“Well rounded, resilient and compassionate” class of 2021 wished well by school leaders as Leaving Cert exams begin

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  • “The class of 2021 will go down in the history books as one which faced and overcame unprecedented challenges due to Covid-19. School leaders, teachers, their families and their peers are immensely proud of their achievements thus far and we wish them every success in their exams and all their future endeavours.” – Clive Byrne, Director, National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals;
  • The Senior Cycle this year’s 6th Years have experienced has been far from typical with school closures, remote learning and social distancing challenges faced and overcome in the past 14 months;
  • School leaders encourage students to believe in their ability, avoid the points “rat race” and remember the multiple pathways to their chosen career that lay ahead.

Clive Byrne, Director, National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) has wished the 52,000* students beginning their Leaving Certificate written exams today, Wednesday, 9 June, well. Commenting on the exams, he said:

“On behalf of all school leaders, I would like to extend my best wishes to our 6th Year students beginning their examinations today. The past school year has been extremely challenging, and all students should be immensely proud of reaching this milestone.

“The past 14 months have seen school closures, remote learning and Covid-19 precautions that affected every part of the school community, not least so, our 6th Year students. We must commend their resilience and their commitment to their education throughout and acknowledge that the circumstances they found themselves in have created a cohort of well-rounded and compassionate young adults ready to make a positive contribution to Irish life.”

Wellbeing

“This exam season, we continue to encourage our students to focus on their wellbeing as this is ultimately just as important as any exam. It is vital that our students are supported in looking after their physical and mental health during this period.

“While the simple things like getting a good night’s sleep and eating well can go a long way, we encourage all parents to support their children during this time and remind all that their entire school community remains available for support and guidance.”

Path ahead

“The Leaving Certificate exams mark the end of one chapter and the start of another, as our students transition from post primary to further and higher education or the workforce. The experience of studying for and completing the Leaving Cert provides students with a specific set of skills that are completely transferable and applicable to whatever they decide to do next, of which, there are many options.

“Covid has presented many challenges for our traditional education system, however, it has also created opportunities. The recent creation of multiple new apprenticeship schemes and technical programmes in our third level institutions offer additional education and training pathways to our young people, more so than ever before.

“As school leaders, we would like to encourage our Leaving Cert students not to focus on the “points race” or to be drawn into comparisons with their peers. There are many routes to your desired career and no one pathway or college course trumps another.”

Accredited grades

“In response to the pandemic, the Leaving Certificate accredited grades programme was developed and implemented by the Department of Education in consultation with a wide range of education stakeholders. This, alongside the option which has seen many students choosing to sit their traditional written examinations this month, will ensure no student will be disadvantaged by the disruption to their education over the past year. It will offer every student the ability to achieve their best possible grade.

“The class of 2021 will go down in the history books as one which faced and overcame unprecedented challenges due to Covid-19. School leaders, teachers, their families and their peers are immensely proud of their achievements thus far and we wish them every success in their exams and all their future endeavours.”

Notes to the editor:

*Indicative figure of 52,000 includes all students who have registered for sitting at least one Leaving Certificate written examination. This number is subject to change as some students may decline the option of a written exam on the day and instead choose to accept their accredited grade.

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