Six take-away points from this year’s Leaving Cert results

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 13th, 2019 by steve

Ireland1. More performing well in higher level papers. The most significant trend evident in this year’s results is a steady increase in the numbers taking higher level papers and performing well in them. This trend is evident across a wide range of subjects, particularly in the core subjects of Irish, English and maths …” (more)

[Brian Mooney, Irish Times, 13 August]

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Leaving Cert results out earlier under ‘fast-tracked’ changes

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 12th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“More than 55,000 Leaving Cert students are set to receive their exam results on Tuesday under a new fast-tracked process which will see college applicants receive their offers before the end of this week. The changes also mean students who appeal their exam grades will receive their results three weeks earlier than normal …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 12 August]

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Exemption from Irish to be made easier, education sources say

Posted in Teaching on August 12th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Pupils will be able to secure exemptions from the study of Irish without requiring psychologists’ reports under new changes being introduced from the start of the school year. It follows a Department of Education review which found evidence that the system was being ‘gamed’, with psychologists being placed under pressure by parents to give exemptions to students who did not qualify for the opt-out …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 11 August]

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Barbara Scully: ‘We are the lucky ones – but equality of access to third-level education is a myth’

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 8th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Last May, as my youngest was attending her final classes before the Leaving Cert, I wrote a piece for this paper in jubilant celebration at the end of the school run. College, I figured, would be her own business and something she could manage herself. Just like an exasperated, exhausted dragon, I was out …” (more)

[Barbara Scully, Independent, 8 August]

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Speeding up Leaving Cert corrections sparks concerns

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 5th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Speeding up the correcting process for this year’s Leaving Cert means it is unlikely that all quality assurance measures will be completed on time, according to internal State Examinations Commission (SEC) records. The results are being provided earlier than normal on foot of a High Court ruling last year which found that students should be able to take up a college place immediately if they successfully appeal their exam grades …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 5 August]

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Review supports need for continuous assessment in Leaving Cert, say principals

Posted in Teaching on July 31st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Secondary school principals say the findings of a review into the senior cycle support its calls for including continuous assessment as part of a reformed Leaving Cert. On Tuesday, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) published the findings of its interim review of the senior cycle, based on consultations with more than 2,500 students and hundreds of parents and teachers across 41 schools …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 30 July]

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Review shows students think Irish should become optional for Leaving Cert

Posted in Teaching on July 29th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Many students think Irish should become an optional subject for the Leaving Cert as a review of senior cycle education uncovers mixed views on keeping Gaeilge compulsory. Parents would also like to see students have the option to focus on five exam subjects instead of seven. Many students believe all subjects should be optional. The finding is included in a review of the existing senior cycle …” (more)

[Jess Casey,, 29 July]

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The pain of the Leaving Cert should be spread out over two years

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on June 15th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“From a sample size of three, I have decided that the Leaving Cert is by far the most punishing way of getting into university. Our children were mostly home-educated and – so far – have all taken different routes to third level: A-levels, QQI-FET courses and, this June, the Leaving Cert …” (more)

[Breda O’Brien, Irish Times, 15 June]

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Universities call for more money as Leaving Cert numbers rise

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on June 5th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Universities say the surge in Leaving Cert candidate numbers evident this year must trigger an increase in Government funding to cater for student demand coming down the tracks. More than 124,000 students start the State exams today, the highest figure in years, and one that will continue growing until the mid 2020s at least …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 5 June]

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Number of students sitting Leaving Cert surges to highest level in 15 years thanks to Millennium ‘baby boom’

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on June 4th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Leaving Cert candidate numbers have surged to their highest level in 15 years, with a hike in ambitious students planning to sit subjects at ‘honours’ level. The baby boom children from the turn of the millennium are now reaching the end of their school years, meaning entries are up 3% …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 4 June]

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CAO points race is distorting the true meaning of education

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on June 3rd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“With this year’s State examinations almost upon us, and a review of the senior cycle underway, it is perhaps timely to consider how that review should proceed. The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) represents second level teachers as well as teachers in further and adult education and third level lecturers …” (more)

[Seamus Lahart, Irish Times, 3 June]

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Teachers say junior-cycle science curriculum being ‘dumbed down’

Posted in Teaching on June 3rd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Science teachers say a new science curriculum for pupils completing the junior cycle amounts to a ‘dumbing down’ of the subject. The finding is contained in a report by the Irish Science Teachers’ Association based on a survey of more than 700 teachers …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 3 June]

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Leaving Cert students who suffer bereavement can defer exams

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on May 31st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Leaving Cert pupils who suffer bereavement of close relatives during next month’s exams will be able to sit alternative papers in July. The new move follows long-standing criticism over the existing system which offered little accommodation for bereaved students …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 31 May]

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The Leaving Cert might not be perfect but it is fairer than many other systems

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on May 31st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“June heralds not only the beginning of the Leaving Certificate but also the annual debate about whether the high stake exams are still fit for purpose. The typical complaints are that the Leaving Certificate causes too much stress and that it fails to develop critical thinking among students …” (more)

[, 31 May]

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State exams commission and Minister win limited appeal against Carter judgment

Posted in Legal issues on May 29th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The State Examinations Commission (SEC) and the Minister for Education and Skills have succeeded in their limited appeals against parts of a High Court decision allowing student Rebecca Carter to take up a place at veterinary medicine at UCD …” (more)

[Aodhan O’Faolain, Irish Times, 29 May]

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State Examinations Commission appeals for teachers to mark exams

Posted in Teaching on May 24th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Education authorities have launched an urgent appeal for teachers to mark the Leaving Cert and Junior Cert with just over a week to go before the start of the exams. The State Examinations Commission has asked principals to assist in hiring teachers – including retired teachers and newly qualified teachers – to mark exams which are due to get underway in under a fortnight …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 24 May]

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Examiner shortage poses ‘challenge’ to State exam standards

Posted in Teaching on May 7th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“A shortage of teachers prepared to work as examiners is posing a ‘significant challenge’ to the maintenance of standards in correcting the State exams, according to internal records. The State Examinations Commission, which has responsibility for organising the Junior and Leaving Cert, has been struggling in recent years to recruit teachers to correct exam papers …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 7 May]

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The Leaving Certificate

Posted in Teaching on May 2nd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Further to Barry O’Callaghan’s article of April 30th (‘The Leaving Cert is failing our children – here’s how to fix it’, Education Opinion, April 30th), could I suggest that the next time a column appears in The Irish Times in which the writer puts forward the proposition that the Leaving Cert is not fit for purpose …” (more)

[Greg Foley, Irish Times, 2 May]


Yet more thoughts on the Leaving Cert

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on April 30th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“This is an analysis (fisk?) of this article in the Irish Times by Barry O’Callaghan, former principal and chair of the National Association Association of Principals and Deputies (NAPD) leading for learning committee …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 30 April]


The Leaving Cert is failing our children – here’s how to fix it

Posted in Teaching on April 30th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Anna sat the Leaving Certificate in the summer of 2017 and secured a place in Trinity. She got 580 points, was pleased with her results, yet her next words nailed the problem: ‘If I was to sit it today, I wouldn’t get 200 points’. Four months on, she had forgotten what she had memorised …” (more)

[Barry O’Callaghan, Irish Times, 30 April]