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Majority of parents surveyed opposed to July/August start for Leaving Cert

29 July has been pencilled in as the most likely date by which the Leaving Cert would start.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

A LARGE PROPORTION of parents of Leaving Certificate students are not in favour of the decision to defer exams until July or August, according to a survey.

Earlier this week, Minister for Education Joe McHugh said that 29 July was the most likely date by which the Leaving Cert examinations would take place.

The National Parents Council Post Primary surveyed more than 30,000 parents – including 19,000 whose children are due to sit the Leaving Cert this year. 

The survey asked: Are you happy with the Department of Education and Skills decision to defer the Leaving Certificate State Exams to July/August of 2020?

71% said ‘no’, 28% said ‘yes’ and 1% of responses were categorised as ‘unknown’. 

Asked if there was any further detail available – for instance, whether some of the respondents who said ‘no’ would have preferred a delay to a later date still or for the written exams to be scrapped and predicted grades be given instead – a spokesperson for the NPCPP said:

“There were no additional questions in the NPCPP survey, which closed yesterday evening. We received over 14,000 comments and these are currently being analysed.”

Speaking to yesterday, a number of secondary school teachers raised concerns about how practical parts of the Leaving Cert examination can be carried out in a short time span and in an environment where social distancing rules must be adhered to.

The survey was carried out by the National Parents Council Post Primary between Thursday 16 April and Wednesday 22 April.

A majority of parents with students who were due to complete the Junior Cert exams – 60% – indicated that deferral of those exams was acceptable. 

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The Junior Cert has been cancelled entirely for 2020, in favour of school-based assessments in September.

In an Instagram Live interview with SpunOut on Tuesday, McHugh said as things stood now, the Leaving Cert exams would take place, and that predictive grades were deemed an unfair method to assess sixth-year students.

“We’re looking at potentially the last week in July, the 29 July,” McHugh said.

“We’re going to be looking at the traditional format of starting on a Wednesday so students don’t face a full five days of exams in their first week.” 

“So I’ll be confirming that in a couple of days time, if that is the decision and the date.”  

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