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Secondary school and college unions seek ‘urgent meeting’ with Ministers Norma Foley and Simon Harris


USI president Lorna Fitzpatrick

USI president Lorna Fitzpatrick

USI president Lorna Fitzpatrick

The Irish Second-Level Students Union (ISSU) and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have written to Ministers Norma Foley and Simon Harris seeking an “urgent meeting” to discuss “significant anxiety in the student population” after errors were found in the Leaving Cert calculated grades system.

The unions want to work with the education and higher education ministers to “find solutions” which will “mitigate the impact of this regrettable and traumatic situation for so many students”.

They also say that the “integrity” of the Leaving Cert “must be upheld” and that the “wishes of the students impacted by this failure must be heard and realised.”

In a joint letter to the two ministers, the unions warn of “serious fallout”.

“If not handled correctly, this could result in serious fallout that goes far beyond just grades and offers. We need to find the solutions to this together, as quickly and efficiently as possible,” the presidents of the two unions, Laura Fitzpatrick (USI) and Reuban Murray (ISSU) write.

“We need to find the solutions to this together, as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

The two presidents also raise concerns about the Ministers’ “confidence” in the calculated grades system has been “misplaced”.

“You will be acutely aware that the apparent reported failures in the system for grading have caused significant anxiety within the student population. This has caused serious concerns to emerge on availability of classes for students moving on to higher education,” the letter reads.

“We recognise that the COVID-19 emergency has inevitably caused deviations from the normal course for examinations, but we are concerned that the confidence expressed by you and others in the selected contingency system has been misplaced,” it adds.

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The letter says that the "mitigations" put in place must "fairly assess" the needs and protect students' welfare.

“On behalf of our members we bring these concerns to you both to ensure that whichever mitigations are selected by the government to this issue are reasonable, rational, proportionate and commensurate with the need to fairly assess students and protect the welfare of students.”

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