Discrimination of Past Leaving Cert Students Cannot be Tolerated

The government has ‘completely ignoring’ past leaving cert students as they prepare to release the leaving cert results on Monday.

I have been repeatedly raising this issue since July. It is outrageous that the government has refused to give any information on how, or even if, they plan to protect past leaving cert students applying for places this year.

The government has known this issue was coming down the line for months. There is no excuse for not having a plan in place. A plan needs to be communicated. I have heard from so many stressed students who are anxious that they will lose out on places.

There are around 20,000 students in this position, a quarter of all CAO applicants, and they have been completely left in the dark. There is real concern out there that they will be disadvantaged by grade inflation from predicted grades.

I am shocked that despite having both Ministers before the Dáil, and the Minister for Education in the Special Covid Committee we have not been given any information on this issue. Sinn Féin has, for the last couple months, repeatedly sought clarification through every avenue available to us.

Sinn Fein has continued to try to work constructively to address the concerns of students. With my colleague Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, we have proposed a number of solutions for the Ministers to consider:

1: To set aside a certain number of spaces for prior leaving cert students in the most popular courses across the institutions.

2: To consider adjusting grades of prior leaving cert students to account for any grade inflation in 2020.

3: To apply the CAO admission points from the year that the student sat the leaving cert, so if points go up for a certain course this year it will not apply to past students.

We will continue to raise this issue and call on the Government to take real steps to ensure the results are fair to all students.