I thank the Deputy for posing this question and highlighting this matter. On 17 February, I confirmed that leaving certificate 2021 examinations would proceed, guided by public health advice, and that students would also have the alternative option of applying for grades accredited by the State Examinations Commission, SEC, to be known henceforward as SEC-accredited grades. This decision was taken by the Government to provide choice and clarity for students.
Students will by now have registered for the traditional examinations and-or to receive SEC-accredited grades on a subject-by-subject basis on the candidate self-service portal. In any subject where a student sits the examination and opts to receive an accredited grade, he or she will be automatically credited with the better of the two results. Those opting for the traditional examinations will have completed their orals and music practical examinations over Easter and leaving certificate vocational programme, LCVP, students completed their link module examinations last weekend. Leaving certificate applied, LCA, orals started on 3 May and continued until 12 May.
My Department and the SEC have published a series of guides for students and schools regarding the processes for the 2021 leaving certificate. These guides and further information are available on www.gov.ie.
On 25 March, I announced details of the additional supports that are being provided to schools to support the running of the leaving certificate and LCA examinations and the accredited grades process. Schools can appoint a leaving certificate aide for up to a maximum of 60 days to support school management in the planning, preparations for and running of the examinations and the work involved in the accredited grades process. The Department is also supporting schools, parents and students through a dedicated phone line and email service for queries on the accredited grades process.
In the coming days, the SEC will be issuing further guidance for the conduct of written examinations to schools that is in line with public health advice and will ensure that the examinations can proceed safely.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
The Deputy will also be aware that legislation is being introduced for the purposes of providing for the running of the 2021 leaving certificate to confer the necessary powers on the SEC to run the accredited grades process.