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04 Oct 2022

Louth TD calls for a decision to be made on Leaving Cert

Louth TD Peter Fitzpatrick has said a decision needs to be made by the Government on the future of the Leaving Cert exams by the end of the month.

The Dundalk TD called on the Department of Education to give students clarity as to whether the State exams could go ahead or whether they would be cancelled and replaced by calculated grades.

Deputy Fitzpatrick said Education Minister Norma Foley has the opinion that the Leaving Cert “must go ahead at all costs” but he insisted it is the “wrong message” to send out and alternatives need to be put in place in case it is not safe for the exams to take place due to Covid-19.

Deputy Fitzpatrick, speaking in the Dáil last week, said: “We have sixth year students who do not know if the leaving certificate is going to go ahead at all.

“This is completely unfair not only to them but also to the teaching staff.

“There is no point in saying something one day and then something completely different a few days later.

“The bottom line is that a firm decision needs to be made now.

“There is no point in dragging this on for weeks on end and creating uncertainty among students and staff.

“The very latest date for a firm decision is the end of January as to whether the leaving certificate is going to go ahead or not.

“From her comments, I know the Minister is of the opinion that the leaving certificate must go ahead at all costs.

“This is the wrong message to send out.

“If it is not safe to hold the leaving certificate, then alternatives must be provided.

“There is no point in waiting until the last minute to decide.”

Deputy Fitzpatrick, who said he has been inundated with concerns from students, parents and staff, urged Minister Foley to give clarity  on the situation by the end of January at the very latest.

The Taoiseach Micheal Martin and Minister Foley have said repeatedly that it is their intention to hold the “traditional” Leaving Cert in June, as the calculated grades process resulted in errors caused by incorrect code in the standardisation algorithm.

However, a vast majority of students want to be given the option to choose between a Leaving Cert exam and calculated grades, a survey revealed recently.

More than 81 per cent of students want a choice between calculated grades or sitting exams in person in June, according to a report by the Irish-Second Level Students’ Union (ISSU).

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