Up to one-in-five pupils continue with part-time work up to Leaving Cert

UP to one-in-five students may still be doing part-time work up to Leaving Certificate, a survey has suggested.

Despite a fall in numbers who have jobs from last year, one-in-four boys in fifth or sixth year in Leinster said they work part-time during the school term.

In Dublin, more than one-third of fifth-year boys were found to be working, and the average male with part-time work did 10 hours a week.

The findings emerged from the latest annual survey of more than 500 second-level students by Student Enrichment Services (SES), which helps students to develop better study methods.

“It is disconcerting to see the vast amount of time students spend on part-time jobs, in some cases longer than on their homework. In fact, some of those students are part-time workers as well as part-time students,” said SES director, Rory Mulvey.

Only one-in-six girls in sixth year worked during the year, doing an average of five hours per week.

However, the overall level of in-term work is down significantly on previous years. In 2006, for example, one-in-three fifth years had part-time jobs, although it is unclear if the drop is a sign of greater difficulty getting work or students being more dedicated to their education.

The economic climate may also be a factor in a significant fall in the use of private tuition outside school, with just 61% of those surveyed saying they received a regular grind in at least one subject, down from 70% in 2008.

These figures are likely to be higher than national trends, however, as the students surveyed were motivated enough to attend one of SES’s study skill seminars.

But despite the fall in use of grinds, maths remains the most common subject in which students need extra help. Just over half of students preparing to sit their Junior Certificate said they were getting grinds in at least one subject.

The findings also confirm previous research suggesting girls are better at study, as female students in sixth year were found to spend an average of nine hours a week on study, two hours more than their male counterparts. Boys in fifth and sixth year said they spent seven hours at sports activities each week, compared to just four-and-a-half hours for girls.

But while 91% of students believe continuous assessment would be a fairer way of evaluating their learning than final exams like the Leaving Certificate, almost the same number said they generally enjoy school.

* Further details on the findings can be found at www.studentenrichment.ie

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