If you have concerns about a decision by the State Examination Commission

If you have concerns about a decision by the State Examination Commission

At this time of year, we are aware that pupils and parents are being informed about decisions made by the State Examinations Commission (SEC) regarding their applications for Reasonable Accommodations for pupils who intend sitting Junior Cert or Leaving Cert exams in 2017.

It may be the case that the SEC advise parents that if they are unhappy with the decision they can bring a complaint to the OCO.

We may be able to help. However, before making a complaint, it is important parents and schools contacting us know that:

  • The OCO is not the automatic appeals mechanism for Reasonable Accommodations decisions
  • We are independent from SEC and we are not responsible for the decisions that the SEC make
  • We may be able to look at administrative issues around the decision, such as correct procedure and clear communication, but we cannot always seek to have the decision overturned
  •  In any potential examination of a complaint we cannot make a binding decision on the SEC or a school, but if possible, we will look to see if their actions are fair and make recommendations accordingly
  • Our independence and impartiality means we cannot act as advocates in particular cases

If you are unhappy with a decision made by SEC

1.        Seek the full reason for the decision as soon as possible. You should contact the RACE section, State Examinations Commission, to seek as much information as possible. Contact details for RACE section are set out below. This will allow you to be better informed if you then decide to submit a complaint to the OCO.

2.        If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of the SEC’s decision, access the independent appeals forum at https://www.examinations.ie/index.php?l=en&mc=ca&sc=ra.

3.        If you are unhappy with the quality of the service received in the handling of the RACE application, then you also have the option of contacting Customer Services at the SEC.

4.        If you still believe that the administration of the scheme is unfair, you can contact the OCO.

For further details on the Reasonable Accommodation scheme including the SEC Appeal Forum please follow this link: https://www.examinations.ie/index.php?l=en&mc=ca&sc=ra

We have received many complaints in recent years regarding Reasonable Accommodation decisions. When administrative actions or decisions are complained of, we examine these and actively engage with the SEC. Throughout our engagement we have encouraged the SEC to provide greater rationale to pupils and parents regarding decisions, so that all can have a greater understanding of why a particular accommodation may have been refused. In some cases our engagement can lead to positive outcomes for pupils in relation to the provision of accommodations.

In June 2016, we published a report highlighting the issues of communication, fairness and oversight of the scheme which we became aware of through complaints. THE SEC has since reviewed the scheme. You can read out report in full here.

Contact details for the State Examinations Commission:

Reasonable Accommodations:  

Postal Address: State Examinations Commission, Cornamaddy, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

Email: sec.specialneeds@examinations.ie

Phone: 090-644 2781, 090-644 2783

Fax: 090-644 2744

If you require further information on any of the above, or details on how to submit a complaint to our Office, please do not hesitate to contact one of our caseworkers at Freephone: 1800 20 20 40