16 April 2020
I hope this letter finds you keeping well in these very unusual days. As you know from the Government’s recent announcements, all schools will remain closed until further notice.
I have detailed below the series of changes to the 2020 State Examinations announced by the Minister for Education and Skills as part of measures to respond to Covid-19. The two highlevel decisions, taken on foot of updated advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team were:
a) that plans were being put in place for the postponed Leaving Certificate examinations to begin in the last week of July or early August, subject to public health advice and
b) that Junior Cycle final examinations due to take place in June will be replaced by school-based exams and assessments held early in the new school year.
Following on from this announcement, the only clarifications and commitments that have issued from the Department are as follows:
• The new Leaving Certificate exam timetable will be confirmed in early June.
• Students with special educational needs will be fully supported in sitting the rescheduled Leaving Certificate examinations in line with the reasonable accommodations as already arranged for them. Orals and Practicals
• Leaving Certificate oral language and some Leaving Certificate and Junior Cycle practical performance examinations had been scheduled to take place between 23rd March and 3rd April.
• These were cancelled and candidates awarded 100% for these components.
• The Minister’s announcement does not change that position.
Practical Projects and Course Work
• A range of subjects involve these elements – in our school, these include: Art, History, Geography and Home Economics (Textiles). The deadline for submission of work will now be immediately prior to the commencement of the written examinations in the late July/August period.
• A number of practical examinations, supervised by school appointed superintendents and scheduled for 27th April to 8th May, which in our school includes Art Life Sketching, will now take place in the late July/August period.
Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA)
• The LCA Personal Reflection Task, scheduled for completion by 1st May, will now be completed by the commencement of the written examinations in the late July/August period.
• The following will be rescheduled for the late July/August period:
LCA Oral Examinations
LCA practical performance tests in our school for Hotel Catering & Tourism
LCA ICT practical performance and written examination
• It is likely that some candidates will be unable to take their examinations on health grounds, as they may be ill or in quarantine or isolation. The SEC and the Department are considering appropriate alternative arrangements so that candidates in this situation are not disadvantaged compared to their peers.
• Minister McHugh has said the intention is to allow at least two weeks of class time, in school, before the Leaving Certificate examinations begin.
At present, the Department of Education and the State Examinations Commission are working together with other relevant bodies to achieve clarity around the implementation of this plan.
I am aware that there is quite an amount of information circulating on social media which is incorrect and I would ask parent/guardians and students to accept only those updates and announcements that emerge from authoritative sources including the Department of Education at www.education.ie , the State Examinations Commission at www.examinations.ie , the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre’s website which is regularly updated at firstname.lastname@example.org and all school communications. As soon as any further information is shared with the school, I will continue to keep you updated as the situation evolves, via text and relevant links on the school’s email database, website and Facebook page.
I absolutely appreciate this is a very difficult time for all members of the school community and in particular our 3rd and 6th year students. I want to assure you that we are here to support you in every way that we can during this challenging and uncertain time. Although we are on Easter holidays, the new office number on 01-5240103 is being manned and calls will be taken between the working hours of 9.00am-4.00pm each day Monday – Friday as well as responses to e-mail on email@example.com should you have any queries or concerns on this matter.
Ms. Garry and I plan to organise an online meeting with all year groups soon after our return to school next week. In the meantime, I hope that all students are taking a very necessary break and we look forward to connecting in with you online from Monday, 20th April.
I hope you can all get out to enjoy this beautiful Easter sunshine, within your 2 kilometre zone and remembering to practise social distancing. Until our next correspondence, keep well, remain strong and positive and look after one another.