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New rules for Leaving Cert students who suffer a bereavement ‘welcome but long overdue’ – Funchion

31 May, 2019 - by Kathleen Funchion TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Education and Skills Kathleen Funchion TD has welcomed the announcement today that students who have suffered from a family bereavement at the time of sitting their exams will be allowed to sit their exams at an alternative date.

The Carlow-Kilkenny TD said:

“I have been calling for many years for flexibility on students who have gone through a family bereavement at the time of their scheduled Leaving Certificate exams. Both in the Dáil chamber and at Committee, I have asked with the Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh and previously Minister Richard Bruton to review procedures. I welcome the Department’s announcement today and that common sense has prevailed.

“Now, students who suffer a close bereavement during or in the run up to this year’s Leaving Certificate exams will be able to take time out and sit alternative papers in July.

“Under the new provisions, students who miss some of their examinations as a consequence of the death of a close relative at the time of the examinations will be allowed sit them at another date. This is both right and long overdue.

“The new pilot scheme which will come into effect as of this year allows for a student to be absent from exams for a three-day period, commencing from the death of a close relative up to and including the day of the funeral. It has been agreed that the three days do not need to be consecutive.

“Any students whose close relative, parent, step-parent, legal guardian, sibling, or grandparent will be allowed leniency and has the option to sit their exams at a later date.

“I commend Rhona Butler who bravely shined a light on the issue on RTÉ radio earlier this year, voicing the challenges and hardship she endured when she lost her mother during the exams. Under previous rules, she was expected to sit her exams regardless a few days after burying her mother. Thanks to Rhona, from now on, other students who face the same heartbreaking situation can at least know that they will be given some leniency so that they can process their loss and focus on their exams once they have had that time to grieve. It is the right thing for the Department of Education and Skills to do.” 

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