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'I can finally put it all behind me' - student who won exam battle


Rebecca Carter said she’s never even celebrated her results

Rebecca Carter said she’s never even celebrated her results

Rebecca Carter said she’s never even celebrated her results

Rebecca Carter is looking forward to beginning student life at UCD after a High Court battle to enable her to take up her veterinary medicine place.

The teenager has wanted to be a vet for as long as she can remember, but an exam points blunder put her place on the course in jeopardy this year.

All going well, she will today be finally allocated her place, allowing her to start on Monday, three weeks into the course.

"It's OK, it's better than waiting a year," she told the Herald yesterday.

From Castlebridge, in Co Wexford, Rebecca had discovered that her Leaving Cert marks had been wrongly totted up by an examiner.

She brought High Court proceedings against the State Examination Commission (SEC) over its decision not to recheck her results before mid-October - effectively costing her a place in UCD, which decides its student allocation at the end of September.


A thumbs-up from one of the barristers in her case on Wednesday was the signal she had hoped for, that the case had gone her way.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys said he would direct the SEC to carry out the necessary corrections to her exam paper and notify UCD of the results two hours later.

"I am just so happy now that I can finally put everything behind me and hopefully start on Monday morning," said Ms Carter (19).

"The last year has been extremely tough, especially the last few weeks. I have never celebrated my results."

It's expected that at some point today her place will formally be offered to her on the veterinary medicine course, and UCD students' union, which has commended her "bravery and determination", plans to welcome her next week.

"We have a little family party organised for Saturday, if all goes well," she said.

Ms Carter, who will be 20 in November, said she was delighted that the outcome of her case could potentially help others.

"With all this media, they can now see there are flaws that need to be fixed, because students put so much time and effort in the last two years of secondary school, and then when you don't get your chosen course or the points that you need, it is extremely disappointing," she said.

She never thought the case would have to go all the way to the High Court.

"We thought it was a simple adding-up error, that could be corrected in the space of minutes."

She said it was a difficult decision to go to the High Court.

"It was solely down to my parents. They said: 'Look, the barristers are really confident in this case. They really feel we have a strong case. So we are going to take the risk'," she said.

"I am extremely grateful that my parents were so supportive throughout everything.

"They backed me from start to finish."


Meanwhile, in response to the High Court ruling, the SEC has convened a meeting of the board this afternoon to consider the implications and the ramifications of the judgment.

It said it had received 9,092 individual subject appeals from 5,200 candidates this year and is "committed to issuing the outcomes of these appeals by the deadline of Wednesday, 10th October. Changes in grades are automatically notified to the CAO at that time.

"The processing of the 2018 appeals system is now in its closing stages. The system involves significant levels of quality assurance to ensure that any errors in the original marking are corrected and that candidates receive the grade that their work merits," it said.

A Department of Education spokesperson told the Herald that it has asked the board of the SEC to report on foot of its recommendations.