Jonathan O’Brien TD calls for exam reforms

9 June 2016
By Elaine Murphy
elaine@TheCork.ie

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Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central Deputy Jonathan O’Brien today condemned the actions of the State Examinations Commission for delaying decisions concerning a student’s appeal for reasonable accommodation during the Leaving Cert.

Deputy Jonathan O’Brien, the former Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson said;

“Every year I have been contacted by parents who have students due to sit the Leaving Cert and have been refused readers or scribes from the State Examinations Commission.

“These are always students who have received these accommodations during their Junior Cert exams and have reasonably expected to have the same facility during their final school exams.

“Inevitably the students only receive notification of the refusal late in the year, leaving parents with an incredibly short space of time to go through the appeals process.

“We saw cases this year where the SEC would not facilitate the accommodations and some parents were forced to take court action, with one child with dyslexia not being notified of the SEC’s final refusal to provide him with a reader until he had already left the house for his English Leaving Cert Exam.

“There is absolutely no reason why the SEC should not be allocating reasonable accommodations on the same basis as they do for the Junior Cert and it is totally unacceptable that the process takes so long and students are left even more stressed out because the SEC fails to move at a practical pace.

“I would urge the new Minister for Education to take note of these concerns and move to ensure that students who have genuine needs get these exam accommodations in the future and are notified of this as soon as possible. I’d also urge the SEC to deal with children and young people sitting these exams in a more humane manner and process the cases properly. No parent should have to take legal action to get their child the support they need.”

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