No end in sight on Leaving Cert talking shop

05 February 2021
  • Consultation welcome but students need concrete timeline
  • Third level institutions not referenced as part of the plan
  • Where is the independent review of Leaving Cert 2020?


Labour education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD has called on the Minister for Education to set a concrete timeline for a decision regarding this year’s Leaving Cert. The Minister’s announcement that she has achieved agreement to achieve agreement has no timeline and no tangible consequence for students. The statement also begs the question, why aren’t third level institutions, the ultimate consumers of Leaving Cert results, referenced in this plan? 

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“We find ourselves with another Friday evening missive which doesn’t tell us anything new. It is clear that the Minister’s only decision is to kick this can as far down the road as possible. This issue continues to be mismanaged, and principals throughout the country are now going to spend the weekend fielding calls from anxious parents and students with no new information to provide them. 

“There is no decision on the feasibility of sitting exams, no decisions on the possibility of predicted grades, no decisions on oral and practical work and no timeline for resolution. 

“We need to be realists and look at the evidence before our eyes. Nobody believes that the orals, practicals or Junior Cycle are going ahead. Case numbers aren’t going down and meanwhile, the class of 2021 continues to miss valuable time in the classroom with their teachers and, almost more importantly, their peers. While there are many considerations at play, it’s abundantly clear that predicted grades are the only viable solution for this year’s Leaving Cert. This would be an easier decision to make had the report of the independent review into last year’s exams been published.  

“The statement from the Minister also begs the question – why aren’t third level institutions referenced in the plan? It’s bizarre that the ultimate consumer of Leaving Cert results isn’t being consulted on the method of calculation of grades. These institutions ought to have some view as to whether a substitute is fit for purpose and should be part of the process. 

“Making a decision of this gravity is not easy, but it is necessary. I’m calling on the Minister and the Taoiseach to show leadership for these students. We need a timeline to resolve this issue – when is the process going to end?”

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