Published date: 29 Mar 2022

NCCA Review is first step in reform desperately needed to level the playing field at Senior Cycle

The Children’s Rights Alliance welcomes the publication today of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment’s (NCCA) review of Senior Cycle education as a real opportunity for Government to deliver Leaving Certificate reform that has been decades in the making.

Commenting on the Review, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said, “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and long before it, young people have raised their concerns with the current Senior Cycle and the pressures it can put on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. They are demanding more from their education system, and we have a responsibility to listen. The truth is the current senior cycle that squeezes educational performance into one final exam cannot possibly meet the needs of all students. Unlocking a young person’s potential should not be determined by accessing grinds to crack the system or rote learning to get by. Our education system needs to recognise and encourage the fact that each young person learns in their own unique way. Today’s announcement is the first step in levelling the playing field for so many.”

“We have seen a reimagining of the system in the last two years with the Government’s response to the pandemic and the introduction of a hybrid Leaving Certificate model that sought to address the high levels of stress and anxiety students were experiencing. The NCCA Review published today is a ringing endorsement for a changed approach to assessment. The proposed teacher-based assessment marks a momentous move that can help reform our education system into one that looks at how best to nurture and develop the skills, learning and other capabilities of young people.”

Tanya Ward continued: “Government must take this opportunity to deliver the reform our senior cycle desperately needs. It is an opportunity that should not be passed by or taken lightly. From a children’s rights perspective, the move to teacher-based assessment to the tune of 40 per cent is really welcome and will have a significant impact in creating learning environments that support young people to reach their full potential. It is very positive to see the desire to pilot the recommendations in today’s review in schools as early as 2024. However, reform takes time, and it will be critical that young people’s voices and lived experiences are central as changes are implemented to ensure that they are delivering the desired outcome.”


For media queries please contact Emma Archbold: [email protected] / 087 9971410

Notes to Editors:
• Tanya Ward, CEO of the Children’s Rights Alliance is avaible for media interview.
• The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment Review is available here.
• See National Educational Psychological Service, The Wellbeing and Mental Health of Young People in Ireland: Factors for Consideration for the Leaving Certificate Examination in the context of the Covid-19 Pandemic: Advice from the National Educational Psychological Service here
• See UN Committee on Rights of the Child’s 2016 Concluding Observations or Recommendations to Ireland here

Please include details of our Helpline:
Children’s Rights Alliance helpline: 01 902 0494
Email: [email protected]
Open Mondays 10am to 4pm, Wednesdays 10am to 4pm and Friday 10am to 12 noon.

About the Children’s Rights Alliance
Founded in 1995, the Children’s Rights Alliance unites over 140 members working together to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. Twitter, @ChildRightsIRL. #EducationFutures

For media queries, please contact:

Emma Archbold

Campaigns and Communications Director