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Letter to Students/Parents/Guardians re. Leaving Certificate 2020

12th May 2020

Letter to Students/Parents/Guardians Re Leaving Certificate 2020

12th May 2020

Dear Sixth Year Students/Parents/Guardians,

On 8th May the Minister for Education announced the postponement of this year’s Leaving Certificate and that all students are to be offered the option of accepting Calculated Grades or sitting Leaving Certificate written examinations at a later date in the future when it is considered safe to hold the examinations.

The decision has been taken following an assessment of public health advice and other information and the implications for holding the exams from the previously rescheduled date of Wednesday, 29 July 2020.

Minister McHugh said: “I have made every effort to run the 2020 Leaving Certificate as close as possible to the way the examinations were originally intended to be held.

“My desire had been to allow students to undertake the written and practical examinations in July and August but I have compelling evidence, based on medical advice and other assessments, that the Leaving Certificate examinations cannot be held in a reliable and valid manner, nor in a way that would be equitable for students.”

Minister McHugh said: “The reality of the impact of Covid-19 has led to a decision that has never happened in our country before. I fully appreciate the magnitude of this issue, for the students and their families, for the teachers and for school principals.

“This decision is taken with the best interests of students at heart. I have a responsibility to find a fair way to address the disadvantage that some students are facing and the impact a lack of time in school has had in recent weeks.

“The system being put in place will allow a young person to progress to the next stage of their life in a timely fashion.

“The fairest and most equitable way to do that in the current circumstances is to offer students the option of Calculated Grades for the 2020 Leaving Certificate but also to guarantee them the right to sit the examinations at a later stage when it is safe to hold them in the normal way.

“The decision has to be taken now to remove the anxiety that many students have been experiencing over how the exams would look later in the summer.”

The following is a breakdown of the process to be applied for students to be given the option of Calculated Grades or to sit the examinations.

  1. The 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations, previously scheduled to take place in late July and August, have been postponed.
  2. There will be no Leaving Certificate fee this year. All exam fees which have been paid will be refunded.
  3. Teachers will be asked to provide a professional judgement of each student’s attainment which will be subjected to a rigorous in-school alignment process to ensure fairness.
  4. The school principal will approve the estimated scores being provided and the rankings of each student in each subject in the school.
  5. A special unit is being established within the Department of Education and Skills to process the data provided by each school and operate national standardisation, again to ensure fairness amongst all students.
  6. The Department will finalise the grades for each student which will be issued to each student as close as possible to the traditional date. Formal State certification will also be provided.
  7. Students will retain the right to appeal. This will involve checks on school-entered data; correct transfer of that data to the Department; a review that it was correctly received and processed by the Department; and a verification of the Department’s processes by independent appeal scrutineers.
  8. Students will also retain the right to the sit the 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations at a date in the future when it is deemed safe for state examinations to be held.

During the past few days we have consulted with St. Farnan’s Post Primary School staff and our KWETB colleagues on how best to manage this process in the interests of fairness and equity for all students.

We are very conscious of the impact that the school closure since March 12th has had and continues to have on our students and the fact that some students were unable to undertake school work due to issues arising from the Covid-19 crisis. We are also aware of the different aspects of learning which are present in the range of subjects studied by students at St. Farnan’s Post Primary School.

We will ensure that student wellbeing is promoted and that the system of calculated grades is fair, equitable and objective and we will work as a school with our professional teachers collaboratively to ensure that no bias, conscious or unconscious, influences the decisions made in relation to a student’s expected performance.

The Principal, Deputy Principal, teachers or any other members of the school staff are not permitted under any circumstance to discuss with any student, or with the parents/guardians of any student, the estimated marks that the school is submitting to the Department of Education & Skills.  In this regard we ask that you desist from contacting teachers with regard to calculated grades / estimated marks / class ranking.

The Department of Education & Skills have informed schools of the following and requested that we share this information with 6th year students and their parents/guardians. 

As of 11 May 2020, tuition (whether online or in other ways) ceased for sixth year students.  This applies to the Leaving Certificate established, Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) and Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP).

No additional work will be accepted from students from this date. Teachers and students may not discuss the student’s achievement in the subject over the past two years.  Nor can they discuss the student’s ranking in a class, or their estimated mark or the level at which the estimated mark is to be provided in a subject

However, students remain students of the school until the end of the school term. In terms of the school’s role in supporting the wellbeing of the Leaving Certificate students, the role of the Student Support Team as set out in the guidance issued recently to schools, should remain available until the end of the school term.

Any student requiring additional support can access our schools Guidance Counsellor, HSCL, SCP Coordinator through the normal channels. I, as Principal, can also be contacted at

Further information on the revised arrangements for Leaving Certificate are available on and in the link attached to this letter.

We wish all of our Leaving Certificate Class of 2020 and their families the very best and above all good health. As mentioned previously it is our intention to host a Graduation Ceremony of sorts in the new school year.

Stay safe, stay focused and stay in touch.

Yours sincerely,

Eddie J. Collins. Principal.          .