Sir, – I refer to Brian Mooney's piece "How will Leaving Cert delay affect students going on to further education?" (Education, April 29th).
At the point at which schools closed on March 13th, the TUI immediately sought to engage with management bodies and Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) with a view to agreeing how best to support our students and teachers in the further education and training (FET) sector.
By March 27th, QQI had issued advice in relation to “Supports and arrangements for the tertiary education system”.
By April 3rd, following an engagement with the TUI, Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI) issued a document, Contingency planning for further education and training in the ETB sector, to the management and staff of (post-Leaving Cert colleges) and other further education and training institutions.
This document set out overarching principles on the basis of which providers of further education and training developed bespoke contingency assessment arrangements to ensure all relevant deadlines, including all CAO rounds, are met.
The agreed document states: “CAO courses will be processed for certification as a priority.”
Teachers in further education have continued to deliver and assess students for certification and the unions and management have continued to engage on producing contingency plans to support educators in further education and training in meeting all relevant deadlines.
Therefore, we in the Teachers’ Union of Ireland believe your columnist is mistaken in surmising that, “If the current lockdown is extended past May 5th, it’s very difficult to see how assessment can be completed within the current timeline set by the CAO, unless all offer rounds are extended substantially this year.”
The reality is that, owing to the significant efforts of educators in the further education and training sector, supported by the union and management, most courses should be completed within the usual timescale and entered for awards within the normal CAO timeline. – Yours, etc,