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Current fifth years to receive accommodations in Leaving Certificate 2022 due to loss of in-person learning

Minister for Education Norma Foley has said that she is “very aware” of the loss of in-person teaching that current fifth year students have experienced.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

LEAVING CERTIFICATE ACCOMMODATIONS are to be put in place for current fifth year students when they sit the exams next year to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.

Students taking the Leaving Certificate in 2022 can expect to receive “suitable accommodation” to account for time lost in classrooms while schools have been closed.

Minister for Education Norma Foley has said that she is “very aware” of the loss of in-person teaching that current fifth year students have experienced.

Speaking on Spin 1038′s Spin Ar Scoil this morning, Foley said that “as regards fifth year students, I would be very keen to say to them that I am very very aware of their loss of in-person teaching and learning experience this year, notwithstanding the work that has gone in in terms of remote teaching and learning”.

“I am conscious of what they have lost and suitable accommodation will be made for that going forward as well as they would face into the Leaving Certificate next September,” Foley said.

Accommodations made for sixth year students this year have included additional choice between questions on written papers and coursework briefs set to schools a month earlier than in a typical year.

Students taking the Leaving Cert this year can choose between sitting the exams, receiving calculated grades – now being called “accredited grades” – or both.

The best grade that gives the highest points between the options is to be the one recorded on the students’ results.

Students have a six-day window to indicate their preference on the SEC candidate portal, which opened on Wednesday and closes Tuesday, 16 March.

Oral exams and coursework are not included in the accredited grades.

Foley said that she would be “advocating for as many as possible to take the exams in June”.

“I would be urging students to give themselves the absolute best opportunity that they would perhaps sign up for both,” the minister said.

On vaccinations and teachers, Foley said that the issue was outside her remit, but that she had raised it with public health experts.

“It is within the prerogative and expertise of the expert group, as it should be, but I certainly have raised the issue of vaccinations for school staff with them,” she said.

“There has already been one review and I have no doubt that it will continue to be reviewed going forward.”

Questions were put to Foley by current sixth years, who particularly raised concerns around students’ mental health.

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Foley said that she is “very conscious that Leaving Certificate is always a difficult and challenging year for students and it brings with it its own set of anxieties and concerns, none more so really than this year and the past year when we are very much living in a Covid-19 atmosphere.

“The mental health and wellbeing of students has very much been at the forefront in all that we are doing within the department,” she said.

“It was for that reason we wanted to provide for students the opportunity to choose the state examination accredited grade, or the Leaving Certificate exams in June, or to opt for both.”

Sixth years, along with half of primary school students, returned to schools for the first time since Christmas on 1 March.

Schools for children with special needs also reopened at full capacity at the start of the month.

Fifth years and other primary school classes are due to return on Monday, with other secondary year groups resuming on 12 April after the Easter break.

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