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Harris reassures Leaving Cert students amid Scottish calculated grades chaos

Higher Education Minister Simon Harris has reassured Leaving Cert students that the State’s calculated grades system is “robust” and will be reliable amid a chaotic issuing of results from Scotland’s similar system.

Calculated grades for the Leaving Cert will be partly based on previous results in students' schools and moderated by an external authority in the same way as in Scotland, where many teachers’ estimates of pupils’ results were downgraded.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was forced to apologise for the controversial moderation system, while the decision has now been taken to upgrade the results of tens of thousands of Scottish students based solely on teachers' predictions.

I have no doubt Department of Education officials and Minister Foley will be watching very carefully what has happened in Scotland.

The Labour Party has called for the Republic’s similar "school profiling" to be scrapped to avoid a repeat of the Scottish controversy in Ireland.

However, Minister Harris says a lot of effort has gone into the Republic’s system to ensure it is fair: “I have no doubt Department of Education officials and Minister Foley will be watching very carefully what has happened in Scotland.

“I do know a huge amount of work has been undertaken by the Department of Education, by Minister Foley and her officials, to make sure that there is a robust system in place.”


Round one of CAO offers for third level places are set to be issued on September 11th, four days after Leaving Cert results are due to be issued through the new calculated grading system.

Minister Harris says third level institutions will have to be “flexible” in how they deal with students come September, following concerns that those who wish to appeal grades could be in a race against time to start college.

“I think there will be enough time for round one of CAO offers, round two of CAO offers and the appeals system as well and it’ll be very important that the college system continues to be flexible in that regard,” he said.

“I know this is something that our universities are also monitoring very closely, because as you say we are in a very peculiar situation this year where for the very first time we haven’t been able to hold the Leaving Cert exam because of this awful virus.”