West Limerick Leaving Cert students celebrate bumper year for maths

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

LEAVING Certificate students can be a superstitious bunch, but thankfully for most of them the storm which trundled through Limerick on Wednesday morning didn’t prove to be a bad omen.

LEAVING Certificate students can be a superstitious bunch, but thankfully for most of them the storm which trundled through Limerick on Wednesday morning didn’t prove to be a bad omen.

In schools in West Limerick and across the city and county the 2,458 students who sat their Leaving Cert exams this year finally finished the summer-long waiting game to find out how well they had done.

At the Desmond College in Newcastle West, there was more jubilation than disappointment in the air, as the majority of the 55 students who were collecting their results this Wednesday achieved what they had hoped.

Vourneen Gavin-Barry, principal of the Desmond College, said that those students who took higher level maths were particularly happy with their results.

“They were very relieved. The mood inside was definitely better than the weather outside! The students were very happy, particularly with their maths. That was the one that they were worried about the most, but all our students who did higher level maths passed, and most of them got honours.”

For the 1,177 girls and 1,281 boys who sat the exams in Limerick this year, attention will now turn to next Monday when the CAO issues the first round of offers for college and university places.

With the economy still in the doldrums, competition for places is expected to be fiercer than ever, with a knock-on increase in points requirements likely.

Ms Gavin-Barry said that having overcome one hurdle, many students are now facing an anxious wait.

“Based on last year, we’re pretty much expecting everything will go up. There were a few who were a bit disappointed, but most of our students got what they were looking for. Monday tells all though. We tell them that this is the big day, but then there’s another big day right around the corner.”

This year’s results showed an improvement across the country in the numbers of students who sat and passed higher level courses in maths and science, a development which has been welcomed across the board.

Minister of State Sean Sherlock said that initiatives to award bonus points for people sitting higher level maths had seen participation numbers increase 35% year-on-year.

In a bid to increase the number of students taking maths and science at the leaving cert, the Department of Education has implemented a literacy and numeracy strategy. The programme includes measures to prioritise the development of second-level maths teachers, and also allocating a greater amount of time to teaching maths at secondary level.