Sinn Féin Councillor Conor D. McGuinness has said that adequate supports need to be put in place to support Leaving Certificate students following the postponement of this year’s exams due to Covid-19. McGuinness has written to the Department of Education requesting the establishment of a dedicated support helpline and counselling service for Leaving Cert students.
He made the call in the wake of formal announcement from Government that the Leaving Certificate Examinations will take begin on 29 July this year.
“The last few weeks have been incredibly difficult for most people; not least for Leaving Cert students who are enduring great anxiety and stress at the moment. I’m glad that the caretaker Minister has finally announced a start date for the exams, but there is still a lot of unanswered questions and uncertainty around these exams.
“The priority at this point in time needs to be the safeguarding of students welfare and mental health, and there is a need for a dedicated helpline to provide counselling and support services to help deal with the pressures students are facing.
“I am aware that some supports are available through the National Psychological Service, but in my view we need a dedicated helpline that is resourced to provide mental health supports and also the ability to answer questions that students may have; acting as a one-stop-shop for queries.
“The Leaving Cert presents an enormous challenges at the best of times but it has been made even more daunting this year by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“That is why we need a dedicated and well resourced counselling and mental health helpline, and I urging the Minister for Education and his Department to establish this as a matter of urgency.”