News & Media

Not too late to drop school profiling from Leaving Cert grading model

26 August 2020

Statement by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
Spokesperson on Education, Enterprise and Trade
  • On Monday, the Taoiseach was not able to clarify what changes are planned to Leaving Cert results model.
  • On Tuesday night, the Minister for Education said the model was being refined but provided no detail.
  • Labour wants school profiling dropped and estimated school grades also provided to students on 7th September.

With less than two weeks to the publication of calculated grades for the Leaving Cert, Labour Education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said it was not too late for the Government to back down and drop school profiling, and repeated his call for the model for predicting grades to be published. This week, both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Education failed to clarify the final decision on the model proposed by the Department of Education.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“Since the comments of the Taoiseach on Monday’s Today with Claire Byrne Show, there is huge uncertainty about what changes the Government is planning to make to how predicted Leaving Cert grades will be awarded. Not for the first time, it would appear they still don’t know what they are doing.

“This was made worse by the comments of the Minister on Prime Time last night. The Minister failed to answer a direct question on what changes she was making to the grading model, saying the process was running and it was being refined. We have no idea at this point now how the model will work if they are changing it. The model should be published, but we need to know do they have one finalised in the first place. We also need answers as to why the model won’t be made public.

“We are demanding that school profiling be dropped and I've been calling for this since May. It is not too late for the Government to act, especially after witnessing the fiasco observed in the UK. It is simply an unfair system that penalises students from schools in disadvantaged areas.

“Unfortunately, the Minister did confirm that the estimated grade from their school wouldn’t be given to students until a week after their calculated grades, and after CAO offers are made on 14th September. That is just not acceptable.

“The Taoiseach was not able to clarify what changes he was making to the model two days ago, but he did confirm that demographic and socioeconomic characteristics were inherent in the grading model. The Minister for Education said it was being refined but provided no detail.

“We need clarity from the government, and I want to urge them to rethink school profiling if they insist on proceeding with it. There is a lot of fear among students and parents that they will experience what we saw in the UK, which was a chaotic system that involved the Government eventually backing down on school profiling. Having seen the fiasco in the UK, the Irish Government has no excuses. It is not too late to act.”