Leaving Cert student decision taken without NPHET consultation must be reversed

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
07 January 2021
  • Decision was well intentioned but ill-judged
  • Any decision to facilitate in-class teaching must be made in consultation with unions
  • Minister must now make a decision regarding this year’s Leaving Cert examinations

Following yesterday’s announcement by the Minister for Education to allow in-class teaching for Leaving Cert students, Labour Education Spokesperson, Aódhán Ó Ríordáin TD, has called for the Minister to reverse the decision. The decision, taken without agreement with unions or NPHET, is yet another example of this Government’s constant firefighting.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said: “While I acknowledge that the Minister’s decision to allow for in-class teaching for Leaving Cert students was well intentioned, it is now clear that this decision was made without consultation with unions or NPHET advice. The Minister needs to listen to teachers, students and the NPHET advice, and reverse this decision immediately.

“The Labour Party continues to call for cohorts of young people to be facilitated with in-class learning rather than blanket school lockdowns, however this should only be carried out with agreement of teachers’ unions and NPHET. Schools are essential to our young people, but only if it is safe to attend. I am particularly conscious of the effect that school closures have on certain groups of students – disadvantaged students, students with special needs, children of frontline workers and the Leaving Cert class of 2021.

“Leaving Cert students throughout the country are now really concerned. We need to remember that this group have already missed 11 weeks of in-class teaching last year, and are now facing further disruption.

“There now needs to be clarity from the Minister regarding the sitting of this year’s Leaving Cert. A discussion needs to take place about whether it can happen at all, listening to students, teachers and all relevant stakeholders. The Minister needs to step up for the class of 2021 and make an early decision to end the constant uncertainty. I am calling on the Minister of Education to communicate a definitive decision to Leaving Cert students by the end of February. We can’t have a repeat of last year’s mess for our young people.”

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