Norma Foley confirms arrangements for Leaving Certificate 2021 including alternative option to written exams

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brown desk and chair lot
Photo by Akshay Chauhan on Unsplash

THE Minister for Education, Norma Foley, has confirmed that the 2021 Leaving Certificate Examination will proceed in the form of written exams with an alternative option for SEC-Accredited grades.  


Students who do not wish to sit the Leaving Certificate exam will be given the choice of applying for grades accredited by the State Examination Commission.

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This dual approach hopes to provide a fair system for Leaving Certificate students in light of government enforced school closures.

Any student who wishes to avail of both SEC-Accredited grades and the written examination will be granted the higher of the two results come August. The new system will be implemented subject-by-subject, meaning students will get to decide which option they wish to avail of for each subject.

The Minister for Education explained, “I am conscious that many students are concerned that they have not covered the full curriculum for their subjects in class, due to the interruption of in person learning caused by the pandemic.” 

“All stakeholders have worked extremely hard to get to this point, I have listened carefully to all, and we have worked together to find solutions. Students and parents have been clear on the need for both clarity and choice which I believe this decision gives them.” 

The results of both the written exams and calculated grades will be released at the same time. As such, students will not be given their SEC-Accredited exam results before deciding whether or not to sit the written assessment. 

“As requested by the student representatives we explored thoroughly the option of providing the SEC-Accredited Grades to students in advance of the written examinations, but this option is not possible.”

The news follows Micheál Martin’s statement prior to Monday Morning’s cabinet meeting in which he promised to provide “clarity” for leaving cert students amidst delays surrounding  the State Examinations.

The Taoiseach said, “It’s been a very stressful and very anxious time for students and for the education world in general because Covid-19 has upturned all of our lives, particularly young people’s lives and particularly in the context of education.”

Schools and students are to receive further direction on both examination processes in the coming weeks.