The Department of Education is determined to hold Leaving Certificate exams for the class of 2021, officials have told an Oireachtas committee.

They were responding to questions about the news that Wales has announced that it will not hold state exams next year.

Officials told the Oireachtas education committee that the department "absolutely" wants to run next year's Leaving Certificate exams, including "in so far as possible" all components, such as practicals and orals.

However, Department Assistant Secretary Dalton Tatton said that contingency plans and alternatives to State exams were also being considered.

"We would be mad if we didn't," he told politicians.

Mr Tatton said a review would be carried out into the calculated grades process this year "in order to understand better what worked and what could be improved".

But Mr Tatton added that it was the intention to run the exams "unless it proves absolutely impossible and we do not anticipate that this will happen".

The committee heard that 2,800 students are expected to sit this year’s postponed Leaving Certificate exams, which begin next week.

The students who have registered to sit this year’s exams are sitting an average of three exams each, with the total number of individual exams registered for standing at 7,300.

The exams will take place across 600 schools and centres.