Leaving Cert: State indemnity row rumbles on amid claim teachers could be liable for costs of legal action

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Efforts continuing to resolve the row over State indemnity for Leaving Cert grading process, as a union claims that teachers could be caught for up to one third of the costs of an action by a student.

he row has arisen over the strength of the legal protection for teachers in the event of a challenge against a grade.

Calculated grades will involved teachers marking their own students but there are concerns about dissatisfied students taking legal action.

The dispute arose after the publication of guidelines for teachers on how to estimate marks and class rankings for their students, but now the assessment process has been thrown into turmoil.

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Warning: Education Minister Joe McHugh says canvassing teachers for better grades ‘will not be tolerated’. PHOTO: LEON FARRELL/PHOTOCALL IRELAND

Warning: Education Minister Joe McHugh says canvassing teachers for better grades ‘will not be tolerated’. PHOTO: LEON FARRELL/PHOTOCALL IRELAND

Warning: Education Minister Joe McHugh says canvassing teachers for better grades ‘will not be tolerated’. PHOTO: LEON FARRELL/PHOTOCALL IRELAND

Warning: Education Minister Joe McHugh says canvassing teachers for better grades ‘will not be tolerated’. PHOTO: LEON FARRELL/PHOTOCALL IRELAND

The Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) has told members not to co-operate with the process until they get more assurances about State-backed indemnity.

ASTI general secretary Kieran Christie claimed under the proposal signed off by Government yesterday, teachers would be caught for up to one third of the costs of a case.

Calculated grades will involved teachers marking their own students and the indemnity is being put in place to cover situations where a student challenges a grade.

Mr Christie said two issues had arisen, one being the legal costs that had to be covered, and the other was who would determine the costs, about which they needed “assurances and clarification”.

In the event of a legal challenge, he said ASTI was concerned that teachers could be liable for costs such as stenographers and expert witnesses and he also said there was also a lack of clarity on who would determine and what would be included in the costs

He said under the proposed indemnity, teachers could be caught for up to one third of the costs , adding: “We can’t have teachers on the hook” .

Mr Christie said the ASTI was categorically committed to the grading process but they were assured of a 100pc indemnity and didn’t get one.

He said until the indemnity was “properly in place” the union was advising members not to undertake any work on the grading process.

He said that Education Minister Joe McHugh should have waited until today to publish the guidelines on the operation of calculated grades to allow for these issues to be sorted out.

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Source: Irish News