Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Batt O'Keeffe

Question:

180 Mr. B. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Education and Science if additional time will be given to students with special needs to complete the leaving and junior certificate examinations. [10379/00]

The expert advisory group on certificate examinations has identified a set of principles as a basis for dealing with the complex and difficult area of special arrangements for examination candidates. My Department has begun the process of implementing the recommendations and applying the principles to applications on hand for this year's examinations.

One of the recommendations was that the time element of examinations should be made less critical in the future in order to better accommodate candidates who may have a difficulty with time. In response to this recommendation I have arranged for an extension of time to be made available to all candidates in a number of the more time critical papers in the forthcoming leaving certificate examination.

At present extra time may be granted where the arrangement itself justifies the grant of additional time. For example extra time on that basis is granted where a candidate needs the help of a scribe. This recognises that the dictation process itself is slow. Usually ten minutes extra per hour of examination is allowed to cover the assistance of a scribe or an arrangement such as the use of braille materials. In a small number of cases the nature of the arrangement and the type of electronic or mechanical aids used by the candidate may require the grant of additional time over and above what is normally granted. My Department considers such cases individually on the basis of the evidence provided in support of the application.