ISSU Survey on State Examinations and Reopening of Schools

The Irish Second-Level Students’ Union has published its Report on State Examinations 2021 and Reopening of Schools.

Reuban Murray, President, Irish Second-Level Students Union (ISSU)

Reuban Murray, President, Irish Second-Level Students Union (ISSU): “We need to plan now… It is clear that we need to try something different…”

The purpose of the consultation and report was to ensure that the student voice will be included in any decisions made relating to the 2021 State Examinations and the Reopening of Schools. With 73% of respondents feeling either very unsafe or unsafe with regard to the prospect of schools reopening, ISSU reiterates the need for increased communication from the Department of Education & Skills regarding safety protocols and the rationale behind their decisions.

ISSU notes that poor communication is leading to a lack of trust among students in the Department’s decisions, with 75% of respondents stating that their trust in the Department is either “very poor” or “poor”.

Choice of formats for Leaving Cert 2021

After extensive analysis of the survey results paired with data from the consultation, the ISSU will be advocating for a choice for Leaving Certificate students between
(a) calculated grades
(b) sitting in-person exams in June.

Over 81% of respondents rated the ‘sitting in-person exams in June’ option favourably.

ISSU wishes to acknowledge the massive input from 6th year and LCA2 students to the survey and consultation, as well as their communications with the union over the last number of weeks.

Alicia O’Sullivan, Education Officer of the ISSU said:

“It has been an extremely busy time for us here in ISSU over the last few weeks.

“Students are calling out for clarity and are calling for the Department to give them some idea of what might happen regarding their exams.

“We have listened and we now have a clearer picture of what students want, and we want to work constructively with the Department and other stakeholders to make sure that all students are catered for, and that their welfare is prioritised over anything else in the coming months.”

Junior Cycle

The ISSU will also be advocating for clarity with regard to the Junior Certificate exams, with 71% of Junior Cycle students who responded to the survey communicating their dissatisfaction with the support they have received from the Department of Education.

Junior Cycle students are also not in favour of exams proceeding as currently planned. The majority of support is for calculated grades or an option of calculated grades and in-person exams.

Speaking on the launch of the survey and consultation report, ISSU President Reuban Murray said:

“Students want clarity, and for the Department to learn from the mistakes and delays of last year.

“We need to plan now for what might be happening regarding exams and the reopening of schools in the coming weeks and months.

“We are asking for compassion for the thousands of students who – up until now- have been asked to carry on as normal, in what are completely abnormal times.

“It is clear that we need to try something different, and we’re ready and willing to contribute to this with our recommendations in this report”.

The ISSU will present its findings to Minister Norma Foley, the Department of Education & Skills, and all education stakeholders at the Advisory Group meeting regarding State Examinations this Friday 22nd January.

Read the full ISSU Report on the State Examinations 2021 and the Reopening of Schools at


SOURCE: Materials provided by ISSU
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.



ISSU Outlines Safety Concerns regarding Reopening of Schools


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