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Reasonable Accommodations

empty exam hall with chairs and desks

The issue we were campaigning on regarding the need for greater Reasonable Accommodations for students with epilepsy sitting the Leaving Certificate has now been resolved. However, on this page you can find a brief overview of the issue and our work on this issue.


Due to the nature of epilepsy, over the decades, many students with epilepsy experienced seizures either during their exam or over the course of the exam period which meant they were unable to complete their exams to the best of their ability or had to miss one or more exams. This meant that students who were unable to complete their exam(s), had no other option but to repeat their exams the following year, and hope that a seizure did not strike again at the most inopportune of moments.

What was our concern?

We believed that this situation was inherently unfair on students with epilepsy. At one of the most stressful periods of their lives (stress itself can be a seizure trigger for many), young people with epilepsy had the additional stress of worrying about what would happen to them if they had a seizure during their exam. For those affected historically, they either had to continue with their exam post-seizure, typically meaning their results were hampered or they were unable to compete their exam and wait a year to sit the exam again; while watching many of their peers go on to further education – a hugely emotional and mental toll for any young person.

What we wanted?

While a range of reasonable accommodations for students have been available for many years, none of those appropriately dealt with the situation described above. For years, we advocated that students affected by medical emergencies during their exams (such as seizures) should be able to have access to a deferred sitting of the Leaving Cert. We also believed that if students knew that such a sitting was in place, it would significantly reduce the stress and pressure on students with epilepsy facing the Leaving Cert, potentially reducing the likelihood of a seizure to strike during their exams. It would also enable students with epilepsy to demonstrate their true ability at a time they were not impacted by the effects of a seizure.

What did Epilepsy Ireland do?

Throughout the years, we continually raised the issue of improved accommodations for students with epilepsy. However, the response was that no provision could be made by the State Exams Commission in order to protect the integrity of state exams. However, changes in 2019 providing deferred sittings for students who were affected by a bereavement during their exams gave renewed hope that epilepsy and medical conditions generally could be afforded the same provision.

In the following years, through sustained communication about this issue and by advocating to members of the Oireachtas and relevant policy makers, we kept this issue on the public agenda. We also used the media, social media, and direct personal stories of the impact of this issue to continue to keep our campaign live.

This led to deferred exams for medical emergencies that happen before exams being introduced in 2022, with seizures specifically included in the scheme criteria. However, due to concerns from the State Exams Commission about protecting the integrity of the Leaving Cert exams, the eligibility criteria for this did not make provision for students who had seizures during their exams to apply for a deferred sitting.

In one final push to get this addressed, we met with the Minister for Education and the State Exams Commission in 2023 and in updated criteria for the deferred sitting of exams for 2023, this issue was finally resolved with provision made in the criteria for students who experience seizures during their exams as well as beforehand.


With the announcement of the updated criteria in May 2023, this effectively addressed our key concerns with this longstanding issue. The students with epilepsy who are sitting their exams in 2023,  who may unfortunately experience a seizure during an exam which renders them unable to complete the exam, will be first in the history of the state that will be able to apply for access to a deferred sitting as a result of the seizure.

Achieving this result would not have been possible without the support of our members and volunteers, who shared their stories of the impact of this issue and raised this matter with their local TDs and Senators at every opportunity. A huge thank you to everyone involved in helping us secure this significant change for young people with epilepsy.

News Updates on this Issue

The below are some of the updates on this matter as it progressed and associated articles in the news section of our website and some associated press coverage where you can read more.