Cork school to hold own exams for Junior Certs in May

Cork school to hold own exams for Junior Certs in May

A Cork school is to hold its own exams next month for students who were due to sit the Junior Certificate this year. Students will sit the exams at home instead of at school. Picture: Denis Minihane.

A Cork school is to hold its own exams next month for students who were due to sit the Junior Certificate this year.

Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal in Blarney has taken the decision to hold exams remotely for its 132 third year students during the last two weeks of May.

It comes amid continued uncertainty about how students who were due to sit their Junior Certificate in June will be examined.

While the Department of Education has confirmed that the state Junior Cycle examinations will not run this year, it is still examining how these students will be assessed.

An announcement on the plans is expected this week. 

In a letter issued to parents and students in recent days, Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal Principal Padraig Sheehan said the cancellation of the June exams for Junior Certificate students and the proposed school based assessments in September had “created a sense of confusion and anxiety for students, parents/guardians and teachers.” 

The Principal said it was felt that having the prospect of exams being set in September when students would be adjusting to Transition Year or 5th Year programmes would be “both disruptive and could serve to cause anxiety” and so it had decided to set end of year exams for Junior Cert students next month and to issue a school certificate to acknowledge students' achievements.

The letter noted however that should the Minister for Education Mr. Joe McHugh and the Department of Education issue further clarity and instructions, it may need to amend some of these decisions.

Under the current plans, examination papers are being put together and a formal exam timetable which reflects the usual examinations has been developed.

The school will issue paper copies of examinations to students, and parents and guardians are being asked to supervise students undertaking assessments.

After the papers are returned to schools they will be corrected by teachers who do not usually teach the students.

Speaking to the Echo, Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal Principal Padraig Sheehan said the response to the plans to date has been "very good".

“We’ve had one or two difficulties but we have been able to address these,” he said.

“The students will sit the exams at home with supervision, but if this is an issue we might look at how we might try to facilitate this, if we can,” he added.

Principal Sheehan said he was hopeful that the decision would help to reduce stress and anxiety among students.

“That’s the idea - to kill the stress, and help to benefit the wellbeing of students, and of teachers too," he said.

The school is one of a small number of schools around the country which have taken the decision to hold their own examinations in the coming weeks for junior certificate students

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