Supreme Court Victory For Irish Homeschoolers Defending Parents Role as Primary Educators
This week marked a great victory for homeschooling families. The Minister of Education failed in their Supreme Court appeal against two students who in 2020 were unfairly dismissed from the calculated grades process in the 2020 leaving cert.
One student from was homeschooled by his mother who is a registered teacher. The other student was taught by her mother, father and some private tutors. After initially being denied being offered calculated grades, which was the only option allowed at the time, the High court granted the allowance of grades for the students.
However, the Government appealed this decision to the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.
The Supreme Court, on Monday, ruled that in refusing the exclusion of the two homeschooled students from the calculated grades process this was an impermissible interference with the constitutional freedom of the family to provide education in the home.
The judgement held that the Calculated Grades Scheme was clearly an exercise of the executive power of the State. The court held there was “an undoubted interference” in the constitutional rights of the students and the justification offered by the department was insufficient.
This ruling gives clarity to whether there is a derived right protected by Article 40 of the Constitution for home-schooled students to have their situation taken account of when educational policies are being implemented by the State.
The parents are the primary educators according to the Irish constitution, not the state.