Still no decision on Leaving Cert following advisory group meeting 6 months ago

Still no decision on Leaving Cert following advisory group meeting

Leaving Cert students are still in the dark.

There is still no concrete plan for this year's Leaving Cert examinations, following a meeting of relevant stakeholders today, including Minister for Education Joe McHugh.

The Leaving Cert, which typically starts in June, have been thrown into disarray by the Covid-19 crisis, and students are no closer to knowing when they will be expected to sit the decisive exams.

According to a statement from the Department of Education, today's meeting discussed "practicalities of holding the Leaving Certificate examinations, given the constraints of social distancing and other measures that may be required, based on the available medical advice.

"Alternative assessment models" were also discussed. Though no specifics were provided in the statement, predicted grades have been mooted as one possible solution.

The advisory group in attendance at today's meeting consisted of representatives for students, parents, teachers, school leadership and management bodies, the State Examinations Commission, the National Educational Psychological Service, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and the Department itself. Representatives for the Higher Education Authority observed the meeting.

Minister McHugh said: "I want to thank the members of the group for their ongoing engagement and support for the work on hand. Discussions here today will assist in making decisions regarding arrangements for the Leaving Certificate that have students’ best interests at heart and that are guided at all times by the public health advice."

However, indecision on the matter of the Leaving Cert has been challenged by other TDs. Labour education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said: "The Minister’s delays and failure to communicate clearly have already failed this year’s cohort of students. The Government must make a decision now and stop the agony of uncertainty that is causing untold stress for tens of thousands of young people."

A study undertaken by the Irish Second-Level Students' Union found that, out of 24,000 respondents, 79% wanted the exams to be cancelled and for a predicted grading model to be used.