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State Examinations

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 31 March 2021

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Questions (603)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

603. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education if extremely disadvantaged students in five schools for children at risk will be afforded the opportunity to sit their junior certificate examinations in June 2021 in view of the fact that no leaving certificate examinations are being held in these schools; if she will engage directly with the schools on this issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16917/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As part of the Government Decision on 17 February last, the normal Junior Cycle Examination processes were cancelled.

Given the priority that needed to be accorded to the Leaving Certificate examinations and the challenge associated with running them, it was not considered feasible to run a set of Junior Cycle Examinations also.

Last year, early school leavers and adult learners were offered an opportunity to sit Junior Cycle examinations at a later point. Similar measures will be implemented for this year, with Junior Cycle Examinations for early school leavers and adult learners set to begin in October 2021.

Guidance and further information relating to the Junior Cycle of 2021 has now been published by my Department and is available at http://www.gov.ie/JuniorCycle.

These guidelines include details on the alternative form of certification designed to meet the current exceptional circumstances. A state certificate of completion of the Junior Cycle from my Department will be issued stating students have completed their Junior Cycle programme of study. In addition to this certificate, a school report detailing the learning achievements through the Junior Cycle programme should be issued to students by their schools. Further details are available in the guidelines.

To avoid any unfair disadvantage for young people wishing to access National Craft Apprenticeships, it has been determined that the 2020 or 2021 State Certificate and School Report provided to students who were due to complete their examinations in 2020 or 2021 will be deemed to be an ‘approved equivalent’ as per the eligibility requirements for said apprenticeships.

Schools will shortly be provided with further guidance on continuing to engage this year group in online learning and assessment during the period of school closure and through in-person learning when schools reopen.

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