Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate 2021

Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate 2021

On the 17th February, the Minister made an announcement regarding Leaving Certificate 2021.

Key features of the announcement were as follows:

The Government has decided on a dual approach regarding the Leaving Certificate Examinations this year (Leaving Certificate and SEC Accredited Grades).

All students may opt to take Leaving Certificate Examinations, including written examinations and related additional components. In addition, a system of accredited grades is being provided. Leaving Certificate 2021 results will be awarded on the basis of the better of


  • Students’ performance in Leaving Certificate examinations in any subject taken by them in the conventional examinations, including, where appropriate, their performance in the completion of additional components (coursework, orals, etc.)


  • Students’ SEC accredited grades in each subject based on schools’ estimates of students’ likely performance and a national standardisation process.

The State Examinations Commission will operate both Leaving Certificate option pathways.

Established Leaving Certificate:

The established Leaving Certificate will take place including orals and coursework. Orals will be held during the Easter break or shortly thereafter. They will be conducted by way of recording by qualified teachers in the school or sourced locally and will be sent for external marking. The conduct and recording of the orals will be a paid function. In some subjects, the holding of practical examinations will not be feasible due to public health considerations in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The written Leaving Certificate examinations will commence on 9th June, 2021. The written exams will:

  • Operate in accordance with the normal timetable to be published today (18th February)
  • Be conducted subject to public health advice and providing, as far as possible, access to the examinations for very high risk students.

SEC Accredited Grades:

Teachers will be asked to estimate for each student in their class.

An alignment process will take place similar to last year’s Calculated Grades process and the school’s marks for each student in each subject will be transferred to the State Examinations Commission for standardisation.

Teachers will not be asked to provide a rank order list of their students this year.

The professional judgement of each of the candidate’s teachers will not be subject to appeal.

A right for students to appeal in respect of their Accredited Grade which will comprise a process review focused on examining possible errors in the transmission and processing of student data.

Provision as far as practicable for out-of-school learners or students studying one or more subjects outside school to apply to receive Accredited Grades through the devising of an appropriate and practicable process.

Indemnification of teachers and school leaders will be provided in the operation of the process.

The closing date for work by student which may feed into the teacher’s estimation of their marks is 14th May, 2021.

Schools will be closed to all students from 28th May, 2021 to allow for the conclusion of the work necessary at school level within the process.

Legislation will be passed by the Oireachtas to provide for:

(a) the involvement of the SEC in this process.
(b) penalties regarding canvassing of teachers
(c) Indemnity

Junior Certificate 2021:

The Government has decided that the Junior Cycle examinations will not run this year.

It was widely regarded that the arrangements put in place last year were appropriate in light of the pandemic. The ASTI will seek to ensure that an appropriate acknowledgement and conclusion is brought to the work of Junior Cycle students.

It is intended to prepare and publish, in consultation with stakeholders, accessible and detailed guidance for parents, students, teachers and schools to be issued as soon as possible.



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