral, aural and practical coursework for examinations. Clarity is needed here, including for students completing the Leaving Certificate Applied and Junior Certificate.

“When students can go back into school buildings, their wellbeing should be the top priority – not cramming for assessments. However, at the moment, the biggest wellbeing issue is uncertainty. Once clarity, communication and contingency are brought into play, I believe students’ wellbeing can start to improve.”

Earlier today, Deputy Gannon also called for a special taskforce to be established for young people to acknowledge and mitigate against the trauma and anxiety caused by Covid-19.

February 16, 2021

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