Wednesday 20 November 2019

Mixed views on Irish as compulsory subject for Leaving Cert exam

Final years seen as ‘too rigid’
Final years seen as ‘too rigid’

A interim review of the Leaving Certificate reveals no "big bang" approach to addressing deficiencies and anachronisms in the exam.

However, some significant changes have been suggested.

These include the possibility that students may no longer have to do Transition Year as a standalone programme - but instead, have elements of it spread across senior cycle.


The review is being carried out by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).

While there is much yet to tease out in its research, there is a strong message that the final years of school are "too rigid".

The NCCA has been consulting students, teachers, parents and others for the past year and has published a series of documents as a basis for a final round of consultations.

It is inviting the views of individuals and organisations, while it will also conduct focus group meetings in the autumn.

Other ideas in the mix include offering a bigger choice of subjects, including short courses alongside full subjects, and greater flexibility, generally, to meet individual needs and to prepare students for the range of opportunities that await them after school.

Discussions have also touched on which subjects should be compulsory, with English, maths and lifeskills most frequently suggested.

However, the study reveals mixed views on whether Irish should continue to be a compulsory subject.

Demand for less "ring-fencing" of the various senior cycle programmes - the traditional Leaving Cert, the Leaving Cert Vocational Programme (LCVP) and the alternative, Leaving Cert Applied (LCA) has also emerged.

One source of frustration is that pupils doing the LCVP module are restricted in their other subject choices.

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