Mary has written to Minister Foley and the Taoiseach, on behalf of the Leaving Cert Class of 2021, asking that in the interest of fairness they be given the option of predictive grades for their Leaving Cert results.
Mary has been contacted by students, parents and teachers expressing concerns over the apparent fixed determination to hold traditional Leaving Cert exams without allowing students an option for predictive grades in 2021.
Mary conducted online polls which received more than 3,000 responses in 24hours. An overwhelming 97% indicated a preference for the option of predictive grades and more than 28,000 students are petitioning for same.
The Leaving Cert Students of 2021 are not only facing the ordinary pressures of a Leaving Cert but they are at a disadvantage from having lost three months class time in 5th year, the additional challenges of 10 months of pandemic anxiety, isolation and exhaustion, reduced family income, increased family poverty, loss of friends and family through death, infection and isolation and most critically loss of classroom based learning for going on four months.
Again this week the Leaving Cert class of 2021 have been forced to revert to remote learning for the second time in their senior cycle. Unfortunately and disappointingly they have no guaranteed date for their return to classroom based learning.
An increasing number of Leaving Cert students are living in homes with covid, financially negatively impacted by covid, without a quiet dedicated study space, without adequate broadband, without access to teachers who themselves are struggling with the consequences of Covid, without access to labs, studio space, kitchens and other practical learning spaces.
Many Leaving Cert students are suffering from extreme anxiety, stress, depression and general Covid fatigue. Some will have had to contend with significant domestic challenges. Many will have had to support their parents, elder relatives and younger siblings cope with the impact of the pandemic. All of which is being greatly exasperated by the uncertainty over their Leaving Cert.
The Leaving Cert Class of ’21 both need and deserve a break.
Mary is urging the Minister and Taoiseach to ease the stress and anxiety for students by making an announcement this week that commits to give Leaving Cert ’21 the options of both predictive grades and, if public health conditions allow, a traditional Leaving Cert exam.
Mary believes this is the fairest decision for all. It will mean that every student, teacher and parent can go forward with certainty. It will encourage greater participation in on-line and remote learning.
It will give hope for a traditional exam to those who want it but certainty for all that predictive grades will be an option for them.