Pathway for in-school tuition for Leaving Cert students must be investigated

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
05 January 2021
  • Investigation required into the possibility of providing in-school tuition for Leaving Cert 2021
  • The class of 2021 missed 11 weeks of in-school tuition in 2020, and will potentially miss a further four weeks in 2021
  • Minister for Education must find solutions and communicate clearly with students and teachers

 

Labour Education spokesperson, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, has called on the Government and NPHET to find a path to facilitate in class tuition for Leaving Cert students who wish to avail of it.

It comes as uncertainty remains regarding the return to schools for students and teachers across the country, with no further details provided to the public on the current plan for this year’s examination groups.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“The Labour Party has already called for a public health assessment to be carried out by NPHET on whether it is safe to reopen schools next week, however it now looks like schools will remain closed for the month of January. If this is the case, a solution must be found to facilitate the option of in-school teaching for the Leaving Cert class of 2021 during the January lockdown.

“I’m calling on the Minister for Education to urge NPHET and the Department to investigate the possibility of in-class tuition for Leaving Cert students who wish to avail of it. Teachers and students throughout the country are concerned about the impact of continued school closures, and in-class teaching should be an option for students.

“The class of 2021 have already missed out on 11 weeks of classroom tuition in 2020, and, potentially, will miss another four weeks this year. This is putting this year’s cohort at a disadvantage of 16 weeks of in-class education.

“In all of this, it is vitally important to provide options to this year’s Leaving Cert students who want to attend school. We need to find a middle ground course between full closure.

“There must be efforts made to facilitate schools who believe they can deliver some in class tuition. It may be a logistical challenge for many but if a school opts in they should be facilitated by the Department.

“Consideration must be given to the potential impact of full closure on disadvantaged students, students with additional needs and the children of frontline workers. Young people over 16 are not legally required to be in school, so many at-risk students could be lost to the system entirely in a long-term lockdown scenario. If they are Leaving Cert students, they are now at risk of dropping out. We must do everything we can to support them within the school system.

“There is clear evidence from the first lockdown that students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds and those with special needs were severely impacted by the move to distance learning. We know need to find solutions to prevent that happening again.

“The Minister must urgently communicate with the students and teachers affected and find a solution to facilitate the continued in-school tuition of Leaving Cert 2021 who wish to avail of it.”

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