Teachers to begin working on Leaving Cert calculated grades as union gives the go-ahead

By Jess Casey

Thousands of teachers will now begin grading Leaving Cert students as the country’s largest second-level teaching union has advised its members to begin working on the process.

This followed an earlier stalemate between the Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland (ASTI) and the Department of Education, after the union found the State indemnity offered to teachers “unacceptable.”

The ASTI concerns were based around legal advice it received that stated teachers potentially would have to bear the legal costs should proceedings be taken against them.

In a statement issued this Friday, the ASTI said it has now secured the necessary assurances that allow for teachers to proceed with this work without fear of negative financial consequences.

“Crucially, the Department of Education and Skills has given an undertaking that in all cases where the indemnity applies, the Chief State Solicitor’s Office will take over the running of the litigation," said the statement.

“This strengthening of the indemnity will ensure that a teacher will not have to employ her/ his own legal team to defend herself/ himself and run the risk of incurring large irrecoverable costs and expenses.”

The statement added: "The ASTI is now in a position to advise its members to engage with the Calculated Grades for Leaving Certificate 2020 model.

"Teachers can now proceed with the process and will apply the high professional standards it requires."

Education Minister Joe McHugh has said he is glad the ASTI has advised its members to co-operate with the calculated grading system for this year’s Leaving Certificate.

He said: “My concern in establishing the model for calculated grades has always been the needs of the Leaving Certificate students who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. We have always sought to put their interests at the heart of this.

“I am delighted to be able to reassure them that the process will move ahead speedily.”

He said further guidance and resources are being developed to support the implementation of calculated grades. These include an instructional video for teachers and information leaflets for schools and for parents/guardians.

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