Bereaved Leaving Cert students can sit alternative exams in July
Leaving Cert students who suffer a close family bereavement during the exams will be allowed to sit alternative papers in July.
Education Minister Joe McHugh announced the initiative in response to a moving interview by 2019 Leaving Cert candidate Rhona Butler about her mother's death.
Ms Butler, who told her story on the RTÉ radio's 'Ryan Tubridy Show' in January, had no option but to sit the exams last year.
But now the change, which will operate on a pilot basis this year, will allow for a student to be absent from exams for a period of time during the June timetable.
It will allow a student to be absent from exams for three days, starting from the date of the death of a close relative, up to and including the day after the funeral. These three days do not need to be consecutive.
The measures will apply in cases where the death of the close relative occurs during exam time, or in the two days prior to the exams, which start next Wednesday.
Under the rules, a close relative is defined as a father, step-father, mother, step-mother, legal guardian, brother, step-brother, half-brother, sister, step-sister, half-sister, grandfather or grandmother.
The scheme will also provide for the death of a son or daughter, wife or husband or civil partner of a Leaving Certificate candidate.
The alternative sittings will take place over five days, between Monday July 8 and Friday July 12 and all exams will be held in Athlone.
Mr McHugh thanked Ms Butler for highlighting the issue and "demonstrating how we should look after and support students who have suffered a loss".