Supporting Documents following Ministers Announcement

A series of documents are being published to support this announcement, please see attached:

  • A Guide to Calculated Grades for Leaving Certificate Students May 2020
  • Challenges of Organising Examinations with Social Distancing Requirement
  • Wellbeing of Leaving Certificate Students: Factors for Consideration NEPS May 2020

A Guide to Calculated Grades for Leaving Certificate Students 2020

Challenges of Organising Examinations with Social Distancing Requirement…

Wellbeing of Leaving Certificate Students – Factors for Consideration NE…

Minister announces postponement of 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations

Statement 08 May, 2020


Minister announces postponement of 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations


All students to be offered the option of accepting Calculated Grades or sitting Leaving Certificate written examinations at a later date


The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has today (Friday 8 May 2020) announced the postponement of the 2020 Leaving Certificate.


Following a decision at Cabinet, all students are to be offered the option of receiving Calculated Grades for the subjects they are studying and the alternative of sitting the 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations at a 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.”


Minister McHugh thanked the advisory group of stakeholders for their input in recent weeks in relation to the holding of the examinations.


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 judgment 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.



 Information for Leaving Cert Students, here:

Notes for Editors


There are two main phases in the process of arriving at a calculated grade: School-based and national standardisation.


Both phases are underpinned by the principles of teacher professionalism, support for students, objectivity, fairness and equity, collaboration and timeliness.


In addition, and in the spirit of fairness to all Leaving Certificate students, the option of sitting the Leaving Certificate examinations when it becomes feasible to hold them remains open to all students.


The process of arriving at a Calculated Grade applies to:

  • Established Leaving Certificate – subjects
  • Leaving Certificate Applied – subjects, tasks and vocational specialisms
  • Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme – Link Modules.


Other materials being published include


NAPD welcomes the revised Junior Certificate arrangements announced by the Department of Education – 29 April, 2020

NAPD welcomes the revised Junior Certificate arrangements announced by the Department of Education – 29 April, 2020

The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) has responded to news of the Department of Education’s announcement this afternoon in relation to providing schools with greater freedom to decide whether to run school-based assessments for Junior Cycle students this semester.

According to Clive Byrne, Director of the NAPD:

“The Coronavirus continues to cause unprecedented levels of disruption and chaos across the Irish education system and this disruption is being felt across the board by students, teachers, school leaders and parents, but most critically, by our students in exam years. 

“To this end. the NAPD welcomes the decision taken today by the Department of Education and Skills to provide schools with greater freedom to decide how best to facilitate school-based assessments for this year’s Junior Certificate students. 

“The health and wellbeing of our students has always been our priority, and that of the Department of Education. To their credit, the Department of Education has clearly listened to the feedback and concerns voiced by school leaders, teachers and students. Today’s decision reflects this, and will help provide students with greater clarity and certainty into how their three years of hard work and learning throughout the Junior Cycle will be assessed.

“It will also mean that students and their families can look forward to entering Senior Cycle education this autumn without the burden of unfinished Junior Cycle exams to contend with.”


29 April, 2020 – Minister McHugh announces revised arrangements for Junior Cycle 2020

  • All third year Junior Cycle students to be awarded certificates for the completion of Junior Cycle by the Department of Education and Skills
  • Schools given autonomy to assess students and all students to receive a report on achievement 
  • Adult learners to be given opportunity to take final Junior Cycle examinations in autumn

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD has today (Wednesday 29 April 2020) announced revised arrangements for this year’s Junior Cycle.

The decision was taken following recommendations from an advisory group of stakeholders as part of planning for the State Examinations in response to the Covid-19 public health measures and the decision that the Junior Cycle State Examinations will not run this year.

Minister McHugh attended the meeting of the advisory group and thanked the members for their work.

“In this difficult time for students I have listened to the very strongly-held and well-articulated views of students, parents and other stakeholders,” Minister McHugh said.

“This decision has been made with the health and wellbeing of students, parents and teachers at the forefront of our thinking.

“It gives students and their families more clarity and certainty. It also gives schools freedom to decide how best to assess the progress of students following three years of hard work and learning.”

Under the revised arrangements and in light of the exceptional circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the work and achievement of third year Junior Cycle students will be recognised with a state certificate from the Department of Education and Skills.

As soon as possible after the end of the current school year, students will receive a written school report on their learning achievements in each subject, short course and/or priority learning unit

Schools are also being given autonomy to decide whether to run school-based assessments and what form they take. Options to consider include school-designed examinations, tasks, projects, assignments, essay style questions, presentations, or other tasks agreed at a local level. Guidance for schools on reporting to students and parents, developed with the advice of the advisory group of stakeholders, will be published by the Department.

The State Examinations Commission is also being asked to put in place specific arrangements for adult learners to give them an opportunity to take final Junior Cycle examinations for which they are entered in autumn 2020.


Notes for Editors

For info on the advisory group see here

Further advice in relation to assessment options for schools will be issued by the Department.

Certificate of Completion

This will issue from the Department early in the next school year. It will provide each student with a certificate confirming completion of the Junior Cycle programme of study, including the list of subjects, short courses and/or priority learning units studied and the level at which the subject was studied.

Adult Learners      

The SEC will put in place specific arrangements for adult learners who are studying a subject or subjects at Junior Cycle level within one academic year.

The specific dates of the examinations in autumn 2020 will be determined as soon as possible.

These examinations will only be available to students who meet the specific qualifying criteria.

Letter to Members

Dear Members


I hope this bulletin finds you safe and well during these very unusual and challenging times.


I am writing to you to give some context surrounding the decision taken by our school Coláiste Bhaile Chláir (CBC) on Monday this week.


It has been a privilege to serve as President of NAPD in a voluntary capacity over the last year. I know that you will all fully appreciate that my primary role on a daily basis is that of Principal of CBC. It is a privilege to serve as President of NAPD and to be active as a voice for school leaders at all the meetings and events which I attend. I have always endeavoured to do my best to ensure that the voice of school leaders is heard on all occasions and I will continue to do this while I continue to hold the position of President of our association.


However on a daily basis I also serve the community who attend and work in our school in Claregalway. Like you, I must deal with the challenges that present themselves to us as school leaders. At this time those are even greater and the challenges being faced by our teachers, parents and students have increased exponentially in recent weeks. Lack of certainty and clarity for students especially for those due to complete Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate assessments has been a growing concern for me as Principal and I am sure for you as well. Following the Minister’s announcement on Friday 10 April for school based, non-state certified exams in the Autumn for 3rd year students, this has  added further to the issues for me as a school leader.


Student disengagement, lack of clarity, students returning to do school exams in September (if we can return fully with social distancing more than likely in place) all added to focussing my mind to bringing certainty to our students in the best interests of their health and wellbeing. Having consulted with parents, our in-school management team, Chair of BOM and teachers we choose to have school based exams in May rather than September/Autumn for our 3rd years as suggested by the Minister. As a school community we felt we were right and free to make such a decision in the best interests of our own teachers, students and parents.


I understand that this may have added to the pressures that some members have experienced in recent days as school leaders in your own schools, especially given the coverage our school decision received in the media and for that I am sorry to have placed that burden upon some of you.


At all times I have continued to highlight that the decision and options taken were on behalf of my school community and for my school community. I must work for and lead my school first while at the same time separately doing my best for school leaders throughout the country in my engagements and work on your behalf. I will continue to call for clarity and urgency on your behalf for decisions to be made in the best interests of our schools during this very short last term of school.


It is in everyone’s interests, our students and their parents, our teachers and our school leaders deserve clarity sooner rather than later.


We are living through unprecedented times and certainly in my lifetime I have never experienced such a situation as COVID 19 and its impact as it presents itself to us all each day. The new normal which we all find ourselves is very challenging and looks like it could possibly extend into the new academic year, who know what September will bring for us all.


But I have no doubt as I have said in previous bulletins and video presentations that in each of your schools you are doing an outstanding job and it is greatly appreciated throughout the country the role school leaders have played in each of your school communities by supporting your own teachers, students and parents


Alan Mongey



Talks Offered from THC Consult

4 Talks set up for 4 consecutive Wednesdays,

4-5pm,  29th April, 6th May, 13th May and 20 May,

All information is attached below on each of the talks.

Talk One Information

1 Wed 29th April 4-5pm GDPR Protecting You & Your Data when Working from Home

Talk Two Information

2. 6th May, 2020 Work Life Integration while Working from Home

Talk Three Information

3. 13th May, 2020 4-5pm Conducting On-Line Interviews during Covid 19

Talk Four Information

4. 20 May, 2020 4 to 5pm Effective Communication and the Role of Principal in Staff Resilience

Response to announcement on state examinations


Response to announcement on state examinations


Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools, (ACCS) Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI), Joint Managerial Body (JMB) and National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) appreciate the clarity brought by this morning’s announcement regarding the state examinations.  This brings certainty for students at this difficult time as they continue to prepare for their Leaving Certificate and Junior Cycle Exams.

We wish to assure the students and parents of the continued support of their schools in maintaining continuity of teaching and learning and engagement with the student cohort. This is a vitally important time for students to remain connected with their schools and their teachers, and we would encourage all students to do so and their parents to support them in this regard.

We look forward to engaging further with the Department of Education and Skills to work through the operational details of this announcement over the coming weeks.


John Irwin                     Nessa White                                John Curtis                                   Clive Byrne

General Secretary    General Secretary                  General Secretary              Director

ACCS                                ETBI                                               JMB                                     NAPD






SNA Allocations

Notification to School Management Authorities

Deferral to 2021/22 of the full implementation of the new frontloading model for the allocation of Special Needs Assistants for students in mainstream classes in primary and post-primary schools

In light of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis the new Frontloaded Allocation Model for Special Needs Assistants, for students in mainstream classes in primary and post -primary schools has been deferred until the beginning of the 2021/22 school year.

The regional information and briefing sessions that the Department intended to run before the end of this school year will also be deferred.

These sessions are key to helping school leaders and teachers in their planning for the introduction of the new model and their engagement with parents. They will be rescheduled for an appropriate future date.

It is now too late to run the traditional applications-based process for the allocation of the SNAs for 2020/21 school year. Special arrangements are being put in place that will facilitate continuity and certainty for schools, SNAs and parents.

The following arrangements will apply for the school year 2020/2021 :

  • All mainstream class SNA allocations that apply currently to schools will be frozen and will automatically rollover into the 2020/21 school year.
  • No school will receive an allocation less than what they have currently and existing SNAs currently in mainstream settings can continue in post for the next school year in the normal way.
  • Applications for additional SNA support submitted to the NCSE prior to 3 April 2020 will be processed, and determinations made, under the current scheme. However, no further applications for this school year can be accepted.

New Circular to be published week commencing 20 April:

A new circular covering the allocation of SNAs for 2020/21 will issue to schools during the week beginning 20 April 2020. The circular will outline:

  • the detail of the rollover of SNA mainstream allocations,
  • the procedures for dealing with new/additional care needs presenting in schools, appeals

SNA allocations for special classes and special schools are not affected by this arrangement.

The new circular will also outline the next steps for the full implementation of the Frontloading Model from September 2021.