The world today looks very different than it did just a year ago. Our homes have transformed into workplaces, schools, and places of rest and refuge.
While we may all be riding out the same storm, we are not all in the same boat. We all experience this time differently with a unique set of supports, challenges and opportunities – and sometimes the latter may seem a bit vague. If you need our support please do not hesitate to contact us. (Link to Teachers emails)
Well done to everyone in our school community for their effort and application since January. From 4pm today parents/guardians can access a short report from each of your sons teachers on VSware outlining his attendance, level of engagement and completion of assignments since January 6th when we returned to remote teaching and learning.
In the midst of ever changing and uncertain times we have made some key decisions.
Junior Cycle (3rd Years)
There has to this point been no communication from the Department of Education or the State Examinations Commission about Junior Cycle. In light of this, subject to any updated advice, we must proceed as teachers and students under the presumption that the Junior Cycle will go ahead in 2021.
It is our intention to run formal Junior Cycle Mock Exams as soon as conditions allow. Students will have completed at least 2 weeks of in school classes before any Mock exams will be scheduled.
For those who applied for TY we will be in contact next week with the outcome of this process.
Leaving Certificate (6th Years)
I strongly advise that our 6th years take a break over the mid term and enjoy some down time in advance of the next 4 challenging months. The challenges faced by all students are exacerbated in 6th year with the media frenzy around the Leaving Certificate. We appreciate how challenging this is for parents/guardians and students. Please try to avoid the debate and poilticisation of your circumstance. For many this is about selling newspapers and personal political gain.
We wish that we could give you concrete information but unfortunately we are operating in a vacuum of information and certainty at present. Be assured as soon as we get concrete plans we will let you know. For clarity;
- We have received no information from the State Examinations Commission regarding Practical or Oral examinations. Continue to listen to your teachers advice.
- We have no information regarding the State Examinations in June and the proposed parallel process.
As a result of this and for the reasons outlined below Leaving Certificate Mocks will not run in the traditional format. Mock papers will be distributed to teachers for use in class time at the teacher’s discretion.
Reasoning for this decision
Some statements around our current ambiguous position.
- It is now widely anticipated, though not confirmed, that students will not return to school until after March 5th. However as announced on Wednesday there seems to be some negotiations around 6th years returning on February 22nd.This is not confirmed. At this point a staggered return to school is expected.
- With a staggered return anticipated from March 8th, there are 14 school days until the Easter break commence on the 26th March.
- There will need to be further alterations to the format of Examination Papers used in the state examinations, though they are yet to be clearly outlined. The Mock papers as currently formatted may not be the format used in the State Examinations.
- We are still waiting on clarity around the timing and structure of Oral & Practical examinations.
- Our 6th year students have been surveyed and we met a focus group of 6th Years on MS Teams with their Yearhead, Ms Murphy, yesterday to hear their concerns.
Running the mocks in the traditional format is not viable for a number of reasons.
- If we run formal Mock exams in March this will significantly impact on teaching & learning with our 6th years having missed out from March 2020 and again from January 2021.
- The marking of and reporting on Mock exams takes 5/6 weeks. Students would not have results until late April at the earliest. While these are summative assessments the formative feedback is valuable in supporting learning and decision making for students. This information will be coming too late.
- This window in March may be needed to complete practical’s and prepare for orals. If students focus moves to Mocks this may lead to underperformance on these key SEC components. It will also create a huge workload for under pressure 6th years.
- The integrity of the papers will be diminished as it now seems that they will be available, from the sole supplier, online from February 22nd. Given this fact, the use of any Mock results to inform any version of predicted grades that might be negotiated as part of a ‘parallel’ process is not appropriate.
ASD Hub – Ostia
Our ASD Hub will open on Monday February 22nd to enable support for our students who access this service. An updated ‘Covid-19 Response Plan for the Safe and Sustainable Operation of Post Primary Schools‘ has been published. Please be reminded that if your son presents with any symptoms of Covid-19 he should not attend the college and you should contact your GP. Parents of the boys returning will have to complete a Return to Educational Facility Parental Declaration Form. Ms Langton & Ms Roche will be in direct contact with the families concerned. We look forward to welcoming back our Ostia students.
The window for submitting your subject choices on VSware is now closed with the allocation of subject choices process ongoing for 2nd Year, 5th Year and TY 2021/22. If you have not submitted your choices please contact Mr PJ Walsh (email@example.com) We will be in contact with students where we can not offer their preferred choices due to resource constraints.
We hope to have our students back as soon as NPHET and the educational partners deem it safe to do so. Until then, thank you for keeping hope and learning afloat in your home during an unprecedented and challenging time.
Enjoy your mid-term. We, the entire Good Counsel College community, appreciate you and your effort!