Lowry dismayed over further stress for Leaving Cert students

Noel Dundon

Reporter:

Noel Dundon

Email:

nd@tipperarystar.ie

Trial date set for independent Tipperary TD Michael Lowry TD

Michael Lowry TD - feels very sorry for the Leaving Cert class of 2020.

The Class of 2020 has also been deprived of many of the things that usually mark the end of the
2nd level schooldays.

Deputy Michael Lowry says he is dismayed at the fact that Leaving Cert students are facing
further stress and anxiety.


News was revealed late last week that the beleaguered Class of 2020 is now facing delays in
receiving their Leaving Certificate results, which in turn will delay their CAO offers and the start
of their Third Level education.


‘I feel genuinely sorry for these young people and their parents’ says Deputy Lowry. ‘They have
suffered more than many as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and certainly more than Leaving
Cert classes of the past, and it seems as though this is set to continue for them for the coming
weeks’


The Department of Education confirmed on Thursday night last that the calculated grades for
the some 60,000 Leaving Cert students will not now be issued until September 7. This is three
weeks later than students who sat the Leaving Cert exam in the past have traditionally received
their results.


The first round of CAO offers will not now be made until September 11, which is just two days
from the date when students expected to start the next stage of the education. This date will
now also be pushed out as a result, which will impact on application for SUSI Grants and also
make the search for accommodation much more difficult for these first time Third Level
students, as much of the available accommodation will have been snapped up by returning
college students. There are already calls to have the application deadline for SUSI extended,
which Deputy Lowry will be actively pursuing.


‘Since the start of the pandemic, Leaving Certificate students and their families have been living
under a cloud of uncertainty’ says Deputy Lowry. ‘First of all their schools closed with little
warning. Then they did not know if or when the Leaving Certificate would take place. They were
receiving mixed messages and confusion was rife as they tried to study for a major exam that
they were not sure would actually take place. Different dates were mooted but not confirmed.
Then the Calculated Grades solution was introduced and students feared that they may not
have performed as well in class as they would in a traditional exam. But with so much
uncertainty at every step, they embraced this solution as it meant they could move past the stress and worry.

Now, when it seemed no further uncertainty was likely and they were
focused on what their Calculated Grades would yield, they have been dealt yet another blow in
their seemingly unending struggle to transition from 2 nd to 3 rd Level education’ says Deputy
Lowry.


The Class of 2020 has also been deprived of many of the things that usually mark the end of the
2nd level schooldays. Almost overnight they lost direct daily physical access to their teachers,
their school libraries and study facilities, they did not Graduate as they expected to and found
themselves isolated as they tried to study on computers, laptops and, in some cases, on mobile
phones. Most importantly, they missed out on the support and camaraderie of being together
as their schooldays ended and they prepared to go their individual ways after many years
together.

‘It has been a tough, stressful and upsetting time for these young people, and it has
been difficult for their parents to see them under such pressure’ says Deputy Lowry.
‘I am very closely watching the situation. I am actively working on having the priority deadline
for SUSI applications extended. My office is available to assist with applications if required and
is only a phone call away.


Finally, I remind students that the portal to confirm that they wish to receive calculated grades
is open from Monday 20 July at 12noon. Students will receive a text message asking them to
‘op in’ to receive their calculated grades on the portal. I wish each of you every success’
concluded Deputy Lowry.