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Principals congratulate Leaving Cert students on results and begin focus on class of 2021

  • Comment from Clive Byrne, director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD): “Our Leaving Cert students receiving results this morning have shown great resilience and reserve over the past several months. Today marks a special moment in their young lives.”

The director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), Clive Byrne, has offered his congratulations to Leaving Certificate students receiving their exam results today, while also highlighting the challenges ahead for the Leaving Certificate class of 2021.

Mr Byrne said: “On behalf of Irish principals, deputy principals, and the NAPD, I would like to congratulate all those students receiving their Leaving Certificate results today.  Today’s results represent the culmination of two years of hard work and dedication from our students. Their achievements should be celebrated, and the support of their families recognised.

“The Leaving Cert class of 2020 has had to forgo many of the school traditions that all preceding sixth years have experienced and remember fondly, such as their last days at school, school graduations, and even their Debs, all in respect of public health guidance.

“In response to the pandemic, the Leaving Certificate ‘calculated grades’ programme was developed and implemented by the Department of Education in consultation with a wide range of education stakeholders. As part of this process, every effort has been made to ensure no student has been disadvantaged in receiving their results today.

“For those students who have been fortunate enough to match or exceed their expectations, today is a happy and very affirming conclusion to their second-level schooling and a launchpad to third-level education or other career opportunities.

“For other students who may be feeling disappointed, I would encourage them to remain positive.  Thankfully, there are more pathways than ever before into third-level education and their chosen careers beyond that.  Additionally, today’s employers are becoming increasingly open to sourcing talent from non-traditional disciplines and do so with a greater appreciation for the diverse experience and skillsets this brings.”

Leaving Certificate Class of 2021

“In the weeks following the excitement and emotions of today’s exam results, school leaders and all education stakeholders must now focus on the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on our Leaving Cert class of 2021. Our incoming sixth years, who have returned to classroom education in recent days, have had and will have equal if not greater challenges than this year’s school leavers.

“March’s school closures came at a time when many fifth-year students were getting to grips with crucial course material that, in a normal year, they would move to revise and refine in sixth year. While every effort was made by teachers to continue this coursework through a blended online learning approach, many students, particularly those in disadvantaged areas, did not experience the same level of learning.

“All school stakeholders must now begin to focus on what can be done to ensure no one in the Leaving Cert class of 2021 is disadvantaged. In considering this approach, learnings can be taken from the process implemented to support those who received results today.

“The NAPD has long advocated for Leaving Certificate reform, and it with this in mind that we ask the Minister for Education to continue dialogue and consultation on how Ireland might develop a more adaptive, sustainable, and modern senior cycle programme in the period ahead. As we adapt to living with Covid-19, the work of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment on this matter is now more important than ever.”

ENDS