Jack Quann
Jack Quann

07.40 11 May 2020


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The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) says it wants the immediate introduction of safeguards against lobbying or canvassing in relation to the new Leaving Certificate system.

Last week it was announced that State exams were being cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead students will receive a predicted grade by their school - and the Department of Education will finalise their result.

However there is also the option for pupils to sit the written exams at a later date.

The TUI says safeguards are needed to ensure that the professional integrity of teachers is protected in the context of the calculated grades.

The union says it is also seeking to ensure that the system is made fair and equitable for every student - regardless the school that they attend.

TUI President Seamus Lahart says: "While the clear preference of the TUI has always been that the written examinations would proceed, regrettably this has proved to be not possible due to public health advice.

"Recognising this, the executive committee of the union decided on Friday that members would engage with calculated grades to allow students to progress with their lives.

"However, we are now seeking urgent clarifications and clearer guidance on a range of issues.

"Crucially, a protocol that protects teachers from any form of lobbying or canvassing in relation to their role in terms of the system of calculated grades must immediately be introduced by the Department of Education and Skills.

"The professional integrity and independence of teachers must be protected.

"They should not be subject to any undue pressure whatsoever in relation to their role.

"The TUI’s call for a protocol also envisages protection for students, as to favour one would be to put others at a disadvantage."

He also says they must ensure that this emergency system is fair for all students, "irrespective of their socioeconomic background or the school that they attend."

"No student should be further disadvantaged as a result of the cancellation of the written examinations.

"Finally, it is important to state again that while we recognise the exceptional circumstances of this year, implementation of these measures on an emergency basis will not and cannot be regarded as a precedent, and this is acknowledged by all parties, including the department and the minister".

Main image: Students from Belvedere College secondary school in Dublin doing the English paper in the 2005 Leaving Cert. Picture by: RollingNews.ie

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