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ASTI changes tack and is now advising its members to comply with the Leaving Cert calculated grades system

Education Minister Joe McHugh has welcomed the development.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: PA Images

Updated May 22nd 2020, 5:32 PM

THE ASSOCIATION OF Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) is now advising its members to engage with calculated grades model for the Leaving Cert as it said it is now satisfied that “full indemnity” has been secured. 

In a statement this afternoon, the ASTI said that the Department of Education has said that Chief State Solicitor’s office will take over running the litigation in cases where a teacher may be sued over the grade they give a student. 

Last night, the ASTI said it wouldn’t be recommending its teachers comply with the predictive grades system.

Under the proposals from the Department of Education, teachers and school leaders – as they will be implementing the calculated grades process – will have arrangements put in place to extend a State indemnity to them and to the boards of management of their schools. 

The indemnity could be invoked where someone is sued in their own capacity. Last night, the ASTI described the situation as inadequate.

However, on foot of discussions with the government today, it is now satisfied that teachers will be fully indemnified.

It said in a statement: “[Our] concerns related to the potential for teachers to have to bear legal costs should civil proceedings be taken against them arising from discharge of their functions under the calculated grades model.

The ASTI has now secured the necessary clear assurances and clarifications that will allow for teachers to proceed with the work without fear of negative financial consequences.

Education Minister Joe McHugh has welcomed the development. 

A department spokesperson said “clarifications have also been provided to the TUI, whose members are already engaged in this work in schools, and further ongoing engagement will be maintained with both ASTI and TUI”.

‘Delighted’ 

McHugh 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 Department today hosted the eighth meeting of the advisory group of stakeholders as part of continued planning in relation to the State Examinations during the Covid-19 response.

The advisory group was provided with an update on the implementation of the calculated grades system, which will be operated by a newly established Calculated Grades Executive Office within the department. 

The department’s spokesperson added that an update was also provided regarding the online portal for Leaving Certificate students which will be open from Tuesday, 26 May.

“Students in the first instance will be requested to use the portal to confirm the level at which they indicated they would be taking the examinations in each subject,” they said.

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With reporting by Órla Ryan 

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Sean Murray

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