Guidelines governing the role of teachers and schools in the collating of calculated grades for Leaving Certificate students will be published tomorrow, the Minister for Education has told the Dáil.
It is understood the guidelines will also include a measure to discourage the canvassing of teachers by parents and students.
Joe McHugh told the Dáil that the document will give details as to how a teacher will determine a student's estimated mark. He said he wanted to make it clear that the estimated mark that a teacher awarded would not be based on a student’s performance in any mock exam. He said while available evidence "can be used", the marks awarded would be informed by a teacher's professional judgement.
The Minister reiterated that planning was under way to reopen schools for the new school year in September. Describing any reopening as "a massive logistical operation" he said a "one size fits all" approach would not apply. With more than one million people here engaged in learning, in facilities ranging from small schools to multi campus Higher Education institutions, he said there may be different scenarios ranging from small groups attending, or to a phased return or a full return.
He said all decisions would be based on public health advice, and that "our most vulnerable students must and will be a focus for our priorities".
Mr McHugh said entities such as Bus Éireann and the HSE were being consulted, as well as education partners. He said his department was also looking closely at the experience of other countries.
The Minister said that he wanted a special programme which provides additional educational support to children with special educational needs to go ahead over the summer. However, he said public health advice was key.
Mr McHugh said while it was not possible to deliver the normal so-called 'July provision’ programme, "we are exploring all options for a programme to run over the summer". He said it must be safe to do it.
The 'July provision' programme normally runs for four weeks over the month of July. It aims at ensuring continuity of education and routine for children with conditions such as autism.
The minister said his department was also looking at additional programmes to support children with the greatest risk of disadvantage.
Fianna Fáil's spokesperson on education, Thomas Byrne, welcomed the information given by the Minister and called for greater numbers of places to be made available at third level for this year’s students "to recognise the particular difficulty that they have been under".
He said he hoped that there would not be further blockages to the reopening of schools, beyond the public health advice.
Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said there needed to be more consultation with schools as to reopening and he said schools’ capacity was going to be key.
He said most schools already did not have the capacity to hold the number of students that they have.
Mr Ó Laoghaire called for priority to be given in any phased return to children from disadvantaged backgrounds or with special educational needs.