Nearly 60,250 students will today receive their Junior Certificate results at schools, colleges and other centres.
The grades have been compiled by the State Examinations Commission (SEC) over the summer as examiners marked papers involving 26 subjects.
With results that are largely in line with those of past years, more than 600,000 individual grades are being issued to the 29,672 female and 30,575 male Junior Certificate candidates.
More than one third achieved at least one A in a higher level subject or in civic, social and political education (CSPE) which is examined at just one standard or common level.
The 22,589 who did so is up from 21,743 with a similar achievement a year ago, and the 2,906 with at least six As is an increase of 146 since 2015.
For six top students this morning, there are 12 higher-level or common-level As, meaning extra cause for celebration for them, their families, and their teachers.
While overall student numbers are up on last year, fewer back-to-education candidates took the Junior Certificate exams in June, less than two thirds of those taking the exam in 2010.
SEC data shows 722 people getting results today are re-entrants to education, having taken exams through education schemes such as the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) and Back to Education Initiative.
But while Junior Certificate student numbers taking their exams at second-level schools have risen by 1.3% over last year, the back-to-education numbers are down by 1.2%.
They dropped from 756 last year and by more than 150 in just two years. In 2010, 1,135 re-entrants to education received Junior Certificate results and the numbers have fallen in each subsequent year.
For those who do not receive their results from a school today, students can access their grades online on the SEC website, www.examinations.ie, from 4pm.
Teachers’ Union of Ireland president Joanne Irwin said mature students who returned to education to take the exams deserve special congratulations.
“Students should be proud of reaching this milestone, and teachers also deserve credit for delivering a quality education service in an era when key programmes and supports have been cut,” she said.
She said it is critical that students continue their education and alternative options such as Leaving Certificate Applied and the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme continue to be promoted, and enhanced where possible.
Ms Irwin said students thinking about which senior cycle subjects to choose should consider areas that engage their interest most, but it is regrettable that guidance counselling provision has been stripped back considerably since 2012.
The removal of a ringfenced level of guidance for all schools means many counsellors are spending more time teaching curricular subjects and that students have less access to them for advice on subjects and careers.
“The service must be fully restored as a matter of urgency to enable all students to make as informed a choice as possible,” said Ms Irwin.
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