Changes to Leaving Cert appeals process to positively impact access to higher education

Emma Nevin

Students appealing their Leaving Certificate examination results will no longer have to defer their higher education offer for a year due to the length of the appeals process, said on November 1st.

Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh and Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor announced that from 2019, students whose appeals result means they acquire a place in their desired course, “will in most cases now be able to take up that preference in the current academic year, rather than have their offer deferred by a year.”

From now on, the results of rechecks will be released on September 16th, a full three weeks earlier than normal, shortening the eight week wait to five.

Examiners will be marking the scripts on a full time basis rather than just on evenings and weekends. This ensures that students who obtain their course of preference through the appeals process will be able to take their place straight away, rather than being forced to wait an entire academic year.

These changes were made following the September High Court ruling that Leaving Cert 2018 candidate, Rebecca Carter, was treated unfairly by the State Examinations Commission. The totals of Ms Carter’s business paper were added up incorrectly, causing her to be six points short of gaining entry to UCD to study veterinary medicine.

By the time this wrong was rectified, it was too late for her to take her place in the course. Ms Carter brought her case to the High Court where Mr Justice Richard Humphreys agreed that she should not have to defer for a year due to the “highly unfair” appeals process and ruled that she be allowed enter her course immediately.

These adjustments have received a wide range of support from both past and present students. 2018 Leaving Cert student Darragh Senchyna went through the appeals process this year and told the College View that the length of time it took was “crazy.”

“I’m happy it’s shortened, it was way too long before. This will probably mean a lot to people who need their points raised for a course,” he said.

Current sixth year student, Britney Okundaye said that she is “relieved” that the process will be different this year.

“I think it’s a great idea. So many people have sent back papers, waited a year and had to put their education on hold. These changes will save time and let people go on with their future,” she said.


By Emma Nevin

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