We, at John the Baptist Community School, understand the great worry and upset being experienced by students, parents/guardians, teachers and all involved with the Junior Certificate. It is a uncertain time in many ways and we know that the lack of clarity about what lies ahead for all students, but especially Third Year students, is adding to the strain. The school has been looking at many options and supports to aid Junior Cycle students and teachers have been working to keep students engaged and focused.
The Department of Education and Skills yesterday met with a range of stakeholders to try and come up with a national solution to this issue. While we acknowledge that we all want immediate clarity, the Department of Education and Skills has appealed for patience as this very difficult set of problems is navigated. As soon as any information or clarity is made available, we will contact Third Years immediately, outlining the next steps.
Please see below for the press release from the Department of Education and Skills.
Statement on stakeholder engagement in relation to the State Examinations
The Department of Education and Skills has today (Wednesday 22 April 2020) hosted its second meeting with a range of stakeholders as part of planning for the State Examinations in response to the Covid-19 public health measures.
Representatives of students, parents, teachers, school leadership and management bodies, the State Examinations Commission, the National Educational Psychological Service, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and the Department took part and further meetings are scheduled as part of consideration and planning of revised arrangements for the examinations, taking account of public health advice.
The Higher Education Authority is also observing at the meetings with the intention of feeding back to consultations it is involved with across the third level sector.
Among the items discussed today were the package of supports being put in place for students for continuity of learning including –
– An additional €10m fund for IT equipment for schools
– Guidance for schools on continuity of teaching and learning for students with special educational needs and those who are at risk of disadvantage
Also discussed were:
The practical arrangements for project work, coursework and practical examinations for the Leaving Certificate;
development of a range of supports for students’ wellbeing’; and
issues concerning the Junior Cycle.
Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD said: “I am grateful to the advisory group for their efforts and focus on issues relating to the Leaving Certificate and continuity of education. Some of these are quite complex and require detailed consideration. I know that the group is also aware of the need to provide our students with as much clarity on these issues as soon as possible. The group will continue to work intensively on these issues in the period ahead.”
In relation to Junior Cycle exams, the Minister said: “The best way to address this issue is to allow the group have further discussions, in a spirit of partnership in the best interests of this year’s Junior Cycle students. I would urge schools to await the conclusion of these discussions with the education partners before taking any decisions regarding assessment arrangements for their Junior Cycle students”