CAO Applications – Fees and Dates

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Assessment Arrangements For Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate Examinations 2022

This updated document (August 2021) sets out the adjusted assessment arrangements for post-primary students taking certificate examinations in the 2021/22 school year. These arrangements are designed to take account of the disrupted learning experienced by students during the Covid-19 pandemic. The adjustments have been arrived at through discussions between the Department of Education (DE), the State Examinations Commission (SEC) and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and key stakeholders.

The full document covering all subjects can be accessed at – Assessment Arrangements for Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate 2022 (

The changes for maths, applied maths and physics and science are as shown below.

For senior cycle applied maths

There is no adjustment as the examination already includes a high degree of choice.

For senior cycle maths

For Physics

For Junior Cycle maths

For Junior Cycle Science

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Habits of Highly Successful Students

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Maths Week 2021

Maths Week 2021 starts this Saturday 16th October and runs until Sunday 24th October. 

There are lots of free events taking place, not just for schools and teachers, but also for families and adults. Take a look at some featured events below and head over to the Maths Week website for the full line up. 

Galway Maths Grinds is providing a short free online course on “Mental Maths and Rapid Calculations” which can be accessed via

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GMG Student Resource Bundle Now Available

I aim to help students be successful and reach their potential in their studies, particularly in Maths and Physics studies. Giving them expert guidance in their core topics is a given. But to help them achieve maximum success I have produced a number of documents covering skills that are useful in learning in general. These include:

  • Google Search for Students
  • Making the most of your Scientific Calculator
  • Making the most of the Formulae and Tables Booklet
  • Time Management for Students
  • Study Skills Diagnostic Inventory Tool

These can still be purchased individually but I have now also gathered them into a single downloadable PDF file to allow the bundle to be purchased at a discount to the cost of buying each individually. They can be got at Galway Maths Grinds – Payhip.

Considering the range of valuable knowledge and skills this could help you improve, it offers a pretty sweet return on an investment that costs about the same as two cups of coffee.

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Wishing the best of luck to all leaving cert students receiving their results today.

Best of luck to all the students receiving their Leaving Cert results today. You experienced a year like no other and worked incredibly hard regardless of the hurdles you faced. We wish you the very best of luck as you progress to the next stages of your lives. Go n-éirí leat!

We congratulate those students who secured the results they hoped for and commiserate with those that may be disappointed. On behalf of Galway Maths Grinds, we wish you well for the future.

The National Parents Council Post Primary Leaving Cert Helpline 1800 265 165, a free phone service provided to Leaving Cert students and their parents and guardians, opens today Friday September 3 at 11am.

The service offers professional and confidential one-to-one support, advice and guidance on Leaving Certificate results, Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA), Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP), CAO offers, further education and training (including apprenticeships, traineeships and Post-Leaving Certificate courses), opportunities for further study abroad, SUSI and grant application processes and the State Examinations Commission Candidate Self Service Portal.

The Helpline will be professionally staffed by members of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors (IGC), who will assist callers with up to date information on issues such as the appeals process, reviews and rechecks, CAO applications, non-CAO options and SUSI/grant applications.

The NPCPP Leaving Certificate Helpline 2021, 1800-265-165, will operate the following schedule.

Friday September 3 to Friday September 10, 2021

Friday 3, 11am-8pm

Saturday 4, 11am-8pm

Sunday 5, 11am-4pm

Tuesday 7, 11am-8pm

Wednesday 8, 11am-8pm

Thursday 9, 11am-4pm

Friday 10, 11am-4pm

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Label Things – save yourself some stress and expense

Less than a week to go until most students will be back at school. There are lots of things to do to prepare. Don’t forget to label your bits and pieces.

Whether they’re returning to nursery, primary, or secondary school your child will have plenty of clothing and equipment they’ll need to take with them for the day. Every year, towards the end of the school holidays, parents make a mad dash around the shops getting the last minute school essentials such as backpacks and highlighter pens.

All parents know that the chances of some of these items making it to the end of the school year is pretty slim, but that doesn’t stop your child nagging you to buy the latest style of bag or pencils with their favourite cartoon character on them. One solution to tackling missing clothing and equipment is to invest in name labels that can be attached before the start of term to avoid things going walkabout, and help to return them to you if they do.

In fact, a My Nametags study revealed that school jumpers, school books, and stationery are the top three most commonly lost items for children, making it all the more important to label your child’s belongings before term starts. And apparently it is the 13- to 17-year-old age group that is most likely to lose items.

With nearly everyone carrying a mobile phone these days its not surprising that phones are often mislaid. Again simply putting your name and a backup number on the cover will greatly enhance the chances of its safe return should yours be misplaced. Same goes for laptops, cameras, calculators, pencil cases, spectacles, hand tools, sports equipment and any other piece of equipment that is often carried around.

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What is the Difference Between a Teacher and a Tutor?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between teaching and tutoring? You may have not given it much thought but there are fundamental distinctions between a teacher and a tutor.

Teachers lead, Tutors ensure no one is left behind and breakdown barriers to education

It’s a teachers Job to deliver a whole syllabus within a set period of time. The teacher has two main aims.

  • to make the material as interesting as possible so the students will engage with it.
  • to try and enable as much of their class to grasp and understand as much of the material as possible.  

So, teachers must deliver the syllabus in a way that leads a group of students, trying their best to ensure as many students as possible will follow. Unfortunately, many students get lost and get left behind. Even with the most skilled teachers, the pressure of having to deliver a whole syllabus within a time-frame means that the delivery must be given in a way that captures the most students, which often means the average ability. But since not all students can learn in the same way, a barrier to education can be created. Even the extra bright students can be held back from realising their full potential if the class does not tackle more advanced material.

Tutors, on the other hand, focus more on ensuring an individual student understands what they are learning. The tutor can manipulate the learning to reach the student in a way that they can understand. It is the skill of the tutor to remove the barriers to learning and alter the pace of the learning to the student’s understanding.  Very skilled tutors can support a student to learn to manipulate the information themselves, supporting them to gain a different way of learning that enables them to both understand how they learn best, how to engage in mainstream teaching styles at the same time and how to translate some of the information themselves outside of the classroom.

Teachers deliver to groups, Tutors work 1:1

I think this is the main difference between teachers and tutors and one area that should really be firmly in the minds of all educators and parents alike.

Teachers are taught how to teach in small groups and to whole classrooms. They usually start with small groups and then teach larger classes. They are not generally taught how to work with students on a 1:1 basis.  Working with students on a 1:1 basis is completely different to working with a group.

In a lot of fields that specialise in working with people – specifically children, such as psychology, counselling and social work. Practitioners are taught to work with groups and or in a  1:1 way. As these professions know that working with groups involves inclusivity and the group working together, whereas working on a 1:1 basis becomes an emotional relationship.   The classroom has multiple personalities and characters. These combine, and the group has its own identity and group dynamics. Working 1:1 reduces this dynamic to a single individual student and individual tutor. So, attachment styles, capacity for openness and connection is now a part of the educational relationship, it’s very different to a classroom.

Some tutors and teachers are more suited and comfortable with the 1:1 relationship. Whereas others are more suited and comfortable working with groups.

Children can hide in a classroom and some may feel exposed during tuition

In a classroom, children have the ability to merge into the background if they are struggling. They can do this by not asking for help or not engaging and staying as quiet as they can. It is more difficult to support children who are hiding, as the difficulty only comes to light during tests and some homework. Some children who are struggling also can go the other way in the classroom. They can act the class clown or misbehave as a way of hiding their school-related difficulties. Some prefer getting into trouble to admitting they find their schoolwork hard, and the associated negative feelings that go along with that.

But, during tuition, students cannot hide and it becomes very difficult for them to act the class clown. They are forced to expose their school difficulties. Many will benefit greatly by working with these difficulties in their learning. However, some will struggle with this exposure, and the feelings of self-worth behind the hiding or acting out.

Teachers work with engagement, tutors work with connection

In a classroom, teachers need to engage the student and help them have an interest. But, the dynamics of a 1:1 relationship require the tutor to connect with the Student. Where the tutor fails to connect with students, with empathy and understanding of their educational ability, the relationship will feel uncomfortable or intense.  The students will not be able to learn as well as they could.

Teachers have to manage behaviour, tutors have to manage emotions

In the classroom, children can use their behaviour to dilute their learning to a way that is manageable to them. Either hiding or acting out in the classroom. But, during 1:1 children cannot hide or distract from their learning, so the tutor will soon meet the emotional world of the child, normally their negative self-esteem that lies under the behaviour they use in the classroom.  Tutors need to know what they are doing and be skilled to manage these emotions.

Teaching has a time delay, tutoring has immediacy and moment to moment feedback

When working with a group of students, we can understand this as teaching, there is a moment to moment feedback time delay. The student is part of a group and the teaching is delivered to the group. So an individual student rarely has direct one-to-one learning, and experiences a lot of the feedback with a time delay. The teacher also has a time delay on seeing the progress, achievements or difficulties a child may have. Normally having to wait for homework to be returned, or the results of tests.

In contrast, tutoring on a one-to-one basis has an immediacy and constant moment to moment feedback throughout the session. If tutoring is performed properly and the tutor can manage the immediacy and mediate the feedback to guard any negative feelings, the student will benefit tremendously and learn at a rapid rate

To summarise:


  • Teachers provide tuition to a large number of students, they are required to follow a standardized curriculum focused on specific academic standards. Their classroom should reach targets and this is done within a time limit.
  • A teacher must try and devise a method of teaching that fits most students.
  • Teachers will have to provide learning material that helps children with many different learning styles.
  • Teachers will adjust the pace to the classroom as a whole, if the majority of students have understood the information the teacher can move ahead.


  • Tutors provide individual one to one tuition. They can tailor the lessons to the individual students’ learning style.
  • Tutors can present information in several different ways or methods to help the student grasp concepts.
  • Students often lead the way with tutors, they request help with specific tasks or assignments. Tutors help fill in the gaps.
  • Tutors reinforce what has been taught in the classroom.
  • Teachers teach a subject but tutors pay attention to the students individual needs.
  • Tutors can help students with study skills and techniques. If one method does not work they will find another.

The work of teachers and tutors can be complimentary.

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Leaving Cert Results to be published on September 3rd

Leaving Certificate exam results will be published on September 3rd, instead of the usual date in August in more normal times. Students need not be overly concerned by the delay as the CAO and universities have all agreed to accommodate the later timeline. First round of offers is expected to be made the following week.

The delay in this year’s Leaving Cert results will mean third level institutions will have to defer the arrival of first year students to the third week in September. Universities will have to reserve a proportion of on campus accommodation for first year students, as they had done last year.

Discussions have also been held with UCAS (the UK equivalent of the CAO) to change their deadline.

Students who sit the exams and opted to receive the accredited grades will be credited with the better of the two results.

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Last Date for any additional Assessments for Leaving Cert Grades

For the Leaving Certs of 2021, we are nearly there. Friday of this coming week will be the last chance to get any in school assessments that might influence the final outcome. So if the school is giving any tests in this week up to May 14th, pull out all the stops to do as well as you can.

After that it is down to the teacers, schools and deprtment of education to work out student grades.

Those who have registered to sit final written exams in June will have a second chance, being able to take the best grade for each subject from the school assessments and the final written exam.

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