The Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU) has said that it’s shocked and disappointed by yesterday evening’s announcement (Thursday) that the ASTI have withdrawn from talks on the 2021 Leaving Cert.

ISSU have said that “this is a time when students need cooperation between all stakeholders. Students have been through a horrendous year and now may face an uphill battle in the months ahead – we need to show them compassion, we need to provide clarity, and the ISSU position remains that students deserve a choice”.

Choice, Clarity, Compassion

ASTI’s statement has caused stress, anxiety and worry to skyrocket amongst students. It is adding fear into an already high pressure situation, and the delivery of clarity for students has been further pushed out due to this breakdown in talks, ISSU said.

“Over the past number of weeks, ISSU has repeatedly asked to meet with the ASTI, among other stakeholders, to meet bilaterally. As of this statement, the ASTI has still not accepted this invitation. We will continue to seek a meeting with the ASTI following this announcement and wish to continue to engage with the process in order to deliver for students, teachers and all in the school community. ISSU continues to bring pragmatic solutions to the table that seek to address the concerns of the ASTI – as a stakeholder they have an equal responsibility to work together with the other stakeholders to find a solution.”

As the representative voice for students, ISSU said that they wish to stress “that it is students that will be most affected by the decisions being made by the Department and its Advisory Group members”.

“We need to do right by them, and show empathy. ISSU is committed to representing the student voice in these extraordinary times and will deliver for the class of 2021.”