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Monthly ArchiveApril 2020

Update for 3rd Year Parents and Students

Dear Parents/ Guardians of 3rd Years,

Just to advise that all Principals in GRETB will be discussing the Statement by the Minister of Education tomorrow and I will, after this, be discussing the issue with our school management team.

What we have learned today from the Minister is: (a) Students will receive two Certificates: One from the State ‘A Certificate of Completion’ for all 3rd Year students stating subjects and levels studied for past 3 years. (b) There will also be a school Certificate called the Junior Certificate Profile of Achievement. This document has been a part of the new Junior Cert for the past few years. It includes classroom based Assessments (CBA’s)/ Other Areas of Learning and also the State Exams Grades.  As there is no State Exams this year the Department today have allowed schools the freedom to come up with their own ways to award these grades in May and not September.  Schools, therefore, may grade students by either exams/ assessments/ assignments/ looking at previous results/ mocks etc. or a combination of things. It is up to the school management to decide a fair and reasonable way to award these grades and will be informed, to some degree as well, by recent surveys and so on.

We will inform all parents and students the approach that will be taken on Thursday evening or early Friday morning. Until then, I would advise all 3rd Year students to continue to study hard.

It has been a very difficult time for you as parents and for your children.  Thankfully now we have a way forward and I am delighted they are all receiving a JC Certificate from the State. That is very important.

Best Wishes,

John Cleary.

Ministers Announcement re: Junior Cert

29 April, 2020 – Minister McHugh announces revised arrangements for Junior Cycle 2020

–          All third year Junior Cycle students to be awarded certificates for the completion of Junior Cycle by the Department of Education and Skills

–          Schools given autonomy to assess students and all students to receive a report on achievement 

–          Adult learners to be given opportunity to take final Junior Cycle examinations in autumn

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD has today (Wednesday 29 April 2020) announced revised arrangements for this year’s Junior Cycle.

The decision was taken following recommendations from an advisory group of stakeholders as part of planning for the State Examinations in response to the Covid-19 public health measures and the decision that the Junior Cycle State Examinations will not run this year.

Minister McHugh attended the meeting of the advisory group and thanked the members for their work.

“In this difficult time for students I have listened to the very strongly-held and well-articulated views of students, parents and other stakeholders,” Minister McHugh said.

“This decision has been made with the health and wellbeing of students, parents and teachers at the forefront of our thinking.

“It gives students and their families more clarity and certainty. It also gives schools freedom to decide how best to assess the progress of students following three years of hard work and learning.”

Under the revised arrangements and in light of the exceptional circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the work and achievement of third year Junior Cycle students will be recognised with a state certificate from the Department of Education and Skills.

As soon as possible after the end of the current school year, students will receive a written school report on their learning achievements in each subject, short course and/or priority learning unit

Schools are also being given autonomy to decide whether to run school-based assessments and what form they take. Options to consider include school-designed examinations, tasks, projects, assignments, essay style questions, presentations, or other tasks agreed at a local level. Guidance for schools on reporting to students and parents, developed with the advice of the advisory group of stakeholders, will be published by the Department.

The State Examinations Commission is also being asked to put in place specific arrangements for adult learners to give them an opportunity to take final Junior Cycle examinations for which they are entered in autumn 2020.

Ends

Notes for Editors

For info on the advisory group see here

Further advice in relation to assessment options for schools will be issued by the Department.

Certificate of Completion

This will issue from the Department early in the next school year. It will provide each student with a certificate confirming completion of the Junior Cycle programme of study, including the list of subjects, short courses and/or priority learning units studied and the level at which the subject was studied.

Adult Learners      

The SEC will put in place specific arrangements for adult learners who are studying a subject or subjects at Junior Cycle level within one academic year.

The specific dates of the examinations in autumn 2020 will be determined as soon as possible.

These examinations will only be available to students who meet the specific qualifying criteria

Test

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MKHLDN7

Important Message Re: Junior Certificate

Dear Parents/ Guardians of 3rd Year Students,
 Just a note to advise you as per Department of Education announcement on 12th April (Good Friday) that the Junior Cert Exams and the form they take has not been decided yet but are believed to be planned for September as per statement. Currently, the Department are consulting with teachers unions and other education management bodies to decide their plan and dates of action and they hope to share this information with us in or around the 5th May or even before.
The shape these exams/ assessments will take are unknown.  For now we must believe, as always, that any exams that have the Junior Cycle title and which come from the SEC (State Exams Commission) will be accredited by the State and the Department of Education.  Therefore, this State exam, irrespective of how it is implemented or designed will have the same worth it always had and will, as always, be a stepping stone for many students who wish to obtain an apprenticeship and so on (It is especially valuable if it is the only qualification a child may receive while attending school). The experience of sitting an exam at Junior Cert level will also be very beneficial when sitting the Leaving Certificate 3 years later.
Therefore, until we receive notification from the Department of Education which is contrary to the above it is vital that your child continues to engage with their teachers until the end of May and works/ studies very hard. They may then take a pleasant summer break before returning to study sometime in August and being engaged in the Junior Cert exams/ assessments/ assignments as prescribed by the Department of Education.
It is unfortunate that the Department couldn’t be more clear in their plans at this time but we believe they are working very hard in very difficult circumstances. We also know how hard this is for students but when September comes around it is vital that they get the recognition and reward  for all the hard work they have put in for the past 3 years.
So from now until the holidays I strongly advise your child to work very hard. People and especially employers in 5/10 years time won’t remember the Covid 19 virus but they will want to see what results you got that year in your Junior Certificate.  The Junior Certificate  is also vital in determining subject options for 5th Year.
Regards,
John Cleary,
Principal,
Merlin College.

Message for Junior Certificate Parents

Dear Parents/ Guardians of 3rd Year Students,
 Just a note to advise you as per Department of Education announcement on 12th April (Good Friday) that the Junior Cert Exams and the form they take has not been decided yet but are believed to be planned for September as per statement. Currently, the Department are consulting with teachers unions and other education management bodies to decide their plan and dates of action and they hope to share this information with us in or around the 5th May or even before.
The shape these exams/ assessments will take are unknown.  For now we must believe, as always, that any exams that have the Junior Cycle title and which come from the SEC (State Exams Commission) will be accredited by the State and the Department of Education.  Therefore, this State exam, irrespective of how it is implemented or designed will have the same worth it always had and will, as always, be a stepping stone for many students who wish to obtain an apprenticeship and so on (It is especially valuable if it is the only qualification a child may receive while attending school). The experience of sitting an exam at Junior Cert level will also be very beneficial when sitting the Leaving Certificate 3 years later.
Therefore, until we receive notification from the Department of Education which is contrary to the above it is vital that your child continues to engage with their teachers until the end of May and works/ studies very hard. They may then take a pleasant summer break before returning to study sometime in August and being engaged in the Junior Cert exams/ assessments/ assignments as prescribed by the Department of Education.
It is unfortunate that the Department couldn’t be more clear in their plans at this time but we believe they are working very hard in very difficult circumstances. We also know how hard this is for students but when September comes around it is vital that they get the recognition and reward  for all the hard work they have put in for the past 3 years.
So from now until the holidays I strongly advise your child to work very hard. People and especially employers in 5/10 years time won’t remember the Covid 19 virus but they will want to see what results you got that year in your Junior Certificate.  The Junior Certificate  is also vital in determining subject options for 5th Year.
Regards,
John Cleary,
Principal,
Merlin College.