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Gary Gannon TD, the Social Democrats spokesperson for Education, has demanded an explanation as to why the Government took a full week to confirm that two errors had been identified in the Leaving Certificate predicted grades marking system.

Deputy Gannon said:

“Today’s scandalous development has needlessly added to the stress levels of this year’s Leaving Certificate cohort. We have learned today from the Minister that coding errors have resulted in 7,200 incorrect grades being issued, with 6,500 students downgraded.

“I completely understand the frustration, confusion and anxiety they must be feeling right now. This year’s Leaving Certificate students have been beyond resilient over the past few months, having to deal with all the uncertainty surrounding the State exams due to Covid-19.

“It simply beggars belief that the Government has known about these errors for a week but kept students in the dark as it scrambled to deal with the crisis.

“Given the latest controversy surrounding the predicted grades model, the Minister needs to extend the deadline for students wishing to apply to sit the traditional Leaving Certificate exams, which is supposed to be this Friday. In addition, round three CAO offers, which are due tomorrow, need to be postponed until there is further clarity provided by the Government.

“The Minister said today that the coding errors will not impact the students who received a higher grade and their results will still stand. She also assured students who were downgraded that they would not be disadvantaged.

“However, it is difficult to see how this will be resolved in practice given the existing pressure on college places.

“It is imperative that the Minister for Higher and Further Education, the CAO and higher education institutions outline very quickly what options students will have and if they will be able to join their course if their new grades make them entitled to a place.

“I promise to seek answers on behalf of all the students affected by the latest Leaving  Certificate debacle and am calling on the Minister for Education to come into Dáil to explain how this could happen – ultimately, that’s where accountability lies .”

September 30, 2020

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