Leaving Certificate 2020

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Leaving Certificate 2020: Your questions answered - October 2020

For the latest updates click here

Important Update regarding Calculated Grades

The Department's press statement of 3 October regarding Calculated Grades is available to read here. The report commissioned from Education Testing Services (ETS) is available here.

The Minister in releasing this statement reiterated her regret to students for the errors caused in the Calculated Grades process.

The Department's press statement regarding the Minister's earlier announcement on 30 September is available to read here.

Helpline and further queries

The Department’s Calculated Grades helpline is available at (01) 889 2199 and is open from 11.00am to 7.00pm on Saturday 3 October and from 11.00am to 4.00pm on Sunday 4 October.

Queries may also be emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it In addition, the National Parents Council Helpline, at 1800 265 165, will re-open on Monday 5 October to Friday 9th 11am to 4pm daily. 

Going to College 2020 Podcast Series Independent.ie Education Podcast in association with QQI

Going to College is a four-part podcast series, presented by Sinead Ryan, that will help you prepare for some nerve-wracking - and exciting - weeks ahead.

From the Leaving Cert results to CAO offers and then going to college in a time of Covid, it's stressful and life-changing, but this series will help with practical advice, tips and insights from experts in the area.

Episode 1: What to expect from the Leaving Cert results 2020

For the first episode, the focus is on the Leaving Cert results that are out on Monday and Sinead was joined by Katherine Donnelly, Education Editor of the Irish Independent, Dr. Padraig Walsh, CEO of Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and Reuben Murray, a Leaving Cert student and President of the Irish Second Level Schools Union. 

The panel discussed the issue around the calculated grades system, welcoming the government's late decision to drop the controversial use of schools' past performance in the Leaving Cert as a key measure in the process for calculating grades for 2020.

Episode 2: Large incease in CAO points but you still have choices  

The CAO offers are out and this second episode of the Going to College podcast series is looking at what's gone up, what's gone down, and the overall effect that the calculated grades had on the points for this year's college courses.

Joining Sinead Ryan were Guidance Counsellor, Aoife Walsh, the Irish Independent's Education columnist, John Walshe, and QQI's Awards and Certification Manager, Colette Harrison to discuss the overall trends as well as outlining what your options are if you didn't get what you were hoping for.

Episode 3: College in a time of Covid

With colleges starting back in the coming weeks, students – and especially first years – will have many questions and concerns about college during a time of Covid.

Episode three of the Going to College series, presented by Sinead Ryan, addresses many of those concerns with a panel consisting of: Lorna Fitzpatrick, USI's President, Dr Bryan Maguire from QQI, and Scott Ahearn, Student Counsellor with TU Dublin.

Episode 4: Making the most out of your college years

For this final episode of the Going to College podcast series, presenter Sinead Ryan discusses the practicalities of college life, finding out what you can expect and how to make the most of your college years.

Joining Sinead to give their insights and advice were Nóirín Deady, First Year Experience Co-Ordinator at UCC, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, Welfare & Equality Officer, NUI Galway, and Hannah Bryson, Education Officer, UCD.

The Going to College series is in association with QQI.


01 September, 2020 – Minister Foley announces details of Calculated Grades model for Leaving Certificate 2020 and Minister Harris confirms the provision of 1,250 additional places in certain high-demand programmes in higher education institutions

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has today, Tuesday 1 September, announced further details of the Calculated Grades model for Leaving Certificate 2020 and Minister for Further and Higher Education Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD confirmed 1,250 additional higher education places to be offered on certain high-demand courses for the academic year 2020/21.

The announcement came following a Government decision on proposals put forward by Minister Foley to amend the national standardisation process which forms part of the Calculated Grades model.

Under the Calculated Grades model, estimated marks from schools will be adjusted, as planned, to ensure that a consistent standard is applied across schools throughout the country, when judging the performance of students. The change introduced by Minister Foley removes the use of school-by-school historical data in the standardisation model. This places a greater emphasis on the estimated marks provided by schools to individual students. The change was driven by the Minister to ensure equity and fairness in the process.

Minister Harris received Government approval for an increase of 1,250 in the overall number of CAO places offered on certain high-demand courses in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) for the academic year 2020/21.

These places are additional to the 1,415 additional places in key skills areas under Pillar 2 of the Human Capital Initiative that have already been announced to come on stream this year.

Click here for the full press release


26 August, 2020 - Minister Foley announces postponed 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations to commence on 16 November 2020

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD today (26 August 2020) announced that the 2020 postponed Leaving Certificate examinations will commence on Monday 16 November, subject to public health advice and engagement with stakeholders. Junior Cycle examinations for adult learners and early school leavers will also commence in November. The examinations will be scheduled for evenings and at weekends.

The Minister also confirmed that the postponed Leaving Certificate Examinations will take the form of written examinations only.

The postponement of the 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations was announced on 8 May. Students were offered the option of receiving Calculated Grades and/or sitting Leaving Certificate written examinations at a later date when it was considered safe to do so.

Students sitting the written examinations in November who opted to receive Calculated Grades will be credited with the higher subject grade achieved between the Calculated Grade and the written examination.

Students are being advised that the written examinations will be based on the normal question paper format, content and structure as in previous years. Students taking the postponed examinations will be graded on the basis of their written papers.

Click here for the full press release


21 July, 2020 – Minister Foley announces Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades to issue to students directly through the Student Calculated Grades portal on 7 September

Click here for the full press release


16 July, 2020 - Minister Foley announces next steps for this year's Leaving Certificate students

  • The re-opening of the Calculated Grades Student Portal for Leaving Certificate students to opt to receive Calculated Grades on Monday, 20 July 2020 at 12 o'clock.
  • Leaving Certificate students to receive Calculated Grade results on 7 September
  • First round CAO offers to be issued on 11 September
  • Results will be available in time for Round 1 offers from CAO and UCAS for colleges and universities in Ireland and UK

Click here for the full press release

A guide to Calculated Grades and further information on this process is available at gov.ie/leavingcertificate

08 May, 2020 – Minister announces postponement of 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations

All students to be offered the option of accepting Calculated Grades or sitting Leaving Certificate written examinations at a later date
The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has today (Friday 8 May 2020) announced the postponement of the 2020 Leaving Certificate. 
Click here for the full press release

Leaving Certificate 2020: Information and Resources (source Department of Education and Skills)

Information for Leaving Cert Students

In order to help answer some of the questions the Department of Education and Skills have provided this guide to help explain why they have reached this decision, what it means for students, parents and teachers and how it will happen.

Click here for more information. This guide will be updated from time to time so please check back.


Questions relating to COVID-19 (Source CAO)

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