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Leaving Certs disappointed but understand choices were limited

May 21st, 2020 10:05 PM

By Southern Star Team

Emily Byrne, Abbie Salter-Townshend and Michael Veale, all Leaving Cert students from Skibbereen Community School, who won't now have to sit the exam this summer. (Photo: Anne Minihane)

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Students give their views on the exam’s cancellation to Jackie Keogh, Emma Connolly and Kieran O’Mahony

Bethan Jenkins, Schull Community College

‘Yes, overall, I think the best decision was to cancel it, but I do worry about the predicted grade system and how that would affect me personally.

‘I was abroad in the UK a lot doing interviews and auditions for college – including RADA and the Guildford School of Acting – and I worry about how that will impact on my grades. I know grades aren’t necessary for acting, but I’m also interested in screen writing and I do want to have a decent Leaving Cert.’

Éadaoin O’Shea Costley, Mount St Michael,
Rosscarbery

‘I am disappointed that they cancelled the exam, but I know there is no other option – nothing else would work in this situation.

‘I think the results will be done in the fairest way possible. However, I think anyone who would like to challenge, or improve, their estimated grades would find it difficult.

‘It is unfortunate that we don’t have a continuous assessment system here in Ireland. We have all been geared towards one big exam.’

Liam O’Donovan, Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí:

‘I am delighted it has been cancelled because it relieves a lot of unwanted stress and pressure. I always had my doubts about it going ahead because we didn’t have the course fully completed.

‘It would have been harsh to bring us all into a hall, sit us down, and make us do an exam in the middle of a pandemic.

‘Studying at home is not the same as at school, you don’t have the same focus.’

Aoife McSweeney, Mount St Michael,
Rosscarbery

‘Out of all the solutions, I do think this is the fairest because we are in unprecedented times. I have to remind myself that this won’t be the traditional Leaving Cert but the efforts of everyone – who has worked hard over the last two years – will be rewarded in August.’

Abbie Salter-Townshend, Skibbereen
Community School

‘I’m quite happy at the decision to cancel the exams. Personally, I feel like I’ve enough work done in the past and that it was the fairest decision the government could make in this situation.’

Aideen O’Brien, Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí

‘Personally, I think it is a good idea because we are in lockdown until the 18th and that is likely to be extended.

‘A lot of students have been very stressed over it because of the uncertainty – the not knowing. Now, at least, we have a bit of clarity and closure with the announcement that we are going to get predicted grades.’

Leah McAree, Sacred Heart Secondary School, Clonakilty

I feel huge relief knowing that the uncertainty is over at last. We had been trying to work away ourselves with the resources we had, and our teachers were in contact with us as if we were in school, but at least now we can move on.

‘I think cancelling the exam was the fairest thing to do, and while it’s not ideal, this way of marking, predictive grades, is the fairest system. I know it will raise concerns but people’s health has to take precedence.

Emily Byrne, Skibbereen Community School

‘I don’t think it’s ideal, and would have preferred to sit the exams as I was ready to really push on for the last few months and I won’t have that opportunity now. But I’m glad there is some clarity and I do realise that public health is what’s important.’

Ciara O’Sullivan, Coláiste na Toirbhirte, Bandon

‘Having thought about it now I’m actually happy that it has been cancelled after weeks of not knowing whether it was going to take place or not. I suppose it’s just scary too in one sense because it’s completely out of our control. This was an exam that we had been aiming at for the past two years of our lives and it is just completely gone.

It was really hard to study, too, over the past few weeks at home as we didn’t know whether it was going ahead or not so thankfully now the decision has been made and we will now be getting predicted grades.’

Michael Veale, Skibbereen Community School

‘I always felt that it would have been very difficult to go ahead with the exams, even with the postponed dates. But I wouldn’t have liked to be in the government’s shoes – it really was a case of making the best decision out of a bad bunch. I am anxious to know more details and the mechanism of how what’s proposed will work exactly, though.’

Aoife Conway, Bandon Grammar School

‘I guess every Leaving Cert student in the country is feeling so many different things now and it is actually bizarre and I really can’t believe it. I’m really impressed with the government decision and I think they are really teaching young people what a democracy is and within a week of thousands of students writing letters, we have an outcome which is incredible.

‘Obviously everyone has a level of anxiety about the predicted grades systems and how it will work but I think that’s universal.’

Christina O’Sullivan, Scoil Phobhail Bhéara,
Castletownbere

‘I feel equal parts relief and disbelief that the exams have been cancelled, but feel ultimately it was the right decision. The uncertainty and speculation has been frustrating, but there would have been no point going ahead with it unless all students were on an equal footing.’

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