OPINION: Class Of 2020 Have Endured More Angst Than Any In Leaving Cert History

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Guidance Counsellor Billy Ryle says if any Leaving Cert cohort ever deserved success, the Class of 2020 most certainly does…

The long wait for 61,000 Leaving Cert candidates finally comes to an end on Monday, when the results of the calculated grades process will be published.

Leaving Cert results will be issued to candidates via the calculated grades student portal on Monday at 9am.

Log into the portal using your candidate examination number and personal identification number (PIN). Leaving Cert calculated grades will be simultaneously issued to students’ schools at 9am.

Leaving Cert candidates have been through an emotional mill since last March. They have suffered the distress of uncertainty and indecision.

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They have ploughed a lonely furrow in a bubble of virtual reality. They had no closure as they completed their second level education. They had no opportunity to sit the Leaving Cert exam.

Leaving Cert exam results, which are normally available in mid-August, were delayed until 7th September.

These resilient young people have endured more angst than any Leaving Cert Class that went before. If any Leaving Cert cohort ever deserved success, this current class most certainly does.

It is my fervent hope that Monday’s calculated grades results will bring joy unconfined to each and every Leaving Cert candidate after the anxiety and mental anguish they have suffered during the past six months.

At this stage, they are entitled to move on to the next stage of their young lives. At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Minister Norma Foley announced that the previous performance of individual schools in past Leaving Cert exams was not used in the standardisation of calculated grades.

That was a very egalitarian gesture by the Minister and was warmly welcomed in education circles. It was also revealed that about 79% of grades are at, about 4% are above and about 17% are below the school’s estimate. But the devil will be in Monday’s detailed results.

A written Leaving Cert exam will be provided from 16th November if the prevailing health environment allows. That exam will be open to all 2020 candidates.

It will take place in the evenings and at weekends. Candidates taking the November exam who are also receiving calculated grades on Monday will be credited with the higher of the two grades.

They will also be able to combine grades from both results for college entry requirements and points. But the November exam will be of little use to the 61,000 young people whose sights are firmly focussed on moving on this year.

Because the Leaving Cert results aren’t available until Monday, 7th September, CAO applicants will have to wait for Round One, the main body of CAO offers to be issued at 2pm on the 11th September.

Already this year, on 18th July, CAO issued offers in Round A to 5,800 deferred applicants, mature applicants, applicants who have completed an Access course and applicants who need to make visa arrangements before they can take up a college place.

Another early round, Round Zero was issued on 8th August to 4,411 applicants who were not competing with those awaiting 2020 examination results or who were assessed on other criteria. In total, 78,168 applications were received by the CAO this year.

That means there will be more than a three-month gap between the issue of Round A college offers on 18th July and the final round of college offers, Round Five, which will be in mid to late October. Best of luck to all candidates receiving Leaving Cert calculated grades results on Monday.


• 18th July Round A offers issued at 10am

• 23rd July Accept Round A offer by 3pm

• 8th August Round Zero offers issued at 10am

• 13th Aug. Accept Round Zero offer by 3pm

• 7th Sept. Leaving Cert calculated grades released to candidates at 9am

• 7th Sept. Leaving Cert calculated grades also issued to schools at 9am.

• 11th Sept, CAO Round One offers and points available from 2pm

• 14th Sept. Percentage marks and rankings submitted by teachers released

• 14th Sept A candidate may appeal the paper trail leading to the grade awarded, but not the grade itself, from this date

• 14th Sept CAO Available Places facility opens at 12 noon

• 16th Sept. Accept CAO Round One offer by 3pm

• 23rd Sept. CAO Round Two offers available from 10am

• 25th Sept. Accept CAO Round Two offer by 12 noon

• Sept. Apply for Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses to Colleges of Further Ed.

• Sept. Apply to State Agencies and private companies for training courses – apprenticeships/ traineeships, etc.

• Sept. Many schools enrol repeat Leaving Cert students

• 1st Oct. CAO Round Three offers available from 10am

• 6th Oct. Accept CAO Round Three offer by 3pm

• 8th Oct. CAO Round Four offers available from 10am

• 13th Oct. Accept CAO Round Four offer by 3pm

• Billy Ryle is a Career Guidance Counsellor and Educational Commentator

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