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The wait is almost over for the Class of 2020

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What a year, what an end and what a class group! As Leaving Certs you have weathered the storm created by COVID-19 with a collective strength of character that has earned you the respect of your teachers, parents and so many others besides.

 

For so many of you the disappointment of not being able to celebrate the traditional milestones in your final year in secondary school still lingers; that’s completely understandable. You have been exceptionally patient considering that your results are being issued almost four weeks later than every other year, but thankfully the wait is almost over.

Tomorrow (Monday) at 9am, the results of your Calculated Grades will be available online via your Student Portal on https://lc2020.education.gov.ie/. As this is a big milestone in your life in a year that has denied you many more of them it would be a good idea to have someone with you when you get them to share in the experience of it with you. You will need your exam number, student portal password and PPS number to access the results. Your points will not be listed on the certificate that you get so you will need to calculate them yourself. It’s a good idea to download the Points Calculator App from Careers Portal to your phone beforehand. It is very simple to use and does the calculating for you. You then have another wait for CAO Round 1 offers which will be available online at 2pm on Friday, September 11. You won’t know the points for 2020 until the Round 1 offers are issued. On Monday (September 14), the estimated mark given by the school will be available online via the Student Portal. Students will be able to appeal results from September 14-17, and details of the process will be published on the Student Portal. Available Places will also open on September 14 on www.cao.ie. You will have up to Wednesday September 16 at 3pm to accept your Round 1 offer online. Second round offers will be made on September 23 for acceptance by September 25. For the most up-to-date information on dates and details always check www.cao.ie and https://lc2020.education.gov.ie/.

WRITTEN EXAM

Students who are disappointed with their results will have the opportunity to sit the written Leaving Certificate Exams in November. You may choose to sit some or all of the exams and you will be able to use the highest grade that you receive from either the exam or the calculated grade to apply to CAO for entry to college in 2021/2022. The exams are due to begin on Monday, November 16 on evenings and weekends, subject to public health guidelines at that time. Details such as timetables, registration and procedures will be issued closer to the time. Schools have been asked to ensure that Guidance Counsellors are available to students on the day of the results so if you have questions contact your school by phone or email. The National Parents’ Council Post-Primary in conjunction with the IGC will provide a Freephone helpline on 1800 265 165 on September 7 and 8 from 11am to 8pm, on September 9 and 10 from 11am to 2pm, September 11 from 12pm-8pm and September 12 from 11am to 5pm.

EMOTIONAL

Leaving Cert Results day is always a day filled with lots of different emotions for students and no doubt they will be amplified even more because of the year that you have had. So take time to process your feelings about the results, try not to compare yourself to others and enjoy this for the event that it is – a milestone in your life. That said, it is a well-worn cliché at this stage but never so important to remember you that you are not defined by your Leaving Cert results. They are a mark in the sand, an end of one part of your journey. What lies ahead is a very exciting next stage, one which if you make the right choice for yourself will allow you to flourish far beyond COVID-19. Congratulations to the class of 2020 – I am in awe of how you have coped with the impact of a global pandemic in your Leaving Cert year – Maith sibh! It may not feel like it but you are stronger, more capable and more resilient as a result. The best is yet to come!

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and PRO of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie.

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Top tips for exfoliating your skin

One of the most important steps when we are looking after our skin, face and body is exfoliation. There are many different types of exfoliators so finding the right one […]

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One of the most important steps when we are looking after our skin, face and body is exfoliation.

There are many different types of exfoliators so finding the right one is important. We don’t want to cause any unnecessary damage, especially to the face.

We must help to exfoliate the dead cells to reveal new glowing skin. As dead cells have a negative effect on the skin, it clogs pores, creates dark spots and rough skin texture, more pronounced wrinkles as well as dullness and dryness. Also, the build up of dead cells can inhibit the effectiveness of skin care products as serums and creams can’t reach the basal (lower) layer which is the active level of the skin. This layer is responsible for the growth of collagen and elastin. These molecules/cells rise up to the outer layer giving your skin plumpness. Think of them like grapes when they are youthful and hydrated. Unfortunately as we age, and if we don’t look after our skin, environmental factors such as the sun, wind, and diet can cause the collagen and elastin cells to look more like raisins. Therefore, it’s super important to exfoliate those dead cells away.

The different types you can choose from might depend on your likes or dislikes and if your skin is normal or combination. If you have dry, thin skin you must be careful to choose a suitable exfoliating product, something without grains, as they can sometimes be a little harsh. If they are dissolving grains they maybe suitable.

A great tip when exfoliating the body is to put on exfoliating mitts every time you shower. Always apply a little body lotion after every shower or bath also.

Any questions call Jill on 064 6632966.

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Budget 2023 has been announced, so what’s in it for you?

At lunchtime today (Tuesday) Budget 2023 was announced which includes an €11 billion package in what’s been described as a ‘Cost of Living Budget’. Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and […]

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At lunchtime today (Tuesday) Budget 2023 was announced which includes an €11 billion package in what’s been described as a ‘Cost of Living Budget’.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath announced a series of measures which they say will be “focused on helping individuals, families and businesses to deal with rising prices”.

It included a further €300 million in public service support measures funded from the Contingency Reserve Fund.

“We were emerging from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We now face a further economic challenge,” Minister Donoghue said.

“The government understands, and I understand, the worries which small business owners, farmers, pensioners, those who work really hard to get by, will feel. This is why the government will help, and by helping our country will overcome this challenge.”

THE BUDGET AT A GLANCE

Personal Tax Credit, Employee Credit and Earned Income Credit set to increase by €75

Standard rate band for Income Tax is to increase by €3,200 to €40,000

Increase in the second USC rate band (2 percent rate) from €21,295 to €22,920 in line with the 80 cent per hour increase in the national minimum wage recently agreed by this government

€200 electricity credits for homes over the next three billing cycles – November, January and March – (€600 in total)

Petrol/Diesel: The reduction on excise duty on fuel previously announced earlier this year to ease the cost of petrol and diesel has been further extended until February 28, 2023. Motorists will continue to pay 21 cent per litre in respect of petrol, 16 cent per litre in respect of diesel and 5.4 cent per litre in respect of Marked Gas Oil.

A €1.2 billion package of supports for businesses hit by soaring energy costs

New Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS) has been set up to assist businesses with their energy costs. A monthly cap of €10,000 per trade will apply and an overall cap will apply on the total amount which a business can claim.

Excise on pack of 20 cigarettes to increase by 50 cent

Lump sum payment of €400 for Fuel Allowance recipients will be paid before Christmas

Extra lump sum for the elderly, carers, and disabled as social welfare rates go up €12

VAT: 9 percent VAT rate which is currently in place to support the tourism and hospitality sectors to remain in place until February 28, 2023

Double Child Benefit payment for all eligible parents on November 1

Christmas bonus to be paid in December, with a separate double payment in November

New rent tax credit worth €500 for 2023. This can also be claimed for 2022. This applies to those who do not get any other housing supports. Approximately 400,000 persons are expected to benefit.

Rural Ireland will get a €390 million investment for development

Newspaper: VAT on newspapers to be reduced from 9 percent to zero from January 1, 2023.

1,000 new Garda and 430 Garda staff will be provided

20% fare reduction on public transport will be extended to the end of 2023

Social Welfare

Weekly social welfare rates will be increased by €12 for working age recipients

€12 increase in weekly payments for pensioners

Working Family Payment threshold will increase by €40

€2 increase in the weekly rate for a Qualified Child

An increase in eligibility for Fuel Allowance

€500 lump sum for families availing of the Working Family Payment, a €500 lump sum for carers, a €500 cost of disability payment and a €20 increase in the domiciliary care allowance for sick children

Health

All inpatient hospital charges will be abolished, GP visit cards will be provided to those on or below the median income (340,000 additional people)

There will be a €2 increase in the weekly rate for a Qualified Child.

Drug Payment Scheme threshold will remain at the lower rate of €80 in 2023

Funding will be provided for IVF treatments

Free contraception will be available for all women aged between 16 and 30

Childcare and education

Free School Book Scheme for primary school pupils from autumn 2023

Over 660 additional mainstream teachers, over 1,190 SNAs and 680 special education teachers will be provided

The National Childcare Scheme hourly subsidy is to increase from 50c to €1.40

A €500 increase in post-graduate contribution grant for eligible families

Over 4,800 additional places on craft and consortia-led apprenticeships and 4,000 places on craft apprenticeship programmes will be supported

Housing

Funding will be made available to support 8,800 new HAP tenancies and 800 RAS tenancies

9,100 new-build social homes, 5,500 new affordable homes for sale and rent and 6,500 new social homes will be supported

Funding to deliver 37,000 home energy upgrades

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