Secondary teachers’ union directs members not to engage in predictive grades process

Secondary teachers union ASTI has said the Minister for Education acted prematurely in issuing the guidelines for teachers in assessing predicted grades for this years Leaving Certificate.
On Thursday, the union directed its members not to engage in the predictive grades process, saying plans to indemnify teachers against legal action were not strong enough and could potentially lead to personal liabilities for second level teachers.
Following the Government decision earlier this month to cancel the summer Leaving Cert exams, more than 60,000 students are set to receive calculated grades for the first time based on teachers estimates.
Under this approach, teachers will be asked to provide an estimated percentage mark for each student for each subject. Students will also be placed in a rank for their class.
ASTI general secretary Kieran Christie told RTÉ radios Morning Ireland the Minister should not have put out the details as there were issues that had not been completely resolved.
The Ministers premature announcement was unfortunate, Mr Christie said, adding he feared there was an attitude that making the announcement early would force teachers to put up or shut up.
Under department guidelines, the State indemnity will be provided to teachers if they end up being sued as an individual teacher in relation to a students grades.
This indemnity – signed off by the Cabinet on Thursday – will only be invoked where a teacher has made every reasonable effort to apply a grade in line with the departments official guidelines for schools which was published on Thursday evening.
Full details of the legal costs to be covered by the indemnity waiver needed to be clarified, Mr Christie said.
The document as it is lacks specificity and teachers could be caught for one third of (legal) costs.
Also speaking on Friday morning, president of the ASTI Deirdre McDonald told Newstalk that they had flagged their concerns about legal waivers for teachers two weeks ago.
We want this sorted. We made it very clear to the department (of Education) and the Attorney General. They knew of our concerns. It can be solved.
Ms McDonald said teachers want an indemnity so they are covered 100 per cent for any legal problems.
We are eager for this to proceed to allow children get on with their lives.
The department had two weeks to resolve this, they knew of our concerns.
Spokesman for the National Parents Council Post PrimaryPaul Rolston called on ASTI to resolve the issue of legal indemnity in Leaving Cert grading.
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast Mr Rolston said: just do it please.
Our concern is the roller coaster that students have been on. All sides should come back to the table to resolve this.
Meanwhile, the latest figures from the National Public Health Emergency Team show another 12 people with Covid-19 have died in the State, bringing the total to 1,583 while another 76 cases were confirmed.