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“We don’t want the Dept to make the same mistakes as last year”

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By Michelle Crean

A Killarney teenager is one of the leading voices calling on Education Minister Norma Foley not "to make the same mistakes as last year" - and to tell students the plans for State exams and the reopening of schools as soon as possible.

Kacper Bogalecki, a Fifth Year student in St Brendan's College, played his part in surveying thousands of students at the weekend as Regional Officer for Kerry with the Irish Second-Level Students' Union (ISSU).

Today (Friday), ISSU will present these findings to the Education Minister, the Department of Education & Skills, and all education stakeholders.

The survey had over 20,000 responses, and a private webinar with over 250 representatives of ISSU member schools in attendance. The feedback was that the majority said that they "feel very unsafe" returning to school in the current climate.

After extensive analysis of the survey results paired with data from the consultation, ISSU will be advocating for a choice for Leaving Certificate students between calculated grades or sitting in-person exams in June, with over 81 percent of respondents rating this option favourably.

ISSU will also be advocating for clarity with regard to the Junior Certificate exams, with 71 percent of Junior Cycle students who responded to the survey communicating their dissatisfaction with the support they have received from the Department of Education. Junior Cycle students are also not in favour of exams proceeding as currently planned, with calculated grades or an option of calculated grades and in-person exams gathering a majority of support.

"The survey and Town Hall went very well, we had a fruitful discussion," Kacper told the Killarney Advertiser this week.

"In terms of orals and practicals we saw that over 70 percent ranked want their orals and practicals cancelled. We also saw that 50 percent of respondents said that online orals and practicals would be their preferred second choice. For the Junior Cert we saw over 75 percent of students either want calculated grades or a mix of calculated grades and exams."

There also needs to be increased communication from the Department regarding safety protocols and the rationale behind their decisions, he added.

"In terms of how safe students feel returning to the classroom, 73 percent felt either very unsafe or unsafe in schools. What we are seeing is that students aren't confident as we haven't been given any scientific data - we want concrete data and more communication as that hasn't been present. We don't want the Department to make the same mistakes as last year, we're looking for a new option to be examined."

The full ISSU Report on the State Examinations 2021 and the Reopening of Schools can be found at issu.ie/news2/2021-survey-results.

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Killarney centre stage for Pride Festival

The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage. Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July […]

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The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage.

Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July 17 to 21.

The organisation’s flagship Party in the Park event will be held again in Killarney House and Gardens, following the Pride march in the town centre on July 20.

This year, in solidarity with the people of Palestine, Kingdom Pride in Kerry is inviting the people of Kerry to come to show their unity by bringing Palestinian flags and kites to the march, and to the Party in the Park.

“Pride is a protest for human rights all over the world. Here in the Kingdom, we have been so lucky to receive tremendous community support from our allies and supporters, and we see the struggle for liberation of all peoples as a united cause,” said Daniel Quirke, chairperson of the organising committee.

“Our events have always welcomed everyone, regardless of gender, orientation, religion, or nationality. We truly believe that together we can create positive change through caring for and loving one another. This year is no exception, and we look forward to helping to highlight the Palestinian cause, and to bringing people together to keep generating positive change for all people.”

Events will take place in Cahersiveen, Listowel, Killorglin, Tralee and Dingle, and include an Irish comedy night with Áine Gallagher, an Irish-language movie screening, yoga, sea swimming, poetry and storytelling, bowling, pitch and putt, a lively drag night at the INEC, and plenty more for people of all ages.

“We do our best to keep tickets as low-cost as possible, and we have lots of events that are totally free to attend. It is important to us that people can share Pride with us, regardless of income. Especially with the rise of the cost of living putting a strain on people’s pockets.” added the chairperson.

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A weekend of Live Music, Fun and Entertainment, at FleskFest 2024

The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event. “It promises to be […]

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The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event.

“It promises to be the festival weekend of the summer, an event you don’t want to miss out on. Last year’s Festival was a fantastic memorable experience for our community, a time to get together and celebrate,” said festival PRO Seán Daly.

Organised by Glenflesk GAA, FleskFest 24 will take place at the Barraduff Community Field next week.
There will be a fully licensed bar in the Fest Marquee, some amazing live music on The Big Stage, food trucks and much more.
Glenflesk GAA club’s biggest fundraiser of the year includes a new-for-2024 Texas Holdem Poker Tournament on Thursday night.
Weekend highlights include old-time waltzing, jiving and polka sets with Paudie McAuliffe and Paudie Coffey Band on Friday,
On Saturday, the new Well Flesk event will take place.
“A morning of self-care and wellness at Flesk Fest featuring masterclasses in yoga, pilates, mindfulness, spinning, fitness sessions, workouts, firewood sauna and ice pods with a range of experienced and qualified instructors,” added Daly.
Leading local musician Johnny Courtney and Friends, Sam and Ina, The O’Donoghue Sisters, Reigning All Ireland Champions Glenflesk Ballad Group, and The Border Boys will take to the Big Stage over the weekend.
Sunday is Family Fun Day with children’s entertainment and disco and the All-Ireland Hurling Final Live on the Big screen followed by music with Thingamajig.
The festival will finish with a Sunday evening session with the Meadhbh Walsh Band.

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