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Leaving Cert results date: ASTI criticises announcement but says 'at least there's now certainty'

The publication of this year’s results will not be available until 7 September.

Minister for Edcucation Norma Foley expressed sympathy with students following the news
Minister for Edcucation Norma Foley expressed sympathy with students following the news
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Updated Jul 17th 2020, 11:27 AM

THE LARGEST SECONDARY schools teachers’ union has said that it was ‘disappointing’ the way news of the Leaving Cert results day was announced, but that there is at least now certainty of the timeline. 

Opposition parties have criticised the government’s announcement last night that this year’s results will not be available until 7 September, with the first round of CAO offers coming four days later.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sarah McInerney, deputy general secretary of the ASTI Diarmaid de Paor said it would have been better had stakeholders been given more advance notice of the announcement. 

“We would welcome the certainty that at least now people know, but a terrible pity it has to be so long. We don’t know why it’s so long,” de Paor said. 

He added that teachers have “done their work” to get the results out:

The results certainly have come out from the schools as fast as they could. So the teachers and the schools have done their work, I’m sure there are good reasons why it’s delayed but it’s very unfortunate. I would echo also that this will obviously add to the stress, the period of stress for students. But I’d say at least now they know when and hopefully that will at least we’ll be stuck to. 

De Paor also said that students traditionally go to their school to collect their results but this will be doubly-difficult this year because of Covid-19 restrictions and also because teachers will have been involved formulating the results.  

“That was going to be problematic probably this year anyway because students may have felt that the teachers gave them the mark, although there’s a long distance between the teachers mark and the mark they get from the State.

“But there’s a pastoral care element that a lot of teachers and principals are very keen on, that students who may be disappointed or whatever, that they have somebody there to talk their options through.”

 

Integrity

Speaking earlier this morning, Minister for Education Norma Foley said that delaying the release of this year’s Leaving Certificate results will allow the process to be carried out with integrity.

Foley also sought to reassure students who were anxious about the later release of this year’s results, claiming they will have a full opportunity to take up a course in the next academic year. 

An opportunity for students to appeal their Calculated Grades will not begin until 14 September, just days before many college courses around the country begin.

And speaking on Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio One this morning, Foley would not say when the second round of CAO offers, which would potentially allow students to take up a course that they missed out on in the first round, would begin. 

“I’ve every confidence that… the students will have maximum opportunity to take up offers that they might wish to take up,” she said.

The minister also defended the quick turnaround time between courses being offered and their commencement that would now occur as a result of the delayed results.

Although acknowledging that the time-frame would be short and that it would be a stressful time for students and parents, Foley said that “we are living in extraordinary circumstances”.

“I’ve dealt with students all my life and I know it’s a time of high anxiety, but there is an assurance here that the process is continuing as it should continue,” she said.

Last night, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said the decision was a blow to students and to their families.

“This is yet another example of a Department stumbling from crisis to crisis,” he said.

“This is a hugely disappointing turn of events for students and it adds to the uncertainty, stress and anxiety they have had to face during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Labour’s spokesperson on Further, Higher Education, Innovation and Research, Senator Annie Hoey said the government had questions to answer over its decision.

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““Students have had a really raw deal due to the Covid crisis and have unnecessarily suffered on account of poor decision making and weak leadership in relation to the Leaving Cert,” she said.

“The Minister needs to give them the answers they need in order to allow them to properly plan the next stage of their lives.”

- With reporting by Rónán Duffy

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