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Student with dyslexia takes High Court action to get Leaving Cert assistance

The 18-year-old student from Cork has been refused access to a reader for next month’s State exams.

14682042589_594b7c28db_h Source: Borshop

ANOTHER LEAVING CERT student with dyslexia has launched High Court proceedings aimed at securing a reader that will allow him understand papers in next month’s examinations.

The action by the 18-year-old male student from Co Cork is against an Independent Appeals Committee of the State Examinations Commission.

The three-person committee, which is under the aegis of the Department of Education, turned down his application for a reader, an adult exam supervisor to read exam questions in a way a student with dyslexia can understand, while he sits his exams.

No reasons were given for the refusal by the committee.

The teen, who hopes to go on to third level education, seeks orders quashing the refusal as well as a declaration from the court he is entitled to be furnished with the reasons for the refusal.

In order to qualify for a reader the teen needed to satisfy certain criteria, including obtaining certain test scores in word reading on sample papers. After undergoing the tests he obtained a score just above the threshold for eligibility for a reader.

The matter came before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys at a vacation sitting of the High Court on Monday who granted the teen permission, on an ex-parte basis, to bring his challenge. The Judge made the matter returnable to a date later this month.

The teenager’s counsel Michael Lynn SC, appearing with Brendan Hennessy Bl and represented by Chris Ryan Solicitors, said the main reason the challenge was being brought was because the committee had given no reason for its decision.

Another ground is the teen has been prejudiced by the decision, which amounts to a breach of fair procedure and the teens right’s to natural and constitutional justice.

The action is one of a number that have come before the court in recent weeks. In a judgment last month on a similar but separate challenge by another student with dyslexia, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan overturned the refusal of a reader on grounds including the Committee’s failure to specify reasons for that refusal.

Two other actions are pending before the High Court.

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