This year's Leaving Certificate results will be issued on Friday 3 September, the Department of Education has announced.

On that date Leaving Cert students who opted to sit the exams and receive accredited grades will be awarded whichever of the two grades is the higher, in each subject.

The results will also be transmitted to the CAO which will issue first round third level offers on a date yet to be decided upon but likely to be just a few days later.

Schools are currently finalising the marks that teachers have awarded their students as part of this year’s accredited grades process. Tomorrow is the deadline for schools to submit those marks to the State Examinations Commission (SEC).

Those marks will then be subjected to a national standardisation process overseen by the SEC to reach an accredited grade for each student in each of their subjects.

Students were given a choice between sitting an exam or receiving an accredited grade, or both, in each subject.

The vast majority of students have opted for a combination of exams and accredited grades, with 99% opting for an accredited grade in at least one subject, and 91% opting to sit at least one exam.

The Department of Education has said that later in the summer it will be contacting eligible candidates who have not up to now opted for Accredited Grades to allow them another opportunity to do so.

Accredited grades are being prepared for all students in all subjects, regardless of whether or not they have opted for them, as a fallback measure in case some students are prevented from sitting exams due to illness or bereavement or being deemed a close contact of a case of Covid-19.

This will be the second year running that sees Leaving Certificate results issued several weeks later than usual. Last year’s results were made available in early September. The results, and the first round CAO offers that follow, are traditionally issued in mid-August.

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Guidance Counsellors have said that students who are applying for third level courses either through the Irish CAO system or to colleges abroad, should not be concerned about the later than usual release of the results.

They point to the fact that last year's late issuing of results did not cause students to miss out on course offers.

In relation to students who have applied to study abroad, the President of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors Beatrice Dooley said: "I'm sure that just like last year the relevant ministers will be liaising with ambassadors and the authorities in other countries, including the UK, to ensure that students who have applied to study overseas are accommodated".

She said students should remember that colleges abroad want their business.

"There are a significant number of Irish students going abroad to study, especially to countries like the Netherlands. This is a growing trend and Irish students are very popular on those courses," she said.

This year's written examinations begin next Wednesday and will run until 29 June.

Minister for Education Norma Foley said: "I would like to take this opportunity once again to stress how important it is that students taking the examinations continue to follow the public health advice and limit their contacts as the examinations approach and during the examination period.

"I wish all Leaving Certificate students taking the written examinations well, in their final preparations this week."

This year's results will be issued to students directly through the Candidate Self Service Portal.

Meanwhile, the Teachers Union of Ireland has said that the relevant Government departments must ensure that no students from the class of 2021 loses out due to the timeline of the exam results.

TUI General Secretary Michael Gillespie said: "We note the announcement of the Minister this evening in relation to the release of the Leaving Certificate results later this year.

"In this regard, it is essential that no student would lose out in terms of further study options as a result of the timeline, including those who may be applying for options outside the State. We trust that the relevant Government departments will, where necessary, liaise with international counterparts to ensure that this has absolutely no negative impact"