Bid to curb Junior Cert results mayhem by switch to Fridays
THE traditional Wednesday release of Junior Cert results could be switched to Fridays under a plan to combat drink-fuelled parties.
Principals are pushing for the change and the State Examinations Commission (SEC) has said it will consider it for 2011.
Schools have concerns about the party industry that has developed around the results, and the morning-after effects on students. The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), representing second-level principals, had been hoping for a change in the release date of the results for this year.
It believes party venues will be more difficult to hire on a Friday night, which is traditionally a social night for an older crowd. Principals also want to avoid having numerous students missing on the morning after the Junior Cert results.
The SEC is understood to have no difficulty with the proposal, but it told the NAPD that changes could not be implemented this year. However, the changes are now under consideration for 2011.
It comes as the results of this year's exams will be released to 57,000 pupils next Wednesday.
Already, there have been calls on Junior Cert students, who are typically aged 15 or 16, to celebrate sensibly.
Parents have also been urged to get involved in their child's arrangements for the evening.
NAPD director Clive Byrne said one benefit of their proposal would be that some venues used for parties would not be available on a Friday night.
"It is a source of concern and if it was on a Friday it would also mean that parents, rather than schools, would be dealing with any issues that arise the following day," he said.
He said non-attendance was a difficulty for schools the day after the results.
Mr Byrne added that, ideally, results would be issued at about 4pm on Friday and students would go home and have a family-based celebration.
The NAPD has discussed the proposals with the other education partners, such as representatives of parents and school managers, and there was general agreement about the desirability of change.
Another suggestion from the NAPD that results be issued directly to the students, rather than to schools, did not find favour with the SEC. This was partly because of potential logistical difficulties, and the value of having a support system around students at the time the results were delivered.
Meanwhile, World Boxing champion Katie Taylor has joined forced with the alcohol-free No Name Club and the Health Service Executive (HSE) website, www.yourdrinking.ie, to encourage teenagers to celebrate their Junior Cert results without alcohol.
"I would encourage the young people celebrating their achievements to recognise the opportunities that are there to celebrate and enjoy life without the need for alcohol," said Taylor.
No Name Club CEO Con Nolan said: "Drink and drugs should not play a role in any celebrations as they put health and safety at serious risk and a night of celebration could end up with very serious consequences."
MEAS, the organisation set up by the drinks industry to promote responsible drinking, said parents should be involved in their children's plans for Wednesday night.
Tips on their drinkaware.ie website include asking children about who they plan to celebrate with, and agreeing a pick-up or return-home time.