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Education minister says Leaving Certificate may begin on July 29

Joe McHugh ruled out using predicted grades instead of exams, during an interview on Instagram Live.

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Education Minster Joe McHugh has said the Leaving Certificate may take place on July 29 (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

Education Minster Joe McHugh has said the Leaving Certificate may take place on July 29 (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

Education Minster Joe McHugh has said the Leaving Certificate may take place on July 29 (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

The Leaving Certificate may take place on July 29, the education minister has said.

Joe McHugh held a live interview on Instagram on Tuesday night with youth website spunout.ie.

He said he hoped to be in a position to formally announce a date for when the exam would start.

“We will be in a position in a couple of days time to confirm that date … the date that we’re going to be looking at is Wednesday the 29th of July.”

He said predicted grades, which are being used in other countries in place of formal exams, are not being considered, adding that there is “too much inherent bias”.

“There is the practicality of teachers’ grading nieces, nephews, sons or daughters, or teachers who are easy markers or hard markers … we don’t feel the policy of predicted grading is a fair system,” he said.

“We want to make this happen and this is not wanting to make it happen to put a burden on young people – we want to make it happen because we have looked at the predictive grading; we don’t feel it’s fair.

“We’re taking into consideration the difficulties people have, the financial pressures people are under.”

Mr McHugh said a more detailed timetable will not be finalised until early June as education officials want to ensure everything is decided with public health advice in mind.

Holding the exam in July is the department’s Plan A he said, but the department is considering alternatives if it cannot go ahead then.

“We’re looking at Plans B, C, D and E. There are so many movable positions. The best answer is that, at this point in time, we’re working on making it happen,” he said.

“We could face enormous challenges that we’re not in a position to make predictions about.”

On Wednesday the Department of Education and Skills announced a 10 million euro package for schools to acquire devices and lend them to students who do not have access to technology.

A spokesman said it will help to support students with continuity of learning during the period of school closure.

Schools will also be provided with guidance on continuity of learning for students with special educational needs and for those at risk of educational disadvantage.

PA