The Department of Education has now reversed a plan to hold Paper 1 in Leaving Cert English and Irish at the end of fifth year. The change had been due to come into effect from next year. Teacher unions, the Second Level Students Union, the subject associations for Irish and English and the State Examinations Commission had all opposed the proposed change.
The decision to bring forward the Paper 1 exams took the education world by surprise when it was announced by Minister Norma Foley in 2022. The change had not been included in an advisory report into Leaving Certificate reform published at the time. The unions argued that students needed the two years for their skills to develop and that an exam at the end of fifth year would curtail extracurricular aspects of their student life.