Students who sat postponed Leaving Cert to get results next Tuesday

Candidates who get improved results may be entitled to new CAO offers

More than 2,000 students who sat the postponed Leaving Cert exams late last year will receive their results next Tuesday. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

More than 2,000 students who sat the postponed Leaving Cert exams late last year will receive their results next Tuesday.

The State Examinations Commission said candidates will be able to access their results online (at from noon onwards.

Students who get improved results in comparison to their calculated grades will be credited with the higher of the grades and may be entitled to new CAO offers.

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Any students who receive higher CAO offers will receive a deferred college offer to start their course in the 2021/22 academic year without any financial penalty.


Higher education institutions will be in contact with students who get new offers during the week starting February 8th.

To take up a deferred offer, students who have not already done so must make a 2021 application to the CAO. Formal college course offers of deferred places will issue in July.

The Leaving Cert written exams took place last year between November 16th and December 11th after the traditional June exams were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A total of 2,820 students applied to sit the postponed 2020 Leaving Cert exams, although just over 2,000 turned up for the exams.

This represents just under 5 per cent of the 61,000 candidates who were scheduled to sit the exams last June.

All students who had been due to sit the summer exams were given the option of receiving calculated grades and sitting Leaving Cert written exams at a later date when it was considered safe to do so.

Candidates who receive their written Leaving Cert exam results next week will have access to an appeals processes.

They will be able to access their marks and component marks from Wednesday February 3rd at 9am, and they may apply to view their scripts.

These viewings will take place between noon on Tuesday, February 9th, and noon on Wednesday, February 10th.

Meanwhile, the Government is to examine alternative options for assessing Leaving Cert students in 2021 when consultations with education partners are completed, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said.

He was commenting as students and teachers’ representatives met Department of Education officials on Wednesday to discuss a range of possible alternatives or modifications to the Leaving Cert.

Mr Martin said the Government was acutely aware of the "enormous stress and anxiety" facing Leaving Cert students and that options will be presented soon.

He said Minister for Education Norma Foley was consulting student representatives, the State Examinations Commission and other education stakeholders over the exams.

“The Minister will come back in a comprehensive way to present options for the Leaving Certificate students of this year,” he said.

Mr Martin said Ms Foley would make an announcement “when it’s right”, following the completion of these consultations.

Opposition parties including Sinn Féin and Labour have called for students to be given a choice between a version of calculated grades or sitting the exams in June.

A meeting between Ms Foley and education stakeholders took place on Wednesday and included an “exploration of further possible options” for the exams, according to a Department of Education spokesman.

Themes around “alternatives and possible impact on the student experience” were discussed, he added.

A further meeting of the advisory group – which includes representatives of students, parents, teachers, principals and school managers – is due to take place on Friday.

The Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU), which attended the meeting, said afterwards it had emphasised the need for students to be given a choice between calculated grades or sitting a version of the Leaving Cert.

Reuban Murray, the ISSU's president, said a poll of 20,000 students published last week showed just 4 per cent want the Leaving Cert to go ahead as planned.

“We were very clear that students need to be given a choice between calculated grades and sitting the exams – that was clearly communicated,” he said.

“Simply modifying the Leaving Cert is not fair, and it’s not what the student body wants. It might work for other stakeholders, but not for us.

“Students’ education has been badly disrupted. There are very real mental health concerns. Some students are in direct provision or homes where they don’t have the support to engage. They need a choice,” Mr Murray said.

Teachers’ unions, however, have said they remain hopeful the exams will go ahead in some form in the summer and are not keen on assessing their own students.

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