Postponed Leaving Cert exams planned for November

Leaving Cert students have under a week to register to receive calculated grades

Leaving Cert students have less than a week to register online to opt-in to receive their calculated grades.

Minister for Education Norma Foley has confirmed that the deadline to opt-in for results online will expire on Monday July 27th at 4pm.

Just over half of Leaving Cert students and more than a quarter of Leaving Cert Applied students have opted-in since the student portal ( opened.

The department plans to issue results directly to students and schools online on September 7th at 9am.


Meanwhile the State Examinations Commission is planning to run the postponed Leaving Cert written exams in November.

This option of sitting the written exam will be available to students who were due to complete the Leaving Cert earlier this summer but were unable to because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Students will be able to sit as many of the exams that they were originally scheduled to as they wish.

The results for these exams will come too late for students hoping to use them for entry to college this year, but they will apply for the 2021/22 academic year.

Logistical details are still being worked out on how the exams will run in accordance with public health guidelines.

Department of Education sources have previously estimated that up to 20 per cent of those who normally sit the written exams may opt to do so this year, though they have cautioned that this is a rough estimate.


This is the first time in the near 100-year history of the Leaving Cert that the exams have been postponed and replaced with calculated - or predicted - grades for students.

These grades will be based on school estimates combined with a national standarised adjustment process.

On results days on Septmeber 7th, schools will be asked to provide support to students by enabling students to come to the school if they wish at a scheduled time, or to making guidance or other teaching staff members available by phone for students to discuss their options following their results.

“It is important that we recognise the unique set of circumstances for these students, and that we all ensure they get the support that they need,” Ms Foley said.

“I am confident that schools will, through their support teams, ensure that the students they have supported and nurtured throughout their post-primary education will be supported on this important day and the following days.”

The Irish Times will operate a live online helpdesk staffed by gudiance counsellors from September 7th, while a helpline operated by the National Parents Council post-primary will also be available.


During a meeting with student, teacher and school representatives, Ms Foley thanked all stakeholders for their contribution and work to date on devising the calculated grades system.

“Creating an entirely new system of calculated grades has been a huge and challenging task. The contribution of the stakeholders and their involved input at every stage has been key in getting to this point,” she said.

“I am pleased that we have been able to bring clarity for students on how and when the results will be issued and how they will be supported.”

A three-week delay in issuing the results has drawn criticism from students and third level colleges, who say it will add to pressure and anxiety facing prospective first year students.

Ms Foley said she was aware that this was a stressful time for students but said it was vital to ensure the integrity and fairness of the new system.

Talks with stakeholders included updated plans to ensure the smooth running of the CAO offer and acceptance process, to enable students to gain entry to higher education.

CAO offers will be made on September 11th, for acceptance onSeptember 16th, with second round offers to be made on September 23rd for acceptance by September 25th.

Students wising to appeal a calculated grade will be able to do so from 14 September.

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