Ó Riordáin forces Dept of Education into policy change for students with hearing difficulties

25 January 2018

Labour Spokesperson on Education Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has welcomed the Department of Education and the State Examinations Commission’s decision to reverse their policy of refusing exemptions to students with hearing loss from the aural music Leaving Certificate examination.

Senator Ó Ríordáin said:

“At a recent meeting in a Northside school with a young student and her family I was stunned to learn that the Department of Education were still refusing to allow an exemption for her aural music exam. The girl in question has suffered extreme hearing loss over the last number of years and both the Department and the Commission had refused, in letters to me and to her school, to issue an exemption. Such a disability would automatically entitle the same student to an exemption from the aural examination in any language that she studied. The Department were effectively saying that hard-of-hearing students can’t study music.

“Section 9.2.4 of the State Examinations Commission document ‘Reasonable Accommodation at the 2018 Certificate Examinations’ states: “If a modified aural is not appropriate due to the candidate’s level of need than an exemption from the aural may be granted’. This however was apparently not applicable to the music examination.

“As a result of continued contact from myself and from RTE education correspondent Emma O’Kelly the Department have informed the school that they will now allow the exemption and that they are currently re-formulating their entire policy in the area.

“It is stunning that the Department have still not managed to disability-proof their examinations procedures. It makes one wonder what the point is of having a Minister for Disability when members of the opposition are doing his work for him.”

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