MINISTER for Education Norma Foley has reassured Leaving Cert students in Clare that everything is in place to give them the best possible outcomes for their futures. Speaking on a visit to Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Cíosóg in Ennis yesterday (Tuesday, June 8), ahead of the start of the State exams, Minister Foley welcomed the fact that the vast majority of students have opted to take both written papers and predictive grading. “I’m very pleased that more than 91% of students have opted for both, so they’re giving themselves the best possible opportunity and I think that’s to be welcomed,” she said. “It’s also a tribute to the foresight of the partners in education and in particular the students themselves who advocated very strongly that there would be the two options. I would like to take the opportunity to wish the students of Clare and indeed all students every possible good luck and good fortune.”
Minister Foley, who comes from a teaching background herself, also moved to assure students, parents and teachers of the safety of examination centres. “School examination halls will be very similar to what they’ve experienced since they returned to schools in September,” she noted. “All the mitigation measures will be there, masks will be worn. There will be reduced numbers. Students will operate in pods. The security and familiarity of having teachers and supervisors, that will all be there. [The advice is] not to worry. They’ve done the work. They’ve shown remarkable resilience and courage and that will stand them in good stead.”
As part of her visit to Clare, where she also travelled to Clonmoney National School in Newmarket-on-Fergus, the minister paid tribute to the work of school communities over the course of the pandemic to-date.
“Throughout the length and breadth of Clare, it is nothing short of phenomenal what has been achieved by schools on the ground over the last 18 months,” she said. “The response and the generosity of heart and spirit from school communities has been just astounding. As Minister for Education, I want to not just acknowledge that, but celebrate it as well… I think the lens has refocused itself, in terms of wider society, appreciating the sterling work that goes on in our schools on a daily basis and the importance of education, not just from an academic and learning point of view, but also from the wellbeing point of view.”