The wait was finally over for hundreds of students, who sat their Leaving Cert exams this summer, in both Offaly and north Tipperary as they received their results on Tuesday, just over two months after they began.
While the collection of the exam results maybe a formality to some, an exciting time for others, it can also be a daunting experience for many teenagers and from early on Tuesday morning, school principals in both counties were out in force collecting their schools results and sorting through them in time for the school-leavers to show up at 9am.
In Birr, Mrs Ming Loughnane, Principal and the staff of St. Brendan’s Community School, Birr extended their congratulations to the Class of 2019 on their marvellous achievements, in the Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied examinations.
Many of the students surpassed their own goals and St Brendan’s is very proud of a number of students who may have struggled academically but achieved personal bests in the examinations.
The statement pointed out the school is delighted that a student achieved the maximum 625 points in the Leaving Certificate. “This is a great result, as nationally only 235 students out of 59,000, achieved six or more H1 grades. In addition 12 students scored over 500 points in the exam.
In the LCA examinations the high standard of previous years was upheld, with four pupils achieving a Distinction, which is the highest grade possible.”
Mrs Loughnane concluded by thanking the staff for their great work and congratulating the students on what she saw as an outstanding set of results, that any school would be proud of. The students are wished well in their chosen career paths.
In the Cistercian College, students and parents of the Leaving Certificate class of 2019 arrived from early morning to collect their results. The Principal and Deputy Principal of the College were there to meet the students and their parents and congratulate them on their achievements.
The College prides itself on providing a holistic curriculum of academic, co-curricular and sport and this enables the students in its care to develop fully. College Principal, Gerard Grealish, said that “this class participated fully in all aspects of the full College curriculum; only weeks before they sat their exams several members of the class participated in the annual college concert held in the concert hall in the University of Limerick”.
“Furthermore two students were members of the German Debating team that won the All Ireland in May and four students won a silver medal in the All Ireland National School Athletics final in the 4X100m relay on the Saturday before the exams commenced.”
Over in Banagher, Paddy Scales, Principal of Coláiste na Sionna in Banagher,was “extremely pleased” with the school’s Leaving Cert results this year. With 580 pupils in the secondary school and 45 teachers, 81 students sat their Leaving Certificate this year and eight completed the Leaving Cert Applied.
The Tribune rang Paddy on Tuesday morning, a couple of hours after the results had been released. “There were a lot of nervous mothers, sons and daughters in here this morning but nearly all of them have gone away very happy with the outcome,” commented the Principal. “Our results this year were better than last year. There has been a very strong outcome right across the board.”
Paddy said there had been a couple of “sticky” exams, where students after sitting the papers were nervous about the results. “Home Economics and Mathematics were two sticky subjects,” he said, “and a number of the pupils were nervous about the outcome. However, thankfully the results were fine. The low results which the students feared didn’t transpire.
“On Thursday a very high percentage of our students will be offered their first choice courses in third level education. I am feeling very happy with the situation. And our teachers are happy as well because it is a stressful period for them also.” And what of the small percentage of students who won’t qualify for their first choice courses? “I am very confident that on Thursday there will be a course available for everyone.”
He added that an increasing number of pupils are going on to do apprenticeship courses after school. “The apprenticeship avenue is increasing year on year and more and more apprenticeship courses are becoming available.”
Paddy said two-thirds of the 89 Leaving Cert students did the Transition Year option. “They have therefore spent six years in secondary education. It is very good that at the end of such a long and important period in their lives the result for a very high percentage of them will be exactly what they wanted.”
Elsewhere in Kilcormac, Brian Kehoe, Principal of Coláiste Naomh Cormac, was also delighted with the results his students received in the state exams and was joined by a large number of the teaching staff, who came in to see the students on Tuesday last.
“Overall, we are delighted with the results. It gives you a great lift here when the kids come in so nervous. It is a very daunting moment for them when they come in to get their results in the school. But, there is great relief and excitement when they see how well they have done.”
“It gives everyone a lift when they go out happy. Overall, the students were happy and the results were very good. It is a credit to both the students, who worked so hard over the last couple of years and the teaching staff, who have also worked very hard with them over both fifth and sixth year.”
Brian said there was “great excitement and all went off very happy”. “And, this leaves them in a good position for the CAO offers [which are out on Thursday, August 15],” he added.
The Kilcormac principal believed it was a positive that they have shortened the window between the results and the CAO offers and also the appeals procedures. “This certainly will make life easier for everyone to plan ahead that little bit better” he commented.
In general, Brian explained the students have such a wide variety of options available to them now leaving school and “this is something that we emphasise to our students. This is the starting point of the next journey but there are huge options there now for them. It is also probably a good time to be coming out of school now.
“The most important thing is that pupils are aware of all of their options. So, hopefully they will get their courses and a lot of them will. But, in either event they still have loads of options on the table.”
Talking about the Leaving Cert 2019 overall, Brian was candid in his reply by saying that they didn’t find any particular sticking points with their students this year. “Most years, there would be something that would not be ideal. But this year, there was no real outlier to say that this was a problem. In general, we are very happy with the results. It was fairly consistently high across the board in most areas.”
Meanwhile, the ISPCC has reminded all young people that Childline is here to listen 24 hours a day, every day. ISPCC Chief Executive John Church said: “Leaving Cert results time can create a range of emotions for young people. It can be an exciting time for many students, but can also bring about feelings of anxiety, worry and disappointment.
“It’s important to remember the Leaving Cert does not define a person, regardless of results. There are several routes for progression open to young people – the Leaving Cert is simply a stepping stone. ISPCC Childline encourages young people who may have worries or concerns to talk about how they are feeling with a trusted adult, or with Childline. Childline is always here to listen to any child or young person up to the age of 18 in Ireland and can be contacted by calling 1800 66 66 66 (24 hours a day), chatting online at Childline.ie (10am – 4am daily) or texting to 50101 (10am – 4am daily). Further information and support on a range of different topics can also be found at Childline.ie.”