Questions Minister must answer on Leaving Cert 2020

08 May 2020

Labour Party Education spokesperson, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, has said there is a need for urgent answers today from the Minister for Education and the Taoiseach on the follow on impact of cancelling the Leaving Cert, and said that students, parents and teachers need legal certainty on the Plan B.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“If the Cabinet decides to cancel the Leaving Certificate today then the Minister and the Taoiseach must provide legal certainty and urgent answers. We can’t have a situation today that creates even more uncertainty.

1. What was the basis for cancelling the Leaving Certificate – was it for public health reasons and if so on whose advice; or was it administrative because they couldn’t put processes in place? We need to know if this is a political decision or if formal advise has been given to the Cabinet?

2. Is predictive grading legal, and will legislation be required to underwrite any temporary system?

3. The Minister is obliged under law to hold a state examination of secondary school students, so will predictive grading meet that requirement?

4. Will the system for predictive grading be prescribed by regulation and how will students that pursued their own subjects like foreign languages be assessed?

5. What will happen for teachers who are not comfortable or willing to grade their own students?

6. The Labour Party is opposed to school profiling. Research from the UK shows high achieving students from low income homes were more likely to be under predicted. That is why I am also absolutely opposed to the concept of school profiling. We also have a large number of new schools with no long term record. How will the Minister seek to remedy this particular issue? Has it been proofed by the social inclusion section of the Department of Education?

7. What is the status of the certificate that will be awarded this year? Will it meet the requirement for applying for public sector jobs? It is set down by statutory instrument the grades you need for entry to An Garda Síochána and nursing.

8. Will equality legislation be amended to ensure in future that employers cannot discriminate when hiring someone on the basis of their Leaving Cert from 2020 versus any other year?

“The Minister for Education needs to have solid answers to these questions over the coming days. The Labour Party is insisting that the Minister for Education answer questions on the Leaving Certificate and the implications of the proposal set to be approved by Cabinet today in the Dáil as early as possible next week to give clarity to students, parents and teachers.”

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