The normal practice is that increases in examination fees are notified in written form to schools. In November 2003, I announced an increase of €10 in the standard leaving certificate fee, from €76 to €86, and this was notified to schools formally and in writing by the State Examinations Commission in December 2003.
It is fully accepted that a telephone call with the commission could be expected to be a sufficient and convenient basis for an approach by schools to parents on an educational issue. However, the issue of the level of examination fees is a matter of conjecture until the Estimates are finalised for the year in question. Accordingly, if information was given by the State Examinations Commission to individual schools which inquired before any formal written announcement of fees finalised for 2004 issued, it was given in error and any inconvenience caused to schools and parents is sincerely regretted. Communication of the fee increases to schools is an operational matter which falls within the remit of the State Examinations Commission.