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28th Feb 2023

Minister for Education reverses plans for part of Leaving Cert to be sat in fifth year

Ellen Fitzpatrick

The change was due next year.

The Minister for Education has reversed the plan for fifth year students to sit part of their Leaving Cert exams at the end of fifth year.

New measures would have seen Leaving Cert candidates sitting Paper 1 of their English and Irish exams at the end of fifth year, rather than with the rest of their exams.

The measure was due to be implemented from next year and faced much opposition from various teacher and student representative bodies, as well as students themselves.

Norma Foley is due to tell Cabinet this morning that she and her officials have listened to the concerns shown over the last number of weeks and will not implement the change next year, RTÉ has reported.

It will now be further examined and a new way will be looked into.

The original decision to move these papers forward was announced last year by Foley, with an expert advisory report into Leaving Certificate reform being published.

It later saw that organisations such as the State Examinations Commission had previously warned against this move.

English Paper 1 tests students on their written and comprehension abilities, doing the same with the Irish paper.

The plan was announced last March with Foley saying it was an “interim measure” with these reforms aiming to reduce the stress of students.

The reversal of this will be welcomed by both the ASTI and TUI who have both shown opposition to the move.

Last month, TUI warned the plan was “educationally unsound” and would place “significant additional pressure on students and teachers”.

They noted that students need time to develop as writers in both languages and the two year cycle is needed to aid that.

Unions had also shared concerns that this move would interfere with students’ extra-curricular activities and social lives.

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