This year’s Leaving Certificate will begin on Wednesday, June 9 with the customary English Paper 1 exam scheduled for a 9.30am start.
The Leaving Cert maintains its traditional start on the first Wednesday after the June Bank Holiday weekend. Home Economics is the second exam that afternoon and this signals the start of a busy few weeks for the 60,000 Leaving Cert students nationwide. The Leaving Certificate is scheduled to run until Tuesday, June 29 subject to public health advice.
This year’s Leaving Certificate students will have the option of receiving a calculated grade or a written exam in each subject following the government decision made on Wednesday, February 17.
This hybrid plan will ensure that students will be able to opt to receive calculated or accredited grades in any or all of their subjects, to be issued to them at the same time as the examination results.
Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Philip Boucher-Hayes, The Education Minister Norma Foley said a decision was made that puts students front and centre and brings "certainty, clarity and choice".
Department officials are continuing to engage in meeting with the various stakeholders to address any concerns the teachers' unions may have and to "iron out" any difficulties that remain.
The Department of Education is striving to ensure that results are issued in an efficient manner to allow students to progress to the next level. The results of both exams and accredited grades will be released at the same time.
For those choosing to sit the Leaving Certificate exams, orals and other practical coursework assessments will go ahead as normal, but with "certain elements" not running for public health reasons.
These will be outlined in due course. The oral exams are scheduled to take place during the Easter break or in the days just after.
Calculated grades will be overseen by the State Examinations Commission. The process will involve a teacher awarding marks and end with a national standardisation process.
Like last year, a school's previous performance will not be taken into account in calculating grades for this year's students.
Certain modifications have already been introduced to allow students more choice in the question they will have to answer on a paper. Those modifications remain.
Measures will also be put in place to enable out-of-school learners to avail of calculated grades, whether that is students who have been entirely homeschooled or students who have been studying just one or more subjects independently of their school.
There is still no official date for the re-opening of national or secondary schools nationwide. However, the Education Minister said the Government will have a "cautious" return to school for Leaving Cert students and junior primary school pupils in early March.
The other students are then expected to be phased back in a gradual process pending further public health advice.