A Co Galway secondary school has decided not to participate in this year's Junior Certificate exams.

While this year's June State junior cycle exams have been cancelled, it is planned that students will sit papers set by the State Examinations Commission in school-organised exams intended to take place during the school day at some stage in the autumn.

It is not clear as yet whether those papers will be corrected under the aegis of the SEC or independently by teachers in schools.

Coláiste Bhaile Chláir in Claregalway said it has taken the decision not to participate in these exams in the best interest of its students, and with a view to reducing anxiety.

The school’s 200 third-year students will forego their Junior Cert in favour of school-based end-of-year tests and assignments. These will be held remotely over the next six weeks with results issued to students in June.

The school said any student who wants to sit their Junior Certificate exams will be facilitated to do so in the autumn.

Earlier this month the Department of Education announced that this year’s Junior Certificate exams would take place at some stage in September or later in the next school year.

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The decision was made to allow for the prioritisation of the state Leaving Certificate exams.

While Junior Cert exam papers will be provided as usual by the State Examinations Commission (SEC), the exams themselves will be organised by schools within school time. It is not clear, as yet, whether or not the SEC will oversee the correction of the papers.

Principal of Coláiste Bhaile Chláir, Alan Mongey, told RTÉ News that his school’s decision is based on the wellbeing of its students.

"We don’t want these exams hanging over the students all summer," he said. "Junior Certificate students are already starting to disengage".

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Mr Mongey said teachers at the school were "extremely positive" about the decision. Students were told the news at an online assembly that took place this morning.

"People say the Junior Cert is a trial run for the Leaving Cert but it is not really," Mr Mongey said.

"We have always had a small number of students who would have missed the Junior Cert exams - because of a bereavement for example - and that has never hindered them."

Third-year students at Choláiste Bhaile Chláir have welcomed the news. 

"I think it's brilliant," said Lauren Rodgers. "I was really anxious about having the exams in September. I think it's much better to have assessments done in May and have them done and over with."

Third-year student Dáire Crowe said that his classmates were "over the moon" when they were told the news this morning. He said students were now looking forward to "the summer they deserve". 

Subject teachers at the school will together devise ways of assessing their students - through a mixture of exams which will be sat by students in their homes, and other projects.

The school uses laptops in place of books for Junior Cycle students so all students have access to a device.

As well as being principal of Coláiste Bhaile Chláir, Mr Mongey is also president of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals.

He said he has been speaking to "quite a few" other school principals who are considering making a similar move.

More than 65,000 teenagers are due to sit their Junior Certificate exams this year at more than 700 schools across the country.