Government may make Leaving Cert decision within days as new attempts reported to be made to reopen schools

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

classrooms

Classrooms around Ireland have been shut since December due to Covid-19 and could be empty for weeks to come

A decision on the holding of written Leaving Cert exams in 2021 or deploying predicted grades model could be made this week by the Government, according to a report which says fresh efforts are underway to re-open schools.

The Taoiseach Micheál announced this weekend that all children were unlikely to back to school until after March 17 - leaving just a week before the Easter break. He made the comments after confirming that vaccine supply issues would impact the Government's Covid-19  plans.

In the wake of his statements, RTÉ has reported that plans for schools were back on the agenda. The HSE's clinical director said last week that re-opening, as envisaged on February 1, would not be possible due to the scale of the third wave.

Plans to restart education for the Leaving Certs and those receiving special needs education on January 11 were abandoned after teachers objected on safety and planning grounds. Another attempt to restart special needs education also fell apart for the same reasons.

However, it appears that new efforts are being made to put a resumption plan in place for primary and secondary education in classroms that could involve a decision on what will happen with the 2021 Leaving Cert. 

RTÉ News has reported that Government Ministers will discuss early this week proposals and plans that could emerge from meetings between teaching and SNA unions.

It is reported that any resumption of classroom-based education would be phased beginning with special needs and then Leaving Certs followed at stages by other children in primary and secondary schools.

In its report, the broadcaster says it is expected however that a decision on what type of Leaving Certificate will take place this year will be made late this week. The Taoiseach has said he wants a traditional Leaving Cert in the summer.

Under existing arrangements, schools are due to close for a midterm break from Monday to Friday, February 15-19.

All schools will close on Friday, March 26 for Easter as the school term ends. Schools will re-open on Monday, April 12.

The Leaving Cert written exams are due to start on Wednesday, June 9 but other elements such as the oral take place during the school term.