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“All stakeholders have worked extremely hard to get to this point” – Education Minister

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By Michelle Crean

Minister for Education Norma Foley has said that “all stakeholders have worked extremely hard to get to this point” in deciding the way forward for the 2021 State exams. Junior Cert students will now not have to undergo a sit down exam with students instead being assessed through a calculated grade process, while Leaving Cert students face a choice of calculated grades or a sit down exam. Students who decide to take an exam will receive whichever result is higher between their calculated grade and the result from the written exam.

The Dept and its stakeholders have said that they wanted to put a fair system in place “having regard to the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic and the loss of learning that has occurred for this group of students due to the interruption of in-person teaching and learning during the periods of school closure”.

The Minister said that she has “listened carefully to all”, and they have “worked together to find solutions” and that the exams are expected to begin on June 9.

However, teachers’ union are calling for further engagement to clarify some points including having external examiners for oral and practical exams and have concerns about how teachers could come under pressure from parents over the calculated grades in the coming months. Concern also remains about how teachers will navigate the two exam choices whilst teaching. They’re hoping to have further clarity from the Dept in the coming days.

REACTION

Acting principal for St Brendan’s College, Hugh Rudden, said that while the announcement is welcome and gives clarity to students and teachers, there are concerns around the various subjects and how they’ll be assessed.

“Some subjects have three components of assessment. Some students thrive on the practical element and others on the academic. That does lead to a certain amount of uncertainty and hopefully we’ll get that clarity.”

Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors, said that the fact that students finally have a decision is to be welcomed.

“The fact that Leaving Cert students will have the choice to opt for ‘accredited grades’ from the State Exams Commission, to sit some or all of the exams in June or to opt for a combination of both, is also positive news. While we do have clarity on some aspects of the process, much of it is still unclear. For many students making decisions is difficult so I urge all Leaving Certs to stay focused on study and revision. We now know the plan but it is important to get all of the detail over the coming weeks before deciding what option suits a particular student. The Minister has said that students will have until May to make that decision so my advice is to take time to let it sink in and take some time out to relax before returning to school (remotely) on Monday. The same applies to Third Year students. Although the exams won’t go ahead, assessment will take place at school level and all learning this year is building towards transition into senior cycle so it’s important to stay engaged in learning.”

Meanwhile, according to Taoiseach Michael Martin on Thursday, schools “may” reopen on a phased basis from March 1, beginning with Junior and Senior Infants, as well as Leaving Cert students.

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Laura’s new look for Leaving Cert

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NEW LOOK: Laura Cronin, who is currently sitting her Leaving Cert, cut 14 inches off her hair for The Rapunzel Foundation.

By Michelle Crean

Rathmore’s Laura Cronin headed into her Leaving Cert exams this week with a whole new look after transforming her hairstyle for charity.

Laura, daughter of Una and Donal from Rathbeg, cut 14 inches off her hair for The Rapunzel Foundation.

As her long locks didn’t get cut over the last year Laura decided to get a good chop in Katelynn’s Hair Design in Rathmore instead, and use the left over hair to create wigs for sick children.

“I thought, rather than trim it I’d cut a lot off,” Laura, who hopes to study pharmacy in college, told the Killarney Advertiser. “I wanted to cut off a lot of it, I was sick of long hair. I said that if there’d be enough I’d donate it as it’d be a shame to see it on the floor.”

Laura said that hopefully it can make a child happy if it allows them to receive a specially made wig for their First Holy Communion, or a similar occasion.

“I’d encourage anyone who has long hair to think about what they could do with it.”

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€1m upgrade for Killarney store

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INVESTMENT: DV8 have invested €1m to update their store in the Killarney Outlet Centre. Pictured at the reopening were staff members: Clodagh McCarthy (Store Manager), Lorraine McGough (Assistant Manager), Anuka Altanson and Sarah Murphy. Photo: Don MacMonagle

A popular Killarney fashion shop, which reopened last week, securing up to 15 jobs, has had a facelift after a €1 million investment.

Leading fashion retailer DV8, which has a network of over 50 stores across Ireland, reopened its 4,000 square feet store in the Killarney Outlet Centre.

And customers admired the new look.

DV8 sells over 40 top fashion clothing brands as well as footwear and accessories in its stores and online at www.dv8fashion.com. The hip fashion house is well-known for its uber cool shop interiors and has dedicated customers across Ireland and the UK.

“We are delighted to be reopening our new store in Killarney and confident it will compliment the existing retail offering in the town, with DV8’s unique range of male and female clothing and footwear,” David Scott from DV8 said.

“We think local shoppers will enjoy the DV8 experience, including the top fashion brands and excellent customer service.”

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Kodaline to play stripped down Killarney gig

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By Michelle Crean

One of Ireland’s best known bands – who have had their recently released studio album streamed more than 60 million times – as well as reached 100 million YouTube views – are set to come to Killarney.

Kodaline will play their first ever stripped down fully acoustic tour on December 4 in the Gleneagle INEC Arena, which is part of a nationwide tour across the country.

Tickets went on sale yesterday (Friday) from the www.inec.ie.

‘One Day At A Time’ is the band’s fourth album, and adds a new chapter to a career that has already encompassed three number 1 albums in Ireland, two Top 5 albums in the UK, and more than a billion streams at Spotify. Kodaline approached the album with a streamlined process that took them back to their roots. The majority of the sessions revolved around the four band members alone in their modest recording space in Dublin, with bassist Jason Boland leading the production side of things.

CAREER

In 2019, Kodaline played some of the biggest shows of their career. At home in Dublin they sold-out two huge outdoor shows at St Anne’s Park, while a 10-date UK tour culminated with a packed show at London’s historic Roundhouse. Further afield, they hit festivals including Lollapalooza, Benicàssim and Open’er before becoming the first Irish band to headline the massive NH7 Weekender in Pune, India. Their extensive touring throughout Asia also included a headline set at Monsoon Music Festival in Vietnam plus dates in China, Japan, South Korea, The Phillippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore.

“We’re excited to do our first ever stripped down fully acoustic tour, it’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time and something that’s gonna be very special for us. Hope to see you guys there,” the band said.

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