Thursday, 30 July 2020
Opening of Schools and Calculated Grades: Statements
I thank the Deputy for raising the question. I appreciate where the Deputy is coming from when he said he did not know whether to refer to yesterday or today. I am not sure which it is, we have been here so long. I appreciate that the Deputy has raised an important issue and it is a matter of concern for the students who will comprise the leaving certificate class of 2021 and for their parents. The Deputy is correct, as I told him earlier, that the curriculum itself cannot change because there is no way of identifying what was taught at different times in different schools. The curriculum has to remain the same. Offering the option of a wider choice is that fairest system in terms of allowing the curriculum to stand but adjusting the assessment aspect of it.
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, NCCA, has worked on the issue, that is, on the guidelines that will relate to all subjects and how they will be adjudicated upon. It has also worked on other programmes within schools that will be important for them going forward, including transition year and other innovations of that nature. All of those options will be available on the return to school and the information will be freely available to the students as they return. They must get that information because the earlier they know, the better. That will give them confidence in terms of how they will approach their leaving certificate. My opinion at this stage is that it is the fairest way for students to have an adjustment in terms of choice on the paper and how the papers will be examined.