Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

15.56 22 May 2020


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Secondary school teachers with the ASTI are now set to proceed with calculating grades for their Leaving Cert students, after the union said a row with the Government over legal protections has been resolved.

The ASTI (Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland) said 'full indemnity' has now been secured for their members.

The union had yesterday advised its members not to take part until they were fully protected against any legal actions arising from the marks they hand out.

It said an indemnity announced by the Department of Education yesterday protects schools and principals, but could have seen teachers left to pay their own legal costs if a student decides to sue over their grades.

A meeting has been taking place between union and department officials this afternoon.

The union now says it now has all the "necessary clear assurances and clarifications" it was looking for.

In a statement, the ASTI said: "Crucially, the Department of Education and Skills has given an undertaking that in all cases where the indemnity applies, the Chief State Solicitor’s Office will take over the running of the litigation.

"This strengthening of the indemnity will ensure that a teacher will not have to employ her/ his own legal team to defend herself/ himself and run the risk of incurring large irrecoverable costs and expenses.

"The ASTI is now in a position to advise its members to engage with the Calculated Grades for Leaving Certificate 2020 model."

Education Minister Joe McHugh said he's confident all issues have now been resolved.

He said: "“My concern in establishing the model for calculated grades has always been the needs of the Leaving Certificate students who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have always sought to put their interests at the heart of this.

“I am delighted to be able to reassure them that the process will move ahead speedily."

The Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI), the other major secondary school teachers union in the country, had not raised the same objections to yesterday's indemnity announcement.

They instead welcomed the legal protections being offered by the Department of Education.

Additional reporting by Michael Staines
Main image: File photo. Picture by: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

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