The Leaving Cert – media speculation is not helping students

 

Sir, – Over the last six years and most especially since March 12th, the teachers, parents and management of the school have supported our students in order that they would be able to fulfil their potential and become active and engaged members of society. In our school we have always encouraged questioning and debate.

However, the stress that Leaving Cert students are experiencing at present is unprecedented. With a few hours’ notice on March 12th, they were asked to empty their lockers and go home.

They, along with their teachers, have had to adapt to new ways of teaching and learning.

I applaud our students who have worked with us, are keeping up with their studies, learning new material, learning new technologies, etc, without a word of complaint.

Certainty is what they seek.

When the oral and practical exams were cancelled with 100 per cent being awarded, many students were initially disappointed after many years of dedicated hard work.

But after initial reactions, our students adapted and moved on, because it brought certainty.

Currently July 29th has been confirmed as a start date for the exams. While we are all trying to figure out how best to support our students through a marathon of study over the next three months, again we have, or thought we had, certainty.

However, over the weekend the media coverage speculating on the possible cancellation of the exams has once again elevated the stress levels of the students, parents and teachers.

Public speculation on such important matters is not helpful. All representative parties concerned are present at the discussions that take place with the Department of Education and with the Minister. I ask you to report when decisions have been made, something real and tangible, and not speculation. Stressed Leaving Cert students should not be political bargaining chips or fodder for the media.

I congratulate all Leaving Cert students on their resilience and stoicism which have been tested to their limits.

Many families nationally with Leaving Cert students are also coping with illness, bereavement and unemployment. Most students are now working in busy home environments where everyone is at home. They are isolated from their teachers and their friends.

Our students are committed and doing their best to work towards a hard earned goal of college or the careers they have being dreaming of.

We as adults can learn from them.

Let them be and show support for them instead of adding to their stress at this time. – Is mise,

BERNADETTE

PRENDIVILLE,

Principal,

Loreto College,

Foxrock, Dublin 18.