Teachers to be paid up to €10,000 to mark Leaving Cert exams in bid to boost examiner numbers

Recruits required to be available for 26 days of full-time work over summer

Date:15/04/2013 - Education -  Students in class in Headfort School Kells Co Meath.
Photo: David Sleator/The Irish Times
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Teachers will be able to earn up to €10,000 for marking written State exams this summer under increased rates aimed at tackling an urgent shortage of examiners. The higher rates include a “once-off” additional payment of €900 for Leaving Cert examiners and €700 for Junior Cycle examiners.

Overall, the State Examinations Commission (SEC) estimates that under the improved rates Junior Cycle examiners will typically earn between €4,858 and €5,010 depending on the subject marked.

Leaving Cert examiners will typically earn between €7,721 and €10,844 depending on the subject marked.

The payments are before tax and are based on examiners making themselves available for 26 days of full-time work over the summer.


There are also higher rates available for undertaking additional scripts marked above the subject specific threshold.

Teachers typically mark 200-350 papers, depending on the subject and exam. Travel and subsistence payments, as appropriate, are also paid at Civil Service rates.

The move forms part of a wider campaign to boost the recruitment and retention of teachers following a sharp drop-off in numbers willing to correct exams in recent years. While the SEC has been experiencing significant difficulties attracting sufficient numbers of teachers to mark exams before the pandemic, shortages were even more acute in 2022.

Officials have suggested this may have been due to more teachers opting to go on holiday on foot of the lifting of Covid-era restrictions.

The difficulties in sourcing examiners are one of several factors which resulted in delays to the Junior Cycle and Leaving Cert results this year.

The SEC on Friday launched its “learn, earn, return” campaign and a new website (secexaminer.ie) which information about working as an examiner, potential earning and how its system of online marking works and the benefits for enhancing teaching skills. Tied into the recruitment campaign is the enhance pay rates and a “once off” payment to incentivise teachers to mark this year’s written examination.

The SEC says it aims to substantially increase the numbers of teachers involved in exam work so that the experience is a “positive one which greatly enhances teacher professional competence as well as earning power”.

It said a working group, comprising representatives of the management bodies and teacher unions, has been established to look at measures designed to ensure the availability of teachers in the required numbers.

The SEC said teachers are the “lifeblood of the national examinations system” and it relied on their involvement in the marking of the examinations.

“With their support and the support of all of the education stakeholders, we can deliver the annual state examinations service for the benefit of individual students, the education system and society in general,” it said in a statement.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent