The Taoiseach has said he has concerns about the social-economic profiling that was being considered as part of the predicted grading of Leaving Certificate students and said it is being re-examined to ensure fairness.

Micheál Martin said the decision taken in May by the outgoing government to have the predicted grading system did at that stage include student profiling of schools.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne programme, Mr Martin said the Government is now looking at different ways to standardise results and will hold briefings with the opposition before finalising the matter.

He said that the likelihood is that there will be significant grade inflation if it is left to schools alone to grade students, and that is problematic in terms of access to college.

He said that Ireland is in a better position than the UK and is taking more time to get it right and ensure there is no U-turn as happened in the UK.

He said he has just been briefed on this and will share the decisions that remain with the opposition shortly.

Meanwhile, the President of the ASTI said the union still does not know how Leaving Cert results are being processed and would like to know what process is being used to determine grades.

Speaking on the same programme, Ann Piggott said the union did not want any students, particularly those from disadvantaged areas, to be negatively affected by the grading process.

Ms Piggott said a staggered delay to the start of the school year would be very welcome and allow schools to get everything in place.

She said that teachers were very concerned about safety in schools and infections, adding it was very hard to find room to schools to adhere to one metre distancing.

Ms Piggott said just one isolation room in a school would not be sufficient because there could be several students using the room at a time.

She said space is a premium in schools and she knows of some schools that do not have enough rooms and are considering ordering extra buildings.

Ms Piggott said she knows of one school that is going to use a marquee, while another is considering using a polytunnel for storage in order to free up space.

At least one school, she said, has not received its supply of sanitiser.

She stressed that teachers want to return to school and are keen that it happens in a safe environment for everybody.

Ms Piggott says the union has requested a meeting with the HSE's Health Protection Surveillance Centre because it is concerned about very high risk and high risk category members.


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Ms Piggott said some members are being told to go back to school, despite having very serious illnesses.

She said one member who has suffered cancer and had a breast and a lung removed is being encouraged to go back to school, despite being classified as high risk.

Mr Martin said he wants to get the schools reopened and ensure there is enough health care capacity over the next 18 months.

Mr Martin said "we have taken it on" and see it as important for society to get a million people back to school.

He said the core issue with going back to school is that there are risks and yet most people want children to go back.

Mr Martin said there will be challenges, but he has seen the innovations with perspex screens and technology being used to try to keep people safe.

He said he is not micro-managing the return to schools, but is making sure the resources are in place to allow schools open safely.

Mr Martin said children need socialisation and to be with their peers, in particular children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

He said children's development is impaired if they are not in school and it is right to get children back to school even if there are risks.

Mr Martin defended the Minister for Education's handling of her portfolio saying that Norma Foley has been very active and "knows education inside out".

He said she knows her brief intimately and is fully across the return to school and other areas.