Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon has called for the new phase of planning for the State examinations to be expedited to end the ongoing uncertainty for Leaving Certificate students.

Minister Foley today confirmed that a new phase of planning would include both the provision of Leaving Certificate examinations while also exploring a corresponding non-examination process.

Commenting, Deputy Gannon, who is the party’s spokesperson for Education, said:

“It’s welcome that the Minister is finally listening to the representations of students and their calls for a hybrid model when it comes to the 2021 examinations. However, the Department must work extremely quickly to ensure that both modes of assessment – the Leaving Certificate written examinations and the corresponding measure – reach the appropriate standard required to assess our students.

“Neither last year’s predictive grades model nor the traditional Leaving Certificate examinations can be used without extreme modification and this needs to be communicated and clarified with students and schools quickly. It is vital that everybody knows what they are working towards – and the clock is ticking.

“We must ensure that either mode of assessment does not disadvantage or disfranchise our most vulnerable students. Representatives from Higher and Further Education also need to be included extensively in these conversations about assessments.

“It’s concerning that Junior Certificate and Leaving Cert Applied students are still in the dark as to what arrangements will be put in place for them.

“It is regrettable that this situation was not avoided by contingency or alternative plans being put in place earlier by the Department of Education.

“The Department must now put the wellbeing and needs of the students ahead of everything else by reaching a workable solution in the shortest possible timeframe. While any progress is welcome, it is important that we do not lose momentum at this crucial juncture.”

February 5, 2021

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