Cork principal says students must continue to focus on preparing for written exams during Covid-19 crisis

Cork principal says students must continue to focus on preparing for written exams during Covid-19 crisis
Photo: Laura Hutton/

A Cork principal has said it is vital that students continue to focus on preparing for the written State examinations after the Government yesterday scrapped oral and practical tests.

David Lordan, who is the principal at Christian Brothers College in Cork, said Education Minister Joe McHugh’s announcement regarding State exams had “given clarity to students during a challenging time.”

Mr McHugh announced that all Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate practical tests, and Leaving Cert oral tests, have been cancelled.

The minister said it would not be possible to hold the exams next week, or reschedule them due to school closures.

Students will be given full marks for these elements of the exams.

The minister said: “This is a difficult time for all. Students are facing a challenging period out of school and our decision on this element of the exams is being taken with their best interests at heart.

“It is the fairest response we could take in the circumstances.

“It guarantees that no student will score less than they would have if schools had been operating as normal.

“I hope this decision will ease some of the pressure that students are feeling and allow them to focus more clearly on completing project work and preparing for written exams.”

Mr Lordan said he was very conscious of the many students who were doing their best to stay motivated and working during this difficult period.

“The announcement will be disappointing for students who have been working hard to prepare for the oral examinations, and the practicals,” said Mr Lordan.

However, he added it did give clarity so students can turn their focus to the written component and to ensure that nobody is disadvantaged.

Mr McHugh also confirmed changes to deadlines for students to complete project work and coursework in a number of subjects.

Students were originally scheduled to complete these elements of the State examinations on a number of dates from March 20 to April 24, depending on the subject.

Students will now be given until May 15 to complete this work.

The minister said the Department of Education will continue to work with the State Examinations Commission to monitor the Covid-19 situation in terms of its potential impact on the other later scheduled components of the state examinations.

The department is working on the premise that the written element of the Leaving Certificate examinations will go ahead in June.

Mr Lordan said it was important not to speculate on any potential changes to the written examinations.

He said students are being encouraged to continue to prepare for examinations, and said that even if dates changed, students will still be assessed.

“The work and focus need to be maintained so that students are ready for when any announcement is made,” he said.

CBC will be contacting all its Leaving Certificate students in the coming days to provide guidance and support, and he said that it is important that schools provide support at this time.

“We will come out the other side,” he said.

Which exams are affected?

The change to the 2020 state examinations means all students who were due to take oral and practical performance tests in the following subjects will be given full marks for this part of the examination:

Oral tests in Leaving Certificate Irish and the Modern Languages of French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and Japanese;

Practical performance tests in Leaving Certificate Music;

Practical performance tests in Junior Certificate Music and Home Economics.

The deadline has changed on project work which was due to be complete between March 20 and April 24. This is now due on May 15.

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