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Government close to reaching a decision on this year's Leaving Cert as Junior Cert may be axed

The Teachers' Union of Ireland has said that while it is hoped a deal can be reached today, it may mean that Junior Cert will have to be cancelled for the Leaving Cert to go ahead.

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Pupils sitting an exam (PA)

Pupils sitting an exam (PA)

Pupils sitting an exam (PA)

The Government is “pretty close” to reaching a resolution for this year's Leaving Cert, Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien has said this morning. 

Hopes are rising that an agreement with teachers and unions will be reached, although it is unclear if that might happen before Minister Norma Foley updates the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Education later today.

An element of written exams along with some predictive grades is one model being put forward.

However, it's yet to be confirmed what choice individual students will have between the two for their own exams.

The Teachers' Union of Ireland has said that while it is hoped a deal can be reached today, it may mean that Junior Cert will have to be cancelled for the Leaving Cert to go ahead.

It said based on public health advice it won't be possible to run the Junior and Leaving Cert at the same time, and so it has been suggested the exam should be replaced with an appropriate alternative.

On today's Newstalk Breakfast, Minister O'Brien said he was acutely aware “and Government is” that we need a resolution here, particularly around the Leaving Cert.

“Our students deserve certainty... that’s really what we’re working towards," he said.

“I think we’re pretty close to getting there - progress is being made."

He added he “really does hope” there’ll be a resolution this week.

Yesterday, Minister Foley told her Cabinet colleagues that she is aiming to have all students back in school from next month – with March 1 set out as a target date.

While the Government aims to agree plans for the Leaving Cert today, teachers’ unions have warned that major issues remain after the talks broke up late last night.

Ministers said yesterday they expect the plans for this year's Leaving Cert to be agreed today in order to give clarity to the 60,000 or so students due to sit the exams.

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