Leaving Cert Causing More Stress To Teens Than Its Worth According To Multiple Agencies

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Leaving Cert - Unhappy student

Calls for school-based continuous assessment at the expense of exams is one of the key findings before the Oireachtas eduication committee until the Leaving Cert is reformed.

There were also strong appeals for young people to be given a central role in overhauling the tired old model in place at the moment as heard by the Joint Committee on Education.

School-based assessment has been shown to reduce stress according to many studies. Tanya Ward, chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said “many young people with very poor mental health, and poor emotional well being” are evident after protracted lockdowns.

She said “study after study” reveals that children and young people suffer “enormous levels of stress” during the Leaving Cert.

The Children’s Children Niall Muldoon, pointed to shortages in the health services and construction industry as indicators that a change is needed.

We need a “new and more wide ranging senior cycle“, he said before agreeing with Minister Simon Harris’ assertion that the Leaving Cert “does not prepare students for life beyond education“.

Ultimately he advocated for great change top be spearheaded by the kids themselves.  ‘Young people must be recognised as “primary stakeholders” in the process, and “their views must be heard now” and “given equal weight with all other stakeholders,” Mr Muldoon added.

Suzanne Connolly, CEO of Barnardos, said the charity gets many referrals from schools for children who are living with ongoing trauma and chaos.

The trauma which the Leaving Cert causes students was a common theme and must be tackled according to Labour’s education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Riordan who said the “trauma” of the “brutal” cycle needs to be urgently tackled.

The current model affords wealthier families and their children greater opportunity while those from poorer or disadvantaged backgrounds appear to have less scope with which to benefit from the current exam process.

Daire Hennessey of Citywise Education said only one in twenty people from his neighbourhood in Tallaght have a third level degree. He said “It’s time to give the Leaving Cert back to the students.