Students who successfully appeal the Leaving Cert results awarded by the calculated grades system may still miss out on their preferred college course this year.

The Department of Education said that, while “every effort” would be made to process appeals as quickly as possible, it could not commit to a date for issuing appeal results.

More than 60,000 pupils yesterday had access to details of the marks assigned to them by their teachers as part of the calculated grades system. The appeal process also opened.

The day was marked by a protest by dozens of disappointed students outside the Department of Education and more than 1,000 people have signed a petition demanding the grounds for appealing the calculated grades be broadened.

Robert Hernon, who organised the protest, said he believed some students “have been treated unfairly and missed out on a college place because of the system”.

There were also some “very distressed” callers to the National Parents Council Post Primary (NPCPP) helpline, where the results and the appeals process featured strongly in the queries.

An NPCPP spokesperson said many callers required counselling support from the guidance counsellors staffing the phones, in addition to practical support.

Yvonne O’Toole, principal of the well-known Dublin “grinds” school, the Institute of Education, said she spent yesterday “dealing with very anxious students who missed out on their course”. She is calling for a “more robust appeals process”.

She said her students had been liaising with local TDs in a bid to highlight the “injustice of the calculated grades system.”

Ms O’Toole added: “We need to find some redress for the students who didn’t get the results that they deserved.

“Our stats show that 27pc of students got H1s in French last year and this year it went down to 15pc. We were always an exceptional school. Students who are exceptional deserve to be recognised as such.”

Overall, 83pc of students received a grade based on their teachers’ estimate, or higher, with 17pc of grades below the school estimate.

The appeals process does not allow for a challenge to the marks provided by the teachers, or grades awarded by the Calculated Grades Office. It extends only to checks for administrative errors.

The department advised students it was not possible to appeal the information provided by the school. “Due to the nature of the calculated grades system, the professional judgment of the school is outside of the appeals process,” it said.

Students unhappy with the outcome of their appeals can seek a review by independent appeals scrutineers, but the scrutineers cannot comment on the allocation of marks.

The department said it could not provide details of how many students had so far applied to the appeals process.

The deadline for submission of appeals is tomorrow and the department said data on the number of applications would not be released until after that.

Meanwhile, 66pc of students had accepted a CAO Round One offer by 7pm yesterday.

Irish Independent

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