State exams to have wider question choice in 2021 due to closures

Posted in Teaching on August 21st, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate candidates are to be given greater choice in next year’s State exam papers to help ease pressure on students who have lost out on months of school. It means that students completing the English exam, for example, are likely to have a much wider selection of poets and fewer mandatory questions …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 21 August]

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Junior Cycle students will not have to sit exams in the autumn – Joe McHugh

Posted in Teaching on April 29th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Junior Cycle students will not have to sit exams in the autumn, Education Minister Joe McHugh confirmed today. The only exception are adults who have returned to education to study a subject or subjects at Junior Cycle level, for whom specific arrangements will be made to sit exams early into the next academic year …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 29 April]

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Dept confirms no Junior Cert exams this year

Posted in Teaching on April 21st, 2020 by steve

“The Department of Education has confirmed that there will be no state certified Junior Certificate exams this year. It has confirmed that while Junior Certificate papers prepared by the State Examinations Commission will be sent to schools for use in school based exams in the Autumn – completed exam papers will not then be used for any form of state certification …” (more)

[Emma O Kelly, RTÉ News, 21 April]

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Time for clarity on Junior Cert plans

Posted in Teaching on April 20th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – I would like to commend Miriam Wiley for drawing attention to the fact that the needs of Junior Cert students are being not being served by the vague references to ‘school-based exams’ to replace the cancelled State examination (Letters, April 17th). I would like to point out, however, that her suggestion for the State Examination Commission (SEC) Junior Cert exam papers to be issued to schools is precisely what has been proposed to the teaching unions …” (more)

[Fionnuala English, Irish Times, 20 April]


Cancellation of the Junior Cert

Posted in Teaching on April 17th, 2020 by steve

“Sir, – There has been justified concern expressed in recent days about the postponement of the Leaving Cert exams and the difficulties posed for students and teachers. There has been very little comment regarding the plight of the Junior Cert students whose exams have been cancelled just one week after the Government committed to proceeding with these exams this year ‘by hook or by crook’ …” (more)

[Miriam Wiley, Irish Times, 17 April]

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Minister McHugh Announces Postponement of State Examinations

Posted in Teaching on April 11th, 2020 by steve

“Changes follow updated health advice regarding school closures until further notice. Leaving Certificate written examinations postponed until late July/August. Junior Cycle examinations in June replaced with school-based exams and assessments early in the new school year …” (more)

[Department of Education and Skills, 10 April]

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Leaving Cert postponed until late summer; Junior Cycle replaced with class tests

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on April 10th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“The Leaving Cert exams scheduled in June are to be postponed and will now run from late July until August, the Government has announced. The Junior Cycle, meanwhile, is set to be replaced by school-based exams which will run in the new academic year. The changes mean tens of thousands of students who are due to progress to third level and further education are likely to commence their courses much later than they originally anticipated …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 10 April]

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Leaving Cert students: ‘We just need clarity now’

Posted in Life on April 10th, 2020 by steve

“The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has reached almost every corner of Irish life. In the area of education, one group stands out is that of students who are due to sit the State examinations in just under eight weeks time. We invited Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate students to share their experiences over the last two weeks. This is a selection of their responses …” (more)

[Irish Times, 10 April]

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Clarity demanded on State exams plans as students ‘left too long without answers’

Posted in Teaching on April 9th, 2020 by steve

“Urgent clarity is needed on the plans for the State exams during the current pandemic as the current ‘complete vacuum of information’ is leaving young people stressed and distracted. That is according to the Ombudsman for Children Dr Niall Muldoon who has called for a decision to be made on the Leaving and Junior Certificate examinations …” (more)

[Jess Casey, Irish Examiner, 9 April]

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‘What do other students do while State exams are held in September?’ asks ex-education advisor

Posted in Teaching on April 9th, 2020 by steve

“State exams may now be held in late summer or autumn because of the coronavirus. The Irish Times has reported that the Government believes it is unlikely the restrictions will be lifted in time for their designated June 3 start date. Students alternatively may be assessed by predictive marking, but worries surround this option as it has never been done before in Ireland …” (more)

[, 9 April]

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State exams may be delayed until late summer or autumn

Posted in Teaching on April 9th, 2020 by steve

“State exams may now be held in late summer or autumn as the Government believes it is unlikely that Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted in time for the usual June start date. Students have been urged to continue with their studies as senior officials in the Department of Education consider a range of contingency options due to the coronavirus crisis …” (more)

[Jennifer Bray and Éanna Ó Caollaí, Irish Times, 9 April]

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Minister urges students to ‘keep studying’ as he awaits advice on Junior and Leaving Cert exams

Posted in Teaching on April 8th, 2020 by steve

“A decision on whether the State exams will go ahead is due in the coming days. It’s understood that the main priority of Education Minister Joe McHugh is that the Leaving Certificate should sit as normal, but the decision will ultimately rest on the advice of the National Public Health Emergency team …” (more)

[Aoife Moore, Irish Examiner, 8 April]

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State examinations and fairness

Posted in Teaching on April 6th, 2020 by steve

“Sir, – The Taoiseach, Minister for Education and the State Exams Commission are to be commended for confirming that the Junior Cert and Leaving Cert exams are to go ahead. This is the clarity that students, teachers and parents have requested over recent weeks. Some students are now expressing the view that the exams should not go ahead …” (more)

[Letters, Irish Times, 6 April]

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Secondary students want State exams replaced with predicted grades

Posted in Teaching on April 3rd, 2020 by steve

“Tens of thousands of secondary school students have called for this year’s State exams to be cancelled and replaced with predicted grades. In an online survey of 47,000 Junior and Leaving Cert students over the past week, the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union found that most want their grades to be based on their coursework to date due to the disruption caused by schools being closed due to the coronavirus outbreak …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 3 April]

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Government plans for Leaving Cert and Junior Cert exams to go ahead

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on April 3rd, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Plans are being developed to allow for the Leaving and Junior cert exams to go ahead this year. Yesterday, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Government wants sixth year students to be able to start college later this year …” (more)

[, 3 April]

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Varadkar says the Junior and Leaving Cert WILL definitely be going ahead this year

Posted in Teaching on April 2nd, 2020 by steve

“In what can only be described as absolutely unprecedented times, hundreds of thousands of children are at home and not going to school for a very elongated period. Leo Varadkar has said that as things stand, the State exams of the Junior and Leaving Certificates will be going ahead in the summer …” (more)

[James Brennan,, 2 April]

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Cancel the Junior Cert – says Fianna Fail TD

Posted in Teaching on March 31st, 2020 by steve

“The Junior Cert should be cancelled to alleviate pressure on families during the coronavirus crisis, Cork South West Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan said, joining calls by Fianna Fáil education spokesperson Thomas Byrne that all efforts be directed to ensuring the Leaving Cert goes ahead …” (more)

[Bryan Smyth,, 30 March]

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Department focused on State exams going ahead this summer

Posted in Teaching on March 22nd, 2020 by steve

Ireland“The Department of Education has said there is no intention at this moment to cancel or postpone either the Junior or Leaving Certificate this summer. Despite a report in a Sunday newspaper a statement from the Department of Education says it ‘remains completely focused on running both sets of state exams’ … (more)

[RTÉ News, 22 March]

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The Irish Times view on disruption to education: Keep calm and stay focused

Posted in Teaching on March 21st, 2020 by steve

“Like so much else during the coronavirus crisis, our education system is in uncharted waters. Parents and teachers have no firm of idea of when schools will reopen. Junior and Leaving Cert students do not know if they will have exams during the summer …” (more)

[Irish Times, 21 March]

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Junior Cert could be cancelled to prioritise Leaving Cert written exams

Posted in Teaching on March 20th, 2020 by steve

“The Department of Education is considering cancelling the summer Junior Cert exams for tens of thousands of students in a bid to prioritise the Leaving Cert if schools do not reopen. The move is one of a number of contingency plans being examined by officials in response to the coronavirus threat. The Minister for Education said this week that his department is currently working on the assumption that the Leaving Cert will go ahead as planned …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 20 March]

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