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Leaving Cert students and parents urged to keep calm

Posted by Francis O' Toole on August 13, 2014

Irish ExaminerLeaving Cert students and parents urged to keep calm – Students and parents should stay calm and remember there are a range of options if Leaving Certificate results next week do not match their expectations, guidance counsellors have advised.

As dozens of members of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors (IGC) prepare to handle calls next week on a telephone helpline for the National Parents’ Council Post Primary (NPCPP), the message from their president was that there is no point getting worked up about possible exam grades or consequences for further study. “Parents need to take a step back sometimes because it’s their children’s Leaving Certificate, and just be there to support them. Let them come to their own conclusions about what they want to do with their futures at this stage,” said IGC president Betty McLaughlin.

“Stay calm, they have their work done at this stage, let them work things out,” she said.

However, Ms McLaughlin said parents could make some preparations ahead of next Wednesday’s release of results by the State Examinations Commission (SEC) to an estimated 54,000 Leaving Certificate students. Among them would be to look at options for students considering college or further education in case they are disappointed with grades. She suggested also that parents could:

– Take note of key dates for Central Applications Office (CAO) offers and acceptance deadlines;

– Familiarise themselves with the process for appealing a Leaving Certificate grade;

– Apply for a student grant, which can be done before receiving or accepting a college place offer;==

– Access accommodation lists or check rental websites at or near a student’s chosen college;

– Among study options are post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses at further education colleges. These colleges had more than 34,000 students in the last year.

“They are still enrolling and are interviewing up to the end of August, and these courses can be a great stepping stone to third-level. Anyone who feels they haven’t done themselves justice could also think about repeating the Leaving Certificate, but really only if they have a definite plan and are doing it for the right reason,” Ms McLaughlin said.

Last year, the NPCPP helpline received almost 2,000 calls, just over two-thirds from parents and the remainder from students. The queries range from help on how to calculate CAO points, to requests for information on grants, Leaving Certificate appeals and details of particular courses.

“We are delighted to once again provide this valuable resource for parents, students and teachers. It can be a very stressful time for parents and students as they work out their options, and speaking to a qualified guidance counsellor is an invaluable source of accurate and up-to-date information,” said NPC-PP president Don Myers.

NPCPP Leaving Certificate free helpline is 1800 265 165 and is open from 10am-7pm next Wednesday, August 13, to Friday, August 15, and from 8am the following Monday to Wednesday, August 18-20.

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