The Minister for Education has said her department is looking at what has happened in the UK on calculated grades and learning from their experience for this year's Leaving Certificate examinations.

After a day of mounting political pressure to publish the formula that is being used here to standardise grades nationally, Norma Foley said the weightings being used here were different to the UK.

She said the model would be published after the process had run its course and she asked people to "stand back now" and allow the process to run.

Ms Foley said more weight was being given here to the percentage mark awarded to students by their teachers and schools. 

She said officials were currently examining what happened in the UK and learning from it.

Asked were changes being made to the process here as a result of the UK experience, she repeated that officials were looking and learning.

She said there were still a number of weeks to go and said the individual achievement of students was at the heart of the Irish process.

In an earlier statement, Ms Foley she reiterated her commitment to ensuring that the calculated grades in Ireland will treat students fairly and equitably.

The minister said she had ensured that adequate time was given here for the detailed work needed to enable the calculation of grades.

Earlier, Sinn Féin added to calls for the algorithm that is being used here to calculate the results to be published.

It comes amid concerns that inequalities that emerged in the UK process could be replicated here.

The minister said that unlike the UK systems, the office had collected individual estimated percentage marks and not estimated grades for students from schools.

She said this gives the Irish system more detailed information about students for use in the calculated grades process.

Minister Foley also said that unlike Scotland, Irish students retained the right to sit the written Leaving Certificate examinations later in the year.

She said she has been engaging with her officials and stakeholders to ensure that schools can fully reopen at the end of this summer.

The minister said schools have been provided with guidance and financial resources in respect of PPE, cleaning, additional staff, and social distancing requirements

Ms Foley said she was confident that schools could fully reopen at the end of the summer. She said she understood the anxiety, but there was "phenomenal work" going on in schools.

She said we all had a part to play to ensure that schools reopened and stayed open and she was confident schools were doing all that was necessary.


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Sinn Féin's Mark Ward has called on the minister to reassure students waiting for their results.

He said: "The class of 2020 Leaving Cert students have already gone through the wringer mentally since the outbreak of Covid-19. 

"The public health emergency is unprecedented, and students should not be punished as a result of indecision or mismanagement by this Government.

"In a normal year the Leaving Cert is a cause of anxiety and worry for students but during this pandemic these concerns are exasperated. 

"I have contacted the Minister for Education and asked her to bring forward solutions which will ease the mental health concerns of students.

"The class of 2020 need a break."

Additional reporting Aisling Kenny