The State Exams Commission should consider allowing Leaving Certificate students experiencing a crisis to site examinations at a later date, Cork East Fine Gael TD, David Stanton believes. Deputy Stanton’s suggestions were made in the Dail yesterday during a Topical Issues debate he secured on the issue.

“There are a small number of Leaving Certificate students each year, I estimate perhaps 1%, who become seriously ill, have a serious accident or suffer a bereavement of a close relative during or close to exam time. While there are a number of ways in which these students are accommodated under the current system, I believe that some should be afforded the possibility of sitting one or two of their exams at a slightly later date.

“Suffering from a serious illness, trauma or family bereavement can seriously impact on a student’s ability to sit an exam at the appointed time, if at all. I feel that greater efforts could be made to give such students the opportunity to sit the exam at a later date, perhaps within a four to six week time frame.

“I was pleased to hear that the Department of Education and Skills are willing to engage further with me on the matter. Obviously, it might be more difficult to facilitate changes in the case of practical exams but for written papers I do not think it would mean the state incurring any major cost. I know from my time as a teacher that back-up papers are available for all Leaving Cert exams. If exams were sat at a later date it could also be possible that results would still be in time for third level place offers.

“Students sitting their Leaving Certificate have pretty much worked towards these final exams for their entire time at second level. For many students their results will be a major factor on future life, employment and study choices. I do not feel that having to repeat the entire year due to poor performance in one or two exams due to illness or bereavement is very fair. I would hope that the Minister for Education and State Exams Commission will seriously examine my suggestion and implement some change to the current rules.