'Scribes not needed' for private school students
THERE was no late change of heart for 17 Leaving Certificate students at the centre of last-minute reviews of decisions to refuse requests for special assistance to help them through the exams.
The State Examinations Commission (SEC) said last night that it was satisfied that all appropriate procedures had been followed in the processing of applications.
An intervention from the Ombudsman's Office led to the reviews by the SEC after the students were told they would not be granted assistance.
About 12 of the students from a private school in the Munster area, who have a diagnosed disability that affects their writing, sought the use of a scribe or tape recorder.
The Ombudsman also referred cases from a number of students from other schools around the country.
A spokesman for the Ombudsman's Office said while they had not taken a view on the individual cases, they were concerned about the timing of the decisions so close to the exams.
The Ombudsman will now carry out a full review and is expected to make recommendations to the SEC for next year.
The principal of the school in Munster insisted they followed guidelines and worked very closely with a number of highly reputable professionals and diagnostic therapists, to ensure best practice in making applications.
The SEC would not comment on individual cases but said it "approves all applications which meet the conditions of eligibility" of what is known as the Scheme of Reasonable Accommodations, which aims to remove, as far as possible, the impact of a disability on the student's performance.
There has been a significant rise in the number of special accommodations granted in recent years, to a total of 20,638 last year, up from 17,233 in 2009.