The Department of Education has confirmed that there will be no state certified Junior Certificate exams this year.

It has confirmed that while Junior Certificate papers prepared by the State Examinations Commission will be sent to schools for use in school based exams in the Autumn - completed exam papers will not then be used for any form of state certification.

The marking scheme devised by the SEC for the Junior Certificate papers will also be made available to schools, however schools themselves are free to decide how the papers might be marked, and by whom.

In recent years second level teachers here have expressed strong opposition, via their unions, to marking their own students' work for state certification purposes.

Attempts to introduce such a practice ran aground several years ago as a result of teacher trade union resistance.

Yesterday one Galway school became to first to announce that it is dispensing entirely with this year's Junior Cycle exam arrangements.

Coláiste Bhaile Chláir has decided to run its own end of year assessments over the coming weeks, using technology to allow students complete assignments remotely, and using exam papers and tests designed by its own teachers.