Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD announced today that there will be alternative examination dates for Leaving Certificate students who suffer a bereavement during the course of their examinations. This pilot scheme will afford those who suffer a close bereavement during their Leaving Certificate examinations the opportunity to sit some of their exam papers at a later date in July. The decision comes after a review into the support offered to students in the wake of the loss of a close relative. Minister McHugh mentioned the account of Rhona Butler, a Leaving Certificate student who lost her mother during last year's exams, as being particularly informing in terms of providing greater support to those who suffer a bereavement during the state exams.
Speaking at the announcement, Minister McHugh said that "the death of a loved one is a deeply traumatic event for any young person, which will only be compounded if it occurs in the midst of exams." He then alluded to the importance of the Leaving Certificate within the Irish education system and the lives of young people and said these considerations lead to the development of this new initiative. Under this pilot scheme, students who suffer the loss of a loved one will be able to sit alternative exam papers between Monday the 8th and Friday the 12th of July, 2019. Students will sit these exams at a centre in Athlone this year.
The conditions of the initiative under the review of the Reasonable Accommodations at the Certificate Examinations (RACE) are as follows:
- Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) candidates who are absent from some of their examinations as a consequence of the death of a close relative at the time of the examinations will be allowed sit an alternative paper in those subjects in early July.
- The scheme will allow for a student to be absent from exams for a three-day period during the June written state examination timetable.
- The three-day period will commence from the date of the death of a close relative up to and including the day after the funeral. These three days do not need to be consecutive.
- The three-day period is intended to allow bereaved candidates time free from Leaving Certificate examinations to prepare for and attend the funeral of their loved one.
- The measures will apply in cases where the death of the close relative occurs during exam time, or in the two days prior to the exams commencing on 5th June.
- The scheme defines a close relative as a father, step-father, mother, step-mother, legal guardian, brother, step-brother, half-brother, sister, step-sister, half-sister, grandfather or grandmother.
- The scheme will also provide for the death of a son or daughter, wife or husband or civil partner of a Leaving Certificate candidate.
- The alternative sittings will take place over five days - Monday 8th July - Friday 12th July, 2019. The exam centre will be in Athlone this year.
- The scheme is being introduced on an interim and pilot basis. It will be reviewed following the 2019 Leaving Certificate.
- A student who suffers a bereavement and who wishes to take particular exams during the alternative July sittings cannot also sit those same exams during the original June sittings.
- The results from the alternative Leaving Certificate examinations will be available at the same time as the main examination results, on 13th August in 2019.
- The SEC will continue to provide the same supports to candidates suffering trauma and adversity during their examinations as in previous years (see notes).
Find out more about the Department of Education and Skills HERE.