The State Examinations Commission has issued an urgent appeal for teachers to mark this year's Leaving and Junior Certificate exams over the summer.

It says the number of reserve examiners in all subjects is currently "very tight", and it also has direct vacancies that need to be filled.

The commission says, however, that it is fully confident that it will have enough markers to correct this year’s papers.

It has issued similar appeals in recent years, to which it says it has always received a good response.

The SEC says it especially needs teachers to correct papers at all levels in the subjects of Irish, Spanish, German, Italian, and Home Economics.

It also has particular need for examiners in Leaving Certificate Business, Ordinary Level Maths, and Junior Cert Religious Education and CSPE (Civil, Social, and Personal Education).

It says while there are examiner vacancies in some subjects, it also needs to build a "cushion" of reserve markers to be available in case others drop out.

The SEC says it will be appointing examiners right up to the start of its first marking conferences in June, and occasionally afterwards.

It is calling for teachers, including recently-qualified teachers and retired teachers, to apply for the positions.

The State Examinations Commission says in the case of the Leaving Certificate the deficit of examiners in any subject is in "small single figures".

It says the shortage in most Junior Certificate subjects is in "low single figures".

The greatest shortage is in examiners for Junior Certificate Religious Education and CSPE , where the deficit exceeds that.

The SEC has cautioned against any alarm.

It says its appeal reflects the fact that the number of applications received from teachers is less than what they would have liked.