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Leaving Cert choice and clarity is what students have fought for - Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

17 February, 2021 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has welcomed reports that the government is to give Leaving Cert students a choice between calculated grades and a written exam.

He has welcomed the fact that the government has finally listened to the voice of students and of Sinn Féin; who were the first party to advocate choice in respect of this year's Leaving Cert.

Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:

"The past few months have been extremely difficult for Leaving Cert students. They have faced incredible stress and they have faced enormous uncertainty due to constant delays in coming to a conclusion on what type of assessment would be used for this year's Leaving Cert.

"There was a lot of discussion about a traditional Leaving Cert, but this isn't a traditional year.

"Leaving Cert students have advocated for themselves with great dignity, and their representatives - including in the ISSU - have been extremely impressive. I want to commend them in their endeavors.

"Sinn Féin listened to the voice of students and were the first party to advocate a choice; where others were arguing for either traditional exams or for cancellation.

"We recognised the strains that students were under, but also that many students wanted to sit exams.

"The government has prevaricated and delayed in making a decision. This was made all the more difficult by not having a contingency plan for the Leaving Cert in place, despite Sinn Féin and many others repeatedly demanding this

"The active and campaigning voice of students was crucial in forcing the government to make this decision.

"We do have some concerns regarding the government's proposals. In particular, our preference was for external checks of works rather than use of algorithims and so on. If - as it appears - that is going to be used again, we need to avoid a repeat of last year's fiasco

"In addition, we have always stressed the importance of a no-detriment approach. We wanted to see calculated grades provided to students by May or early June to give students the chance to make an informed choice on whether they should sit a written exam to better their grade.

"It appears that this may not be the case. I think this could be very stressful for students who will still end up having to prepare for exams, even though they may have already done enough to get a third-level place."

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