Mary Immaculate Secondary School

Current Update on Junior Cycle 2020 and ICT Funding

Current Update on Junior Cycle 2020 and ICT Funding

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope you are all well and staying safe.

After speaking to the JMB today the following points of clarity have emerged with regard to the Junior Cycle and the ICT funding announced today. They are as follows:

  1. 1. Assessment of Junior Cycle – Update

In its Press Release of 10th April 2020, the State Examinations Commission set out the Minister’s position at that time on the proposed assessment arrangements for Junior Cycle as:

  1. At Junior Cycle, the written examinations are postponed and will be rearranged as schoolbased tests when schools reopen.
  2. The decision to postpone the Junior Cycle examinations recognises the need to prioritise the running of the Leaving Certificate examinations in order to allow 6th year students to progress to higher and further education or to the world of work.
  3. At Junior Cycle the SEC will provide schools with the examination papers and related materials they need to deliver these tests when schools reopen.
  4. All of the remaining elements of the Junior Cycle, project work, coursework and assessment tasks, will also be rescheduled to that time.

As with all aspects of this year’s state examinations, the Minister, DES officials and the SEC have been engaged in an extended and extensive consultation process with management bodies, teacher unions, parent and student representative organisations. The aim has been to develop clarity on all operational aspects of this year’s examinations while adhering to government heath guidelines and the key principles of integrity and equity. JMB has been actively engaged in this process, bringing the perspective of our membership to inform all policy-level decisions.

In terms of assessment and reporting of this year’s Junior Cycle, the following clarifications have now been issued by the Department:

  1. Students are not required to undertake Junior Cycle final examinations in 2020
  2. Schools are free to use the assessments provided through the NCCA and SEC, but they are also free to design and organise the assessment of students’ progress in accordance with their own schools policies
  3. Examination fees in respect of this year’s Junior Cycle will not apply, any fees paid by parents will be refunded.

In relation to the Junior Cycle examinations, Classroom-Based Assessments, Assessment Tasks and project work, the Minister believes that it would be preferable that discussions with the education partners are concluded before schools consider their assessment arrangements for Junior Cycle students in 2020.

A statement by the Minister is expected to issue soon.

I will keep you all informed of developments as they emerge.

  1. Grant Aid to Support Technology Provision to Disadvantaged Students

The Department of Education and Skills has announced a special €10 million fund to support the purchase of technology and devices for disadvantaged students.

A total of €7 million additional funding will be provided in the post-primary sector and €3 million in the primary sector.

It is understood that this €10m represents the quantum of funding that schools would have been required to apply for, in addition to the annual ICT grants, totalling €40m, currently being rolled out.

The Department of Education and Skills will issue a circular to schools providing the details governing the funding for the grant and the top-up funding.

DES has said that ‘schools are being empowered to support those who most need access to technology, with the right equipment, such as laptops, and are being asked to prioritise exam classes’.

I hope this will clarify things for you on these matters. It is a very challenging time for us all, but please be assured any information I receive officially from the Department of Education I will share promptly with you all,

Best regards

Mona Hynes, Principal

Mary Immaculate Secondary School,
Co. Clare,

065 707 4266

Ceist- Catholic Education, an Irish schools trust
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