The ETBsNPA is the voluntary organisation that represents the Parent Associations of the schools that are administered by the sixteen ETBs.
The ETBsNPA members are gravely concerned regarding the lack of certainty that prevails for the cohort of Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied Candidates and their families who at this stage have no concrete, definitive information regarding the staging of the Leaving Certificate Examination.
The information is fluid, as published by the DES and Minister McHugh, which is adding to the anxiety and stress that Candidates are experiencing at present.
This is evidenced by the messages from distraught parents that are conveyed to the ETBsNPA organisation daily.
The ETBsNPA respectfully suggests that the term “Predictive Grades” should be removed from the conversation to be replaced by the term “Recorded Results”.
There is no tradition of recording Predictive Grades current in the education system in Ireland.
The term is adding confusion and creating unnecessary debate therefore the term should become redundant in the present crisis – that is the strong view of the ETBsNPA.
However, every school has a record of results that can be utilised to ascertain the potential of each student.
The suggestion is that the results of the Junior Cycle, Christmas, Summer Examinations in addition to the classwork, homework records held by teachers should factor in establishing a performance assessment for the students.
The Mock Examinations should not feature as there are many parents and guardians who have reservations regarding the circulation and correction of the Pre-Examination papers.
The ETBsNPA would welcome the holding of a conversation, the equivalent to a Junior Cycle SLAR meeting, whereby the teachers of individual students would present a consensus assessment based on “Recorded Results”, motivation, attitude, work rate, Special Needs and other relevant factors that are “recorded” in the professional opinions of the teaching staff and the management of a school.
The ETBsNPA would welcome a suggested weighting , to be agreed by the relevant stakeholders, for the various areas as listed above, to give a nationwide measure of uniformity.
There is no ideal solution, that is accepted, but a solution must be proffered to end the torturous worry and acute anxiety being experienced by families at present.
Should a student wish to pursue a third level qualification it would be advisable that the requirement subjects, two or three depending on the requirements for a course, should be examined in a written examination scenario.
That examination could be staged by the SEC or the third-level institution in tandem with an interview to ascertain the suitability of the candidate for a third-level course. An appeal process should feature if students are not happy with the outcome.
The above suggestion would reduce the number of candidates for a written examination, thus ensuring “physical distancing” in an Examination Centre, while giving candidates an equitable opportunity to have a sense of achievement and a reassurance that they have merited and rewarded a place on a third level course.
The ETBsNPA is aware that the staging of a written examination will necessitate logistical problems for institutions, but it is imperative that a solution is arrived at before depression and anxiety increases which, unfortunately, could lead to tragedy for some family units.
There is a is a concern, that is also featuring in contact from parents to the ETBsNPA, which is the fear of spreading Covid from an Examination Centre to a home.
ETBsNPA as an organisation dreads the possibility of learning of the death of a student or adult due to the Covid Virus being sourced from an Examination Centre.
Parents and guardians who are in contact with the ETBsNPA speak of fear, anxiety, dwindling of confidence and motivation, despair, self-harm issues, suicidal tendencies, lack of equity and a catalogue of other serious concerns.
Please listen to the Parent Voice and the Student Voice – end the uncertainty.