The Leaving Certificate

Sir, – As a sixth-year student, I take issue with Una Mullally's article on the new Leaving Certificate plans and think that reflection is required when analysing the proposed system ("Students fear failure, but the Department of Education has openly embraced it", Opinion & Analysis, May 11th).

I do share many of her concerns, particularly with regard to “school profiling”.

However, it is important to remember that we are living in a time of crisis and that this is an emergency measure seeking to keep as many people happy as possible.

I believe that Minister for Education Joe McHugh has one of the most challenging roles at the moment. After all, there is no “National Education Emergency Team”, only many groups voicing their many concerns.


It is unfair to judge so harshly decisions made after extensive deliberation without offering even a hint of an alternative.

Mr McHugh likely had his hopes of having stumbled upon the answer to it all dashed when he reached the line, “I’m not sure what the solution actually is, but it’s not this.”

If everyone in important decision-making positions took this approach, then where would we all be? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – I suggest that student assessments proceed on the basis that has been put forward – past recorded exams and tests and the homework, classwork and the observations of teachers.

Points requirements for entry to third-level studies could then be reduced by 10 per cent to ensure that the majority of students have the opportunity to pursue the course of their choice.

Those who do not can sit individual exams set by the further education institution.

Those whose abilities have been overestimated by themselves or this system will then be weeded out in the first year of study and can recalibrate accordingly to a less demanding course. – Yours, etc,