Some Leaving Cert oral exams postponed for 600 students

Impact of Covid-19 on availability of examiners forces rescheduling of tests until May 4th

About 600 students have had some of their Leaving Cert oral examinations postponed due to examiners being unable to attend as a result of high levels of Covid-19 in society.

The deferment of some Irish and German exams is affecting 14 schools, according to the State Examination’s Commission (SEC).

Leaving Cert oral exams began in 750 schools on Saturday, with about 95,000 examinations due to be held before Thursday, April 14th.

The subjects being examined over this period are: Irish, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Lithuanian and Portuguese.


These exams are being held over the Easter holiday period this year to “minimise potential further disruption to teaching and learning in view of the disruption already caused as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

However, on Friday, the SEC had to notify seven schools that some Irish oral exams needed to be rescheduled as the examiners appointed to examination centres in those schools were unable to attend.

Approximately 500 students were affected from the total of 52,000 examinations to be held in this subject.

In an update on Monday, the SEC said the number of affected students had grown to 600, in 14 schools, with some German and Irish exams needing to be rescheduled to the impact of Covid-19.

Significant impact

“The successful conduct of these examinations this year, as in any year, absolutely relies on having sufficient numbers of examiners to carry out these examinations. The SEC has worked very closely with schools and with the education stakeholders in order to secure teachers in sufficient numbers to undertake this important work over the Easter holiday period,” a statement by the SEC said.

“Unfortunately, Covid-19 has had a significant impact on our ability to recruit and retain examiners and any additional reserve capacity that we had has been eroded due to the impact of Covid-19.”

It added: “Before contacting any school to reschedule their examinations, the SEC is exploring every possible option to rearrange the examinations within the current time window but this not possible in all cases.”

In a message provided to the affected schools to pass on to students the SEC has apologised to the Leaving Certificate students concerned that it has been necessary to reschedule these examinations.

The examinations are being rescheduled to commence on May 4th, during which time candidates who missed their oral exams due to illness will also be able to sit the test.

“Alternative arrangements will be possible for any student who is rescheduled to the late orals window but who is unable to take these examination due to illness at that time,” the statement said.

“Unfortunately and regrettably, despite every effort made to provide the examinations as scheduled, deferring these examinations at short notice is a necessary step due to the high rates of Covid-19 in society.”

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is Health Correspondent of The Irish Times