Reader writes: 'cancel the Leaving and let us get on with farm work'
Leaving Certificate student Ellen Murphy, from Kildare, shares her views on the Government's decision to extend this year's exams to the summer.

I live on a family farm where we have both beef and tillage. During the busy summer period, I work alongside my father making hay, silage and helping with the harvest.

However, this year, I will now have to juggle working on the farm with studying for my exams.

At the moment, I am expected to attend online classes and keep up with the work given to me by teachers.

I am finding it difficult to keep working knowing that the exams are months away rather than weeks.

During the next few months, I will have to keep up with study and help out on the farm. Like many others, I feel a lot of pressure to keep up my studies while also being expected to work enough hours on the farm to ensure it runs efficiently.

Financial impact

The postponement of the Leaving Cert has a large financial impact on many students.

During the summer, a lot of students would be expected to work in order to earn money to help finance their third-level education. This will particularly affect students who work for agricultural contractors.

With the exams now not starting until the end of July and possibly not concluding until September, many students would not be available to contractors for most of the summer. This would lead to additional financial pressure for farming families.

An alternative to sitting the exams in late summer is having teachers assess each student's 5th and 6th year work and give them a predicted grade.

Over the past few years, teachers have received training from the new Junior Cycle which is based on classroom assessment, so, therefore, they have the skills to predict grades.

By cancelling the Leaving Cert and using predicted grades, it would allow students to work during this busy farming season.

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