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Norma Foley urges 'as many Leaving Cert students as possible' to sit exams in June

The Minister for Education Norma Foley is urging this year's Leaving Cert students to opt to sit ...
Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

10.55 13 Mar 2021


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Norma Foley urges 'as many Lea...

Norma Foley urges 'as many Leaving Cert students as possible' to sit exams in June

Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

10.55 13 Mar 2021


Share this article


The Minister for Education Norma Foley is urging this year's Leaving Cert students to opt to sit the state exams in June.

Sixth year students have until Tuesday to register whether they want to sit the exams or receive predicted grades, or both.

The Leaving Cert 2021 candidate portal closes on March 16th at 6pm.

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All students must register, enter their subjects and confirm how they wish to be assessed.

Minister Foley said that it was "a wonderful opportunity" for this year's cohort to choose to receive predicted grades or undertake the exams in June.

"Personally I would be advocating that as many students as possible would take the exams in June," she said in an interview with Spin SouthWest.

"I would be urging students to give themselves the best opportunity and they would perhaps sign up for both or make an adjudication that would determine that whatever the outcome is, it is the best possible outcome and opportunity for the students themselves."

The Minister also said that students' wellbeing is paramount.

"I appreciate that this has been a very difficult time for all of society but particularly so for students and I think students have been absolutely magnificent in how they have dealt with the whole COVID-19 situation," she stated.

File photo. Credit: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

The measures implemented in the educational sector over the past year have been "an extraordinary achievement" by the school community and students, she added.

"We were very conscious in the first instance when schools reopened in September that students had lost a considerable amount of time from the previous March, particularly for our exam students," she said.

"Significant accommodations were put in place early in the year for the Leaving Certificate class of 2021, such as modifications to papers and changing of coursework deadlines.

"But equally I'm very conscious of the mental health and wellbeing of students, I'm very conscious that we should have significant provisions for that in our schools.

"This year I was very pleased to announce there was an addition 120 guidance counsellors appointed to our schools, there was also an additional 70 psychologists appointed, and also significant resources were provided online to support schools as well."

Minister Foley added that the Government website has a number of tips on how students can manage and improve their wellbeing.

As for fifth year students, the Minister said she is "very aware" of their loss of in-person teaching time.

As a result of this, she confirmed that those students will receive accommodations in Leaving Cert 2022.

"I am conscious of what they have lost and suitable accommodation will be made for that going forward as well as they would face into the Leaving Certificate next September," she said.

The educational sector has shown great resilience in the face of an unpredictable virus, she said, and that "all has been done" to meet the challenges as they arise.

leaving cert A hand sanitiser station inside a school. Photo: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

COVID-19 in schools

Meanwhile, the Association of Secondary Teachers has said it is happy with COVID-19 numbers in schools since their phased reopening began.

There have been six outbreaks of the virus linked to schools since over 300,000 students returned last week, while NPHET says the clusters are very small and only account for about ten cases.

All primary school pupils will go back on Monday, along with fifth year students.

ASTI President, Ann Piggott, told Newstalk Breakfast with Susan Keogh they are concerned about the variants but will monitor the coronavirus cases carefully.

"The UK variant, when it came along, it rose slowly and now it's responsible for most cases," she said.

"But likewise, there's a Brazilian variant, a South African variant, a Nigerian variant, and I do think the health authorities are very worried and are keeping a close eye.

"But the phased reopening at least will help to monitor the numbers and we'll see where we go after Easter."

Main image: Minister for Education Norma Foley briefing the media following a Cabinet meeting at Government Buildings, Dublin. Picture by: Julien Behal Photography / RollingNews.ie

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