The Department of Education has confirmed that Leaving Certificate oral examinations in Irish and modern foreign languages as well as practical performance tests in Leaving Certificate music will take place next year over the first week of the school Easter holidays.

Following a meeting with education stakeholders today, the department said these examinations will run in schools during the six-day period Saturday 9 April to Thursday 14 April inclusive.

The online meeting today of the advisory group of stakeholders on planning for the State Examinations 2022 was hosted by the Department of Education and the State Examinations Commission.

The group, which previously provided advice in relation to the 2020 and 2021 State Examinations, includes representatives of students, parents, teachers, school leadership and management bodies, the State Examinations Commission (SEC), the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and the Department of Education, including the National Educational Psychological Service.

The Department of Education said: "These examinations will take place outside of school time over the first week of the school Easter holidays, with the examinations running in schools during the six-day period Saturday 9 April to Thursday 14 April inclusive.

"Providing clarity to students on the timing of the examinations will assist them in planning their study and break times. Running the oral examinations before Easter will leave students free over the second week of the Easter holidays," it added.

Meanwhile, the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) has said: "A significant factor for the move towards the Easter holiday period relates to a teacher supply crisis that first emerged when the Government unilaterally imposed a two-tier pay system in 2011 which sees colleagues paid at different rates for carrying out the same work.

"This crisis has worsened over the years and has been exacerbated by the challenges posed by the pandemic.

"It is of critical importance that this hugely unfair and discriminatory pay system, which is damaging to the profession and to students, be finally ended in 2022."

The President of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) Eamon Dennehy has said that: "The arrangements set out for 2022 are a further challenge to the system, the teachers and the students for whom the Easter break will be cut short.

"ASTI members' commitment to their students and the preservation of high standards of teaching, learning and assessment has been enormously important in this pandemic."