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Second home-schooled pupil 'unlikely' to have Leaving Cert results case heard in court this month

The student has made an application to the court to receive ‘calculated grades’.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

A HIGH COURT challenge brought by a home-schooled Leaving Cert student over the Minister for Education’s refusal to consider her application for calculated grades is unlikely to be heard this month.

The action, the second of its type, has been brought by a 17-year-old student, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, who was home schooled by her parents and private tutors.

The candidate was informed by the Minister that it was not possible to provide her with a calculated grade in any of the six subjects she has studied because of the absence of satisfactory or credible evidence on which to base a grade estimate.

Suing through her mother, the student on Monday got permission from the High Court to have the Minister’s decision not to give her a calculated grade judicially reviewed.

The matter was briefly mentioned before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Tuesday, who said that it would not be possible to assign a judge to hear the case in September as the court’s list was full.

Had the challenge been brought in June or July the action could have been heard during the August vacation, he said.

The judge, after making directions for the exchange of documents, adjourned the case to a date later this month.

The judge, who is charge of the High Court judicial review/non-jury list said that if any case dropped out of the September list, and a slot became available, the court would try and get the girl’s action on for hearing.

Her action comes after the High Court last month ruled in favour of 18-year-old Co Mayo student Elijah Burke, who was home schooled by his mother. He also sued over the Minister’s refusal to grant him a calculated grade.

In his judgement, the same judge directed the Minister, who had opposed the action, to put steps in place to allow the teenager to be assessed for a calculated grade.

Benefit from judgement

Counsel for the unnamed student said his client had hoped to benefit from the outcome of the Burke judgement.

He said there is a significant difference between the current action and Elijah Burke’s case.

In this case the girl’s tutors are not a qualified teacher, whereas Elijah Burke was taught by his mother Martina Burke, who is a qualified teacher.

Counsel said that the applicant in this case had been educated at home mainly by her mother, with the assistance of the girl’s father and private tutors, who are not registered teachers.

Counsel said while the student was seeking an expedited hearing, it was accepted that the case would not be heard before the Leaving Cert results are issued early next week.

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The court heard that the teen expects to gain a place at a third-level college. Arising out of the cancellation of the exams she applied to the Deptartment of Education for a calculated grade.

She claims there is a significant body of work done by her that could be assessed by independent teachers who could determine whether she could be awarded a calculated grade in each of her subjects.

In her action the teen seeks orders compelling the Minister to consider and determine within a reasonable time her application for calculated grades.

She also seeks an order quashing the Minister’s refusal of 11 August last to grant her a calculated grade.

She further seeks a declaration that the refusal to provide the teenager with a calculated grade as she was home schooled is irrational, arbitrary, unfair and contrary to natural justice.

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Aodhan O Faolain

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