Over 3,500 Waterford students begin State examinations today (June 8)
Three thousand five hundred and twenty three Waterford students begin their State examinations today (Wednesday June 8).
The Leaving Certificate, Leaving Certificate Applied and Junior Cycle are underway as a total 131,431 candidates are expected to sit the examinations in 5,575 centres across Ireland.
Over 1,600 students in Waterford are sitting Leaving Certificate exams (856 girls and 815 boys), while 1,852 students are undertaking Junior Cycle (882 girls and 970 boys) and 99 are in Leaving Cert Applied (41 girls and 58 boys).
The number of candidates nationwide has reportedly increased by 7,052 students, or 6%, compared to the last time a full set of examinations took place in 2019.
Over 60,000 students in total - 30,366 girls and 29,780 boys - are sitting Leaving Cert exams alongside 3,173 Leaving Cert Applied students, and 68,048 Junior Cycle students (33,397 girls and 34,651 boys).
The highest concentration of students beginning Leaving Cert exams is in Dublin with 15,241 students, while the fewest is in Leitrim at 487.
Nine hundred and thirty nine of this year's Leaving Cert students are from Carlow, with 1,417 in Clare, 2,151 in Donegal, 3,154 in Kildare, and 1,050 in Laois.
Limerick students make up 2,603 of the total figure, with 534 in Longford, 944 in Offaly, 568 in Roscommon, 2,082 in Tipperary, and 1,671 in Waterford.
Over 17,000 Junior Cycle students are in Dublin, with 7,704 in Cork, 3,595 in Kildare, 2,920 in Meath, 2,503 in Tipperary, and 2,464 in Louth.
One thousand one hundred and ninety seven students are in Laois, with 1,113 in Offaly, 1,013 in Carlow and 1,852 in Waterford.
Just 539 Junior Cycle students are in Leitrim, with 720 in Longford and 649 in Roscommon.
A total of 64 students will undertake Leaving Cert exams in Tripoli in Libya, the only location outside Ireland where the exams are held.
The International School of the Martyrs has offered the Irish curriculum and exams since the mid-90s.
As well as increased candidature, several new languages have been added as Leaving Certificate exam subjects for the first time, including Polish, Lithuanian, Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese.
Chairperson of the State Examinations Commission, Mr. Pat Burke, called state exams "a significant step" in the educational journey of students, their families and schools.
He said, "The Board and staff of the State Examinations Commission are very aware of the effort which students and their families have invested in the forthcoming examinations and extend their best wishes to all. For our part, we in the State Examinations Commission will do our utmost to deliver the examinations as smoothly as possible and ensure that the examinations meet the highest standards of quality and fairness."
Adjustments dictated by public health policy have been made to this year's exams, including deferred dates for students with Covid-19 or symptoms of Covid-19.
Students absent from exams due to Covid-19 will be subject to a mandatory period of absence for 7 days after the day symptoms were first experienced (i.e. 8 days in total).
The deferred exams are set to commence on June 30 at a limited number of regional venues and will run until July 16.
However, officials confirm there is no further contingency for deferred exams if a student becomes unwell, experiences a bereavement or is absent for any other reason (including Covid-19) at the time of deferred examinations.
The next opportunity to sit the Leaving Certificate will be in June 2023.
Mr Burke continued: "The adjustments made to the examinations this year have been designed to support students in their preparations. However, the support of families and the wider community for candidates sitting examinations is so important especially in light of the disruption to learning created by the pandemic.
"In terms of candidate wellbeing, we believe that the provision of extended arrangements for deferred examinations represents a significant improvement to the examinations system, providing an appropriately supportive response for candidates who find themselves in very challenging circumstances at examinations time and unable to take their examinations as a result.”
An extended timetable introduced for the 2019 Leaving Certificate has been put in place for this year's examinations.
It is designed to alleviate pressure on candidates by eliminating subject clashes, which could result in a candidate having to take up to three examinations in one day.
However, not all clashes have been eliminated and there is still a possibility that some candidates, because of their particular subject choices, may face subject clashes.
A date for Leaving Cert and Junior Cycle results will be announced as soon as possible, however the exact date will be affected due to deferred exam sittings, as well as a shortfall in the number of applications from teachers marking exams.
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