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Home-based student seeks court help to get grades calculated

   

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A home-schooled Leaving Cert student is seeking leave to bring a High Court case aimed at requiring the Department of Education to urgently consider his application for calculated grades.

Elijah Burke (18) claims the exclusion of home-school students from the calculated grades process breaches his rights under the Constitution and the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, and is arbitrary, unfair, discriminatory and unreasonable.

Unless the court intervenes, he says he cannot progress to third-level education for another year.

Elijah, from Cloonsunna, Castlebar, Co Mayo, is one of 10 siblings who have all been educated at home by their mother, a registered teacher who has also worked as an examiner for the State Examinations Commission.

It is claimed Ms Burke had contacted the Education Minister's office directly, and the Calculated Grades Executive Office, several times seeking to have him considered for a calculated grade and "clarity" for home-schooled students but no firm reply had been received.

Evidence

Elijah said he has studied diligently for the Leaving Cert, has followed the curriculum and is registered to sit exams in nine higher level subjects. He sat his mock exams at home and with a significant body of course work as part of his studies, including essays and test papers, he has the same "credible evidence" available to him as any other student in school, it is claimed.

He hopes to attend NUI Galway to study biomedical science or history with music. The points for those courses were 533 and 318 respectively in 2019 and he expected to get well above that based on his past performance in mock exams, he said.

He has completed all grades in classical piano, is studying for an associate diploma in piano teaching and has had much success in music competitions, including winning the Royal Irish Academy Composing Competition three times.

He and his brother Simeon also won the Mayo Association Dublin debating competition in 2017.

Eight of his siblings have averaged points in the Leaving Cert of 520.

Irish Independent