Faster Leaving Certificate appeals process announced

It follows a High Court case, taken by student Rebecca Carter

Faster Leaving Certificate appeals process announced

Pupils from Trinity Comprehensive in Ballymun prepare to sit a Leaving Cert exam in 2017 | Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The Government has announced that students who appeal the results of the Leaving Certificate will get a much faster result in future.

Significant changes have been outlined to the process of Leaving Cert appeals and entry to higher education.

In cases where students have applied for course places through the Central Applications Office (CAO), and where their appeal result means they could obtain a higher course preference, they will in most cases now be able to take up that preference in the current academic year, rather than have their offer deferred by a year.

The higher education institutions (HEIs) will also strengthen structured supports provided for those appeal students who begin a higher education course shortly after first year has begun.

In 2019, no first year undergraduate academic classes in HEIs will start earlier than the second week of September.

While the results of the Leaving Cert appeals will be released to students in the week beginning September 16th - three weeks earlier than the normal time frame.

The Department of Education says: "This fundamental re-engineering of the appeals process includes a combination of earlier releases of provisional results of the Leaving Certificate and of CAO Round 1 offers to students, bringing forward the process whereby students are able to view their examination scripts in advance of deciding to submit an appeal, having appeals examiners mark scripts on a full-time basis rather than only at evenings and weekends, and a streamlining of the overall appeals logistics."

Rebecca Carter, pictured outside the High Court in Dublin, took a case against the against the State Examinations Commission earlier this year and won | Image: Newstalk

In 2019, provisional Leaving Cert results will be issued on Tuesday, August 13th - while CAO Round 1 offers will be issued by Friday August 16th.

The department says it hopes the planned movement of the examinations marking system - from a paper-based to an online model - over the next three years could further improve the appeals time frame.

The changes follow on from a recent High Court case, taken by student Rebecca Carter.

She claimed that the current time frame for Leaving Cert appeals meant that, in the event of a successful appeal, she would not have been able to start her course in the current academic year - but would have had to accept a deferred offer for the following year.

In his judgement, Mr Justice Humphreys said the current system was highly unfair to students and cannot be repeated.

The judge also ordered the State Examinations Commission (SEC) to accelerate completion of the appeal process on behalf of Ms Carter.

Following this, she was successful in her appeal and was offered a place in Veterinary Medicine in UCD - which she took up on October 1st.