Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Education and Skills
Third Level Admissions
286. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the steps he is now taking to ensure that students that have received a conditional offer of a place at a university in Britain or Northern Ireland through the UCAS system will not lose that place and that offers will still stand; and the way in which he plans to achieve this outcome. [6403/20]
I am very conscious of the thousands of students taking the Leaving Certificate who have applied to study in Northern Ireland, Britain, Europe and elsewhere.
On 8th May I announced that the Leaving Certificate was to be postponed and that students would be issued with calculated grades, which would form the basis for entry to third level. While timelines for the issuing of these grades are still being worked through, the plan is that calculated grades will be provided to candidates as close as possible to the normal results day, which will facilitate timely entry into third level courses both in Ireland and in other countries. The date for the release of grades will be communicated to students as soon as it has been finalised.
I have spoken directly to the Secretary of State for Education in the UK Gavin Williamson MP to discuss this matter and I have written to both Ministers in Northern Ireland with responsibility for Education to highlight this issue.
Last Monday, 18th May, I participated in a video conference with my fellow EU Ministers for Education on the impact of Covid 19 throughout all Members States' education systems. These discussions were well aligned with the engagements I have had with the UK - namely, the reopening of education and training settings, and encouraging flexibility in the higher education system in terms of registration and admission of school leavers and possible delays in the publication of their school terminal examinations results. I was encouraged that all Ministers emphasised the need for flexibility and were advocating for solutions to be found that are in the best interests of our students.