Saturday 23 September 2017

New Leaving Cert grades will confuse students but helpline ready to explain

From left: Eir head of sponsorship, John Anslow; Irish Independent Education Editor Katherine Donnelly; Education Minister Richard Bruton; helpline co-ordinator Honor McAndrew, from the Institute of Guidance Counsellors; and NPCpp president Rose Callan. Photo: Douglas O’Connor
From left: Eir head of sponsorship, John Anslow; Irish Independent Education Editor Katherine Donnelly; Education Minister Richard Bruton; helpline co-ordinator Honor McAndrew, from the Institute of Guidance Counsellors; and NPCpp president Rose Callan. Photo: Douglas O’Connor
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Up to 58,000 Leaving Certificate candidates are awaiting their results - and eager to see the impact of the first changes in 25 years to both the exam grading system and the CAO points scale.

The results are due on Wednesday, August 16 and, as usual, the National Parents' Council post primary (NPCpp) Helpline will be open, providing invaluable support for students and their parents.

The freephone helpline - 1800 265 165 - will run for six days, dealing with the range of queries that arise over the period around the release of the results and the publication of college offers.

The helpline, which is sponsored by the Irish Independent and the Department of Education and Skills and supported by Eir, will be staffed by members of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors and a representative of the grants agency, Susi.

Each year, it answers thousands of queries, with counsellors providing one-to-one support to callers, guiding them through various issues, including rechecks, the points system and non-CAO options. This year, as students and parents seek to familiarise themselves with the changes in the grading and points regimes, new questions are likely to be thrown up.

In addition to the helpline, the Irish Independent will publish a series of special supplements and Independent.ie will run an interactive blog, staffed by a professional guidance counsellor, on August 16 and 21.

NPCpp communications officer Ross MacMahon, said that the helpline provided students and parents with easily accessible advice and would be of "increased importance this year, due to the changes in the grading and points system".

With results day approaching, Education Minister Richard Bruton wished every success to candidates.

He also assured them that there was a wide range of course and career pathways available, so whatever the results brought, there would be something for them.

Irish Independent

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