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Leaving Cert 2021: Results to be delayed until September for second year in a row

Students will receive their results on 3 September this year.

Image: Shutterstock

LEAVING CERTIFICATE STUDENTS will get their results on 3 September, several weeks later than normal.

Students this year have the option of sitting the written exams in June or receiving calculated grades – now called “accredited grades” instead.

They can opt to sit the exam or receive an accredited grade for each subject, and if they do both, they will receive the higher of the two results.

Results will be issued to students directly through the Candidate Self-Service Portal.

In a press statement, Minister for Education Norma Foley said: “The usual helplines and supports will be in place for students on results day and beyond. I will be in contact with schools asking them to ensure that guidance support is available to students at this time.

“I would like to take this opportunity once again to stress how important it is that students taking the examinations continue to follow the public health advice and limit their contacts as the examinations approach and during the examination period.”

Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire criticised the decision to release results later than usual.

Ó Laoghaire said in a statement: “3rd September is three weeks later than normal. That is crucial time lost, where students could have time to make an informed decision on whether they want to accept their 3rd level offer.

“I am concerned that this process will be very rushed and stressful for students, not least trying to find accommodation for the year in such a short timeframe. It also leaves a very tight timeline for the outcome of any appeals.

Ó Laoghaire added that students who intend to go to college in the UK or Europe may not be able to accept their places in time.

“Some of these courses begin on 1st September, before the results are even proposed to be issued here. They will no doubt be very worried now, that the delays might cause them to miss out.

“I am concerned that the Department hasn’t given enough thought to those students who are not applying through CAO.

“The timing of this announcement”, he said, “couldn’t be worse; just a week before the written Leaving Cert exams are set to begin, where students are already under extreme pressure and stress.”

Labour’s Education Spokersperson Aodhán Ó Riordáin said that “this decision will unnecessarily push students into snap decisions, with no space for reflection, organisation, orientation or to secure accommodation”.

Students at UL and NUI Galway are due to start on 6 September, while UCC, UCD and Trinity College Dublin are all due to start teaching on September 13th.

“The September 3rd date is just not going to work for the class of 2021 and something has to give”, Ó Riordáin said. “Minister Foley and Minister Harris are going to have to open lines of communication. This group of students can’t continue to be victims of poor planning by this Government.”

Some 88% of Leaving Certificate students want to sit exams and receive accredited grades in at least one subject, according to provisional figures from the State Examinations Commission in April.

Just 2% of students opted to only sit exams and not receive accredited grades, while 5% opted for accredited grades and no exams.

Nearly two out of five students registered to take Leaving Certificate Irish have chosen not to sit the exam.

Some 38% – 19,185 out of 50,708 – have chosen not to sit the Irish exam and only receive an accredited grade, while 58% will both sit the exam and receive an accredited grade.

946 students, or 2%, will take the Irish exam and have turned down the option of an accredited grade.

The majority of students taking the Leaving Certificate this year have opted for a combination of sitting exams and receiving accredited grades across their subjects.

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Of all subjects, Irish has the highest proportion of students choosing not to sit the exam.

The Leaving Certificate was cancelled last year due to the pandemic, and a system of calculated grades was put in place instead.

Grade inflation occurred as a result, and the minimum points required for many third-level courses went up.

Several weeks after results went out, it was announced that 7,200 Leaving Certificate grades had been affected by the errors in the calculated grades system.

Two errors were identified in the system, one identified by private company Polymetrica and the second by Department of Education officials.

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