13 August, 2019 - Ministers McHugh, Mitchell O’Connor and Halligan congratulate Leaving Certificate students receiving examination results today

Ministers thank 23,000 teachers directly involved in the operation of the State Exams

Almost 59,000 students receiving Leaving Certificate results following major reforms to exam timetable, appeals system and bereavement policy as part of efforts to reduce anxiety and stress

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D., Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. and Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation and Research and Development John Halligan T.D., congratulated Leaving Certificate students and adult learners who today (Tuesday 13 August) are receiving their Leaving Certificate examination results.

Some 58,787 students and adult learners took examinations across the Leaving Certificate Established, Leaving Certificate Applied and Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme.

The exams took place this year after the timetable was extended by two days to provide for new scheduling options, which are intended to minimise clashes for students, particularly in light of the introduction of examinations in the new subjects of Politics and Society in 2018 and Computer Science and PE in 2020. As a result of this measure no students were required to sit three examinations in one day in this year’s Leaving Certificate exams.

The results day has been brought forward by one day while the appeals timeline is shorter and will finish three weeks earlier than previous years, with post-appeal results confirmed by 20 September.

The third major reform was a more compassionate approach for students who suffer a close family bereavement around the time of Leaving Certificate exams and can defer up to three days of exams until July.

Minister McHugh said: “I want to congratulate everyone who sat the Leaving Certificate this year. It is another step through life but there are many more days and changes that will define your future. You should be very proud of your achievements.

“There are many paths open to you, with a wide range of opportunities available in higher education, further education, post Leaving Certificate courses and apprenticeship and traineeship routes.

“There are also an increasing number of options and opportunities for students regionally. More lead-in courses, more choice at institutes of technology and colleges planning for technological university status.

“Principals, teachers and other school and education staff deserve huge credit for their work to support students in reaching their potential, as do the 23,000 teachers directly involved in the operation of the state examinations, without whom the exams would not happen. The dedication and professionalism shown by all in preparing students and then undertaking key roles in the operation of the state examinations is a great tribute to the quality of the Irish education system and the overriding commitment to have students’ interests at the heart of the system.

“Parents and guardians also deserve our thanks. I am sure many felt that they themselves were sitting the exams. Your role in supporting students through the senior cycle cannot be underestimated.”

Minister McHugh also welcomed the reforms to the Leaving Certificate examinations this year.

“I introduced a number of measures to try and alleviate the stress and burden experienced by some students,” the Minister said.

“The two-day extension to the Leaving Certificate timetable is part of plans to allow for new scheduling options, with the introduction of examinations in Politics and Society in 2018 and PE and Computer Science in 2020. The aim is to minimise clashes for students while also promoting their wellbeing.

“We also now have earlier results and a faster appeals timeline, with a much greater emphasis on students using online facilities. Thanks to the efforts of the State Examinations Commission (SEC) results are issuing one day earlier than previous years and the CAO Round One offers will be known four days earlier, on Thursday 15 August. The Leaving Certificate appeals process is also reduced from eight weeks to five weeks.

“I hope faster offers and appeals will help to ease the levels of anxiety experienced around this time. 

“Another significant reform has been the offer of a more compassionate response for students who suffer a close family bereavement around the time of Leaving Certificate exams.”

If a Leaving Certificate student suffered the loss of a close family member, they could defer up to three days of exams and sit those examinations in Athlone in July. The system will be reviewed by the SEC, including in the context of candidates experiencing others forms of trauma and adversity at examination time.

Minister McHugh added: “These changes are about trying to ease some of the pressure which students face. They put the best interests and wellbeing of students first. I would like to thank the SEC for its work in implementing these measures and for ensuring the smooth running of the examinations once again.

“Today is a time for celebration with your families and friends. Enjoy it and take care of each other.”

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “Congratulations to the Class of 2019 who are receiving their Leaving Certificate results today. It is great to see that so many students have achieved grades that reflect the effort and dedication they have invested in their studies over recent years. For anyone who may be disappointed with their results, my advice is: remain calm, and, with your parents, look at all your options. There are so many opportunities open to you, you can still achieve all that you set out to do, but you may just have to take a slightly different route to get there. Whatever path you choose to take, this is an exciting time in your life and I wish you all the very best in your next chapter. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all your parents, principals, teachers, guidance counsellors and mentors who have invested their time and energy into helping you achieve your grades today.”

Minister Halligan said: “I would like to congratulate all the students who are receiving their Leaving Certificate results today. They are moving on to their next stage at a time when there are more options open to our school leavers and adult learners than ever before. We are continually striving to provide an education and training system that is more flexible to the needs of our students, providing alternatives to the traditional routes and strengthening the apprenticeship and traineeship systems by enhancing the range of courses and increasing student places. I wish you all the very best of luck in your next steps, be it progressing to college, university, training or employment.”

Notes for editors:

Leaving Certificate Exam Helpline

A Leaving Certificate Exam Helpline, run by the National Parents Council Post Primary, will open on Tuesday 13 August at 10.00 and will provide advice to students and parents regarding the examination results. The Helpline, which receives support from the Department of Education and Skills, can be contacted at 1800 265 165. It will remain open until Saturday 17 August 2019.

Review of Senior Cycle

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) is currently undertaking a major review of senior cycle, including the Leaving Certificate Established, the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme and the Leaving Certificate Applied.

The latest stage of the NCCA’s work, launched on22 July 2019, takes the form of a further public consultation exercise. The consultation invites interested individuals and organisations to engage with the feedback on the areas for development emerging from the review to date. Consultation will run until 1 November 2019.

Individuals and organisations can provide feedback through an online survey, by making a written submission or by attending a regional focus group meeting. The NCCA will also host a series of bi-lateral meetings with stakeholders and host a national consultation event, the latter taking place in Croke Park on 16 October. Further information available at: https://www.ncca.ie/en/senior-cycle/senior-cycle-review/consultation