February 1, 2021
Long-awaited attention to Leaving Cert welcome – Rose Conway Walsh TD

Rose Conway WalshMayo Sinn Féin TD Rose Conway-Walsh has said she is encouraged that the Taoiseach is now considering the kind of Leaving Cert choice that Sinn Féin and many students have been calling for.

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Higher and Further Education, Research, Innovation and Science said:

“The Taoiseach finally recognising the need for an alternative approach to the Leaving Cert is welcome, but the detail will be crucial.

“The government must get this right. This can only be done if there is sustained engagement and consultation with all stakeholders including students.

“The past year has been extremely difficult for young people. For Leaving and Junior Cert students the worry, anxiety and stress have been palpable. I and my party have engaged with hundreds of students across the country who feel that they are being ignored.

“The uncertainty is putting huge pressure on students. I know from speaking to them and their families that it is seriously impacting on their mental health. The government urgently needs to give clarity to them and bring forward the detail of how the Leaving Cert will work this year.

“This has not been a traditional year. Students lost enormous learning time last year and again this year. At this point, it is unclear when students will be back in the classroom.

“If calculated grades are going to be used, then a fair and transparent method must be used to ensure students are rewarded according to their aptitude, commitment and school work. Unfair school profiling and algorithms used last year cannot be applied this year.

“I also recognise that many students may still want to sit written Leaving Cert exams. These students must also be facilitated, pending public health advice and must be prepared.

“Leaving Cert students are planning for their future. I am hoping that a clear decision made this week will ensure that all students can avail of CAO and UCAS offers this autumn, regardless of their choice. 

“Many new apprenticeship opportunities are coming on stream. We need to ensure students have robust career guidance to make the choices that suit their areas of interest and range of abilities.

“I and Sinn Féin will continue to be constructive, giving students a voice and a choice working with all stakeholders.”

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