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29 Nov 2021

Waterford Mayor calls for immediate cancellation of Leaving Cert

Waterford Mayor calls for immediate cancellation of Leaving Cert

Waterford Mayor calls for immediate cancellation of Leaving Cert

Mayor of Waterford City and County Council this morning called for the Government to immediately announce the cancellation of the Leaving Cert exams due to take place in June.

Speaking in response to recommendations made by the Irish Second Level Students Union (ISSU), Mayor Pratt noted: “I fully endorse the ISSU’s recommendations for State Exams made based on the research they conducted last week. This is an equality issue.

“This may seem like a radical call to some, but I believe that this is the fairest and most equitable approach given the current situation. I believe this because the worst affected by the school closures are going to be the most disadvantaged students who may not have a suitable space to work in their home, or their home might not have access to high-speed broadband required for online classes, indeed not all students have online classes. That’s all without going into the public health risk naturally associated with filling students into exam halls.

“I have spoken to numerous students and parents who are experiencing high levels of anxiety and stress over this situation. Schools are trying their best, families are trying their best, but we are living in extraordinary circumstances.

“The state examinations commission and the Department of Education have decades worth of examination trends that could assist teaching professionals in implementing a once-off grade prediction model as recommended by the ISSU. While I appreciate this will be a difficult exercise, I believe it is the least bad option.

“I am firmly of the view that if the examinations were to go ahead this summer, it will reinforce inequalities in our system more than any other option given the access issues I have outlined previously. It is important we protect the most vulnerable and disadvantaged students at this time. There should be no further delay in making this decision.

“I would further call on the Central Applications Office (the CAO), the Higher Education Authority (the HEA) and SOLAS to identify the flexibility that they may be in a position to apply with regard to entry requirements for further education and apprenticeships.

“Lastly, I want to commend the ISSU on their efforts and the leadership they have demonstrated as representatives. I want to further commend all students for their cooperation with public health measures during this crisis period, and those who are continuing their efforts learning from home during this difficult time."

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