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‘Upset’ Enniskeane woman withdraws Leaving Cert case against the State

October 4th, 2020 7:10 AM

By Southern Star Team

Ms Woods said she felt ‘extremely let down’ by how she was treated, and ‘disenchanted by the entire system.’

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AN ENNISKEANE woman has withdrawn her High Court challenge over the manner in which Leaving Cert grades were standardised this year after getting a place on her course of choice.

Martha Woods, Millbrook House,  Murragh, Enniskeane, had initiated the challenge claiming the way this year’s grades were standardised had affected her plan to study dentistry.

The points for the course went up from 590 to 613 this year. And after the final places were allocated by random selection, Ms Woods initially failed to get a place.

She had brought the judicial review proceedings against the Minister for Education, State Examinations Commission, the State, CAO and UCC.

Her barrister said that the 2019 grades were assessed against a completely different system this year which resulted in a 4.4% grade inflation. Ms Woods was placed ‘in the same basket’ as other applicants who have the benefit of this grade inflation.

He said that breaches her entitlement to equality and creates an injustice and imbalance which the Department of Education, the CAO and UCC have taken no steps to address, he said.

They are applying a ‘one size fits all’ approach, he said, despite some applicants having come through different processes.

Ms Woods said in an affidavit that she had got a place in physiotherapy in UL last year but, soon after she started the course, realised decided not to pursue it.

She decided to reapply for a place in dentistry in UCC in the 2020/2021 academic year and expected to get one on the basis 590 points was the requirement and she had 613 points.

Over the years the points for that course had varied between 580 and 590.

In her 2020 CAO application, she identified dentistry and pharmacy in UCC as her first and second preferences.

But she said she would have identified dental science in TCD if she felt there was any risk grades and points wouldn’t be standardised.

Ms Woods said she felt ‘extremely let down’ by how she was treated, was ‘disenchanted by the entire system.’

She said she had suffered ‘significant stress and anxiety and upset’.

When her action came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan last week, he accepted it was a ‘very important’ matter.

But he adjourned it for a week after expressing concern about the courts’ ability to accommodate early hearings of a multiplicity of cases concerning the 2020 Leaving Cert grading process.

When the case returned before the judge on Wednesday, he was told Ms Woods has obtained a place on the UCC dentistry course.

As a result of this, she was withdrawing her case.

Mr Justice Meenan said he was pleased with the outcome and wished Ms Woods every success at university and in her career.

Separately, the judge has said he will treat another case initiated earlier this month as the lead case addressing issues with the 2020 Leaving Cert process .

He hoped to give that an early hearing date.

That case is by a student in Dublin, who missed out on a place in medicine at Trinity College Dublin by two points after three of her calculated grades were reduced.

The judge expected the outcome of the case would decide some or all of the issues raised in other cases. He added parties in other cases may seek to be joined to the lead case.

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