Earlier this year, I asked the State Examinations Commission to review the supports provided to Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) students who suffer trauma or adversity around the time of the state examinations. The Commission operates the scheme of Reasonable Accommodations at the Certificate Examinations, known as the RACE scheme, to accommodate candidates who suffer bereavement, illness or other trauma, either immediately before or during the examinations.
In advance of the written examination in June, I requested the State Examinations Commission to introduce, on a pilot basis, an interim measure to assist Leaving Certificate students who suffered the bereavement of a close relative around the time of this year’s state examinations.
Under this measure, Leaving Certificate students who experienced the death of a close relative at examination time had the option to defer up to three days of their examinations to an alternative sitting. The alternative examinations were held between Monday 8th and Friday 12th July and were attended by some 40 Leaving Certificate students.
This was an interim measure, pending a wider review by the SEC of the sensitive and complex issue of supporting Leaving Certificate candidates who suffer trauma and adversity at the time of the examinations. The SEC is currently engaged in this wider review which will include consultation with a broad range of stakeholders, including school management and principals’ representatives, parents and, of course, students.