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Relief for students as State exams finally begin

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Killarney Community College students Stefan Lajdar said it was easy enough once he got going.

Aoife O'Brien student of Killarney Community College said the first exam wasn't too bad.

Bharragh O'Shea from Killarney Community College felt his first exam went pretty well. "I thought it was easy."

Happy to get it over and done with was Adam O'Connor from The Sem.

Kayleigh O'Connor and Bethany Kelly pictured ahead of their Home Economics exam on Wednesday afternoon.

By Michelle Crean and Grigoriy Geniyevskiy

Although it was a Leaving Cert like no other - that didn't stop some students from feeling nerves and others relief - as they finally began their State exams on Wednesday morning.

After a mix of homeschooling due to the COVID lockdowns, it was a tough final year for the Sixth Years who at times had no idea if they final school exams would even go ahead.

Some have opted for no exams, while others want a mixture of Accredited Grades combined with the option to sit the exams.

And it all began on Wednesday morning as English Paper 1 was first up followed by Home Economics in the afternoon.

REACTION

For Killian O'Brien, a student in St Brendan's College, he said that there was no stress as he headed in.
"I'm grand out, not stressed at all."

George Griffin, also a student in St Brendan's College was glad to begin the final leg of his school journey and said he too felt grand about it.

"Predictable grades are a good backing to it, it levels out the stress."

His classmate Darren Counihan was "not too worried" about what was ahead of him.

"You can only go up in points, not down thanks to accredited points."

Luke Tindall, also a student in the school said he was alright and "not too stressed"

For Adam O'Connor there was some nerves.
"I'm feeling a bit of everything, but mostly stressed," he said. "I'm just waiting to get it done and over with."

In Killarney Community College Oliwia Bielanska spoke to the Killarney Advertiser after coming out of her first State exam.

"I was nervous at first, but once I started writing it was all good."

Aoife O'Brien from the same school said she was "kind of nervous" but that "it was fine".

"It wasn't too bad."

Stefan Lajdar, also a student in Killarney Community College said it went "alright".

"I finished a bit earlier. I was a bit under pressure before the exam, but it was easy enough. We have a backup with the predicted grades so it was fine."

A turbulent year

Principal of Killarney Community College, Stella Loughnane, acknowledged the uniqueness of this year. "This year has been a turbulent and emotional year for this particular Leaving Cert group. Thankfully, all of our students sitting these exams have the security of knowing they already have an accredited grade from their subject teacher and can really try to improve on that when sitting their chosen exams. I think this is of great comfort to students and will ease some of their nerves.The majority of our students have embraced this challenge and chosen to sit their exams."

She added that also this year there are a lot more COVID guidelines from both the Department of Health and the Department of Education that both the school and students must adhere to.

"This year has shown how adaptable our students are, therefore I don't believe they will cause too much fuss. However, like every other year, our students arrived with the age old butterflies in their stomachs but a willingness to begin their exams."

Sean Coffey, Principal of St Brendan's College said it was great to see the exams finally underway.

"It has been the most incredible two years for the students. This is as fair as you can get really. I would say the Sixth Years had a less disruptive year than other students as they had their eye on the prise and could see the finish line in sight."

Killarney Community College student Stefan Lajdar said it was easy enough once he got going.

Aoife O'Brien student of Killarney Community College said the first exam wasn't too bad.

Bharragh O'Shea from Killarney Community College felt his first exam went pretty well. "I thought it was easy."

Happy to get it over and done with was Adam O'Connor from The Sem.

George Griffin from St Brendan's College pictured before Wednesday's English exam.

Darren Counihan student from St Brendan's College said that he was not too worried ahead of the first exam on Wednesday.

Killian O'Brien from St Brendan's College said he wasn't feeling stressed before the first exam on Wednesday morning.

Katerina Polyakova and Maryia Casey from Killarney Community College pictured cramming in some last minute revision before Wednesday's Home Ec exam.

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Develop skills and improve employability

By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors Traineeships are developed and delivered on an ongoing basis by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) nationwide and are open to potential participants of all ages and backgrounds including school leavers, mature learners and those in or seeking employment. Developed in partnership with industry representatives […]

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

Traineeships are developed and delivered on an ongoing basis by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) nationwide and are open to potential participants of all ages and backgrounds including school leavers, mature learners and those in or seeking employment.

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NEXT STEP

Second level or higher education students who are interested in participating in a Traineeship Programme should contact their local ETB, adult learners should contact the Adult Education Guidance Service through their local ETB, and jobseekers will be able to access information through their local Intreo Office or Local Employment Service. For those currently unemployed, a training allowance or income support may be available. You can check out the range of opportunities offered through Traineeships nationwide on www.fetchcourses.ie and more locally check out the www.kerrycollege.ie.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant – For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Return to work courses

Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce. Courses are offered in different areas including Information and Communications Technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services. The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – Levels 6 […]

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Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce.

Courses are offered in different areas including Information and Communications Technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services.

The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – Levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Most of the courses are part-time and last for one year or less, but there are some full-time courses.
You can access a free Springboard+ course, if you are getting a qualifying social welfare payment such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Benefit or the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). You can get a full list of qualifying payments for Springboard+ on citizensinformation.ie

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To apply for a Springboard+ course, you choose the course(s) you are interested in on springboardcourses.ie and apply online, following the instructions on the website. You can apply for up to 10 courses, but you can only take one course.

If you are getting a social welfare payment, you should notify your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office and check what further steps (if any) you need to take.
If Springboard+ doesn’t meet your needs, there are several other ways to go back to education.
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During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

Tralee on Tel: Call 0761 07 7860, Monday – Friday (10am-4pm)
The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

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