Department of Education

  • It's been confirmed the remaining secondary school students will return to school on April 12th.

    The Department of Education says 300,000 students will now attend in school classes from that date.

    It marks the final phase in the government's plans to fully reopen schools, which have been closed since Christmas.

  • The ASTI has advised its members to engage with the calculated grades system for this year's Leaving Cert.

    The union's resolved a dispute with the Department of Education over legal protection for teachers.

    The calculated grades system for this year's Leaving Cert has been in doubt since last night, when the ASTI said it wouldn't engage with the model.

    They had concerns the state indemnity being offered didn't go far enough - and wanted a guarantee that if a student took a claim, 100 per cent of the legal costs would be covered.

    A meeting has been taking place between union and department officials this afternoon - and the ASTI now says it's secured the necessary clarifications.

    It's been assured that if a student unhappy with their grade sues, no teacher will have to employ their own legal team to defend themselves and run the risk of racking up large expenses.

    The ASTI says it's now in a position to advise members to engage with the calculated grades system for this year's Leaving Cert.

  • The Department of Education says schools, colleges of further education and third level institutions will re-open on Monday where possible.

    Each school will decide whether to open their doors to students, or remain closed, depending on the conditions in their area.

    The Department says they must ensure the safety of those in their care, and give due consideration to this when making their decision.

  • The Education Minister says additional time is needed to ensure that the calculated grades system is operated rigorously.

    Grades will not be made available until September 7th, three weeks later than usual.

    They will be followed by course offers four days later.

    Minister Norma Foley says all parties have agreed to meet the new deadline for course offers.

  • Families are to receive refunds for school transport fees at the end of the academic year.

    The Department of Education says it will then know the exact period of closures.

    Parents are also being reminded that applications for the scheme, for the next school year, close today.

    Bus contractors will continue to receive a 50 percent payment while schools are closed.

  • Guidance for schools on how to re-open safely will be issued by the end of July.

    The government intends to open schools as fully as possible by the end of August and September.

    The Department of Education has acknowledged there will be increased staff required in some cases to allow schools to follow the guidelines.

  • Two distinct possibilities for how this year's Leaving Cert will be run have been identified by the Department of Education.

    Minister Norma Foley has called on education stakeholders to take part in more discussions on what the exams will look like.

    One option is the full holding of physical exams with modifications to provide greater choice on the paper.

    The other is an alternative option that could include calculated grades, but would also take more account of things like practicals and orals.

    The alternative option may also include some element of written exams, with details yet to be worked out.

  • The Minister for Education Norma Foley will address the Dail this afternoon after mistakes were discovered in the Leaving Cert's calculated grades.

    It emerged yesterday that 6,500 students were marked down over errors in the algorithm.

    The Department of Education has said students who get better course offers as a result of the new grades will be accommodated.

    But Irish Universities Association says moving students from one course to another won't be possible in some cases.

    The Leaving Cert students impacted by these errors must be catered for by the Department of Education and the CAO - that's according to Roscommon-Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice.

    The Independent TD says that, if this requires additional course places, then they must be provided.

    And if a student receives an improved CAO offer on the back of this announcement, but chooses to defer for a year, then they must be guaranteed to gain entry to the course- regardless of any potential point increases.

    Deputy Fitzmaurice says the Department needs to ensure that every student who was impacted by the errors is accommodated in the coming days.