Teacher challenges disciplinary process over seeking to upgrade son in Leaving Cert

ireland
Teacher Challenges Disciplinary Process Over Seeking To Upgrade Son In Leaving Cert Teacher Challenges Disciplinary Process Over Seeking To Upgrade Son In Leaving Cert
The secondary school says she made repeated and unwarranted representations to various bodies and teachers seeking to allow her son change his choice in breach of conflict of interest requirements
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Sonya McLean

A teacher claims a disciplinary process was unfairly raised against her because she wanted two students in her school, including her son, to be allowed to upgrade their choice in Irish from ordinary to higher level under the Leaving Cert accredited grades system.

The secondary school says she made repeated and unwarranted representations to various bodies and teachers seeking to allow her son change his choice in breach of conflict of interest requirements and despite being forbidden to do so by the principal.

The teacher, who cannot be named, has brought High Court proceedings claiming, among other things, the disciplinary process is flawed and biased.

Anonymity was sought on behalf of the teacher under a legal provision where there can be no identification because a relevant person has a medical condition which would be likely to cause undue stress.

Injunction

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On Tuesday, Oisin Quinn SC, for the teacher, asked Mr Justice Conor Dignam to continue an injunction restraining the school board of management from taking any further steps in the disciplinary process pending determination of her full case.

Counsel said the dispute arose out of the introduction in 2020 of the accredited grades system under the pandemic. In January 2020, her son and another student opted to do ordinary level Irish when they sat the Leaving Cert. Her son did his mock exam in ordinary level Irish.

It was announced by the Department of Education and Science in May 2020 that the Leaving Cert exams would not go ahead and be replaced with the accredited system in which teachers in a school grade students according to certain criteria.

Accredited system

The court heard the teacher wanted both her son and the other student to be allowed to opt for higher level Irish because, had they sat the exams, they would have had that option on the day of the exam.

However, as they had opted for ordinary level when applying to sit the exam to the State Examinations Commission the previous January, this was not possible under the accredited system.

The court heard there was also a dispute over how much of the higher level Irish curriculum both students had done.

The teacher says that out of the blue in May 2021, the principal sent a report to the board of management initiating "Stage 4" disciplinary proceedings - the highest level alleging gross misconduct and possible dismissal.

She claims, among other things, the principal was both the complainant and the investigator whereas he should have just done a fact gathering exercise and presented both sides to the board.

The school denies her claims.

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It says that despite being warned not to do so by the principal, she used her role as a teacher to make representations to the Department of Education and to the State Examinations Commission as well as putting pressure on colleagues and others in the school in her efforts to have her son moved to higher level Irish.

This, it is claimed, breaches the Teaching Council code in relation to conflict of interest in the profession.

The case continues.

 

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