The country’s second-largest teaching union has said its members will now co-operate with the new grading system for the Leaving Certificate.
The change comes after the Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland (ASTI) said on Thursday that its teachers should not engage with the new system until they are offered stronger legal protections by the State.
In a statement on Friday, the union said it has advised its members to engage with the calculated grades after securing full indemnity for members.
“Crucially, the Department of Education and Skills has given an undertaking that in all cases where the indemnity applies, the Chief State Solicitor’s Office will take over the running of the litigation.
ASTI secures full indemnity, advises members to engage with the Calculated Grades for Leaving Certificate 2020 modelhttps://t.co/KfqRo4rtLI— ASTI (@astiunion) May 22, 2020
“This strengthening of the indemnity will ensure that a teacher will not have to employ her/his own legal team to defend herself/himself and run the risk of incurring large irrecoverable costs and expenses.”
The ASTI said that teachers will now proceed with the process and “will apply the high professional standards it requires”.
Following the decision by Education Minister Joe McHugh to cancel the Leaving Certificate exam in June, students are set to receive calculated grades for the first time based on teachers’ estimates.
Teachers will be asked to provide an estimated percentage mark for each student for each subject.
Under the new system, students will have access to an online portal from next week where they will have to confirm if they wish to receive a calculated grade.
The ASTI had expressed concerns on Thursday that teachers could be left to pay some of their own legal costs if a student decides to take legal action over their grades.
Mr McHugh said he is glad the ASTI has advised its members to co-operate with the calculated grading system for the Leaving Certificate.
“My concern in establishing the model for calculated grades has always been the needs of the Leaving Certificate students who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. We have always sought to put their interests at the heart of this.
“I am delighted to be able to reassure them that the process will move ahead speedily,” said Mr McHugh.
He said further guidance and resources are being developed to support the implementation of calculated grades. These include an instructional video for teachers and information leaflets for schools and for parents/guardians.