The High Court has heard the director of the calculated grades office has made a sworn statement rejecting claims that a document circulated by her contained "scathing criticisms" of the exclusion of historical school data from a calculated grades model for the Leaving Cert.

Lawyers for the State referred to an affidavit by Andrea Feeney, which is one of a number provided by public servants as part of the State's defence to a legal challenge to the calculated grades process.

The full hearing of the case will begin on 8 December.

In pre-trial submissions, Senior Counsel Eileen Barrington said Ms Feeney said a reference to some students being "thrown under the bus" if historical school data was excluded was a note outlining possible criticisms of the exclusion of such data and not an expression of her own view.

The confidential document was circulated on 18 August following a controversy over grade standardisation models in the UK which had included historical school data.  

Ms Feeney had been asked to provide background information on calculated grades systems in other jurisdictions.

She said the document was intended for her colleagues to draw upon and reflected her notes from a "brain-storming" session.

Entitled 'Update; National Standardisation; Calculated Grades', the 11-page document examined UK statistical models and how those differed from a draft calculated grades model here. 

On 1 September, the Cabinet approved a 21 August decision by the Minister for Education that historical school data should be excluded from the calculated grades process.

Mr Justice Charles Meenan said the case must be heard as soon as possible as up to 20 other cases may be affected by the outcome.

The judge said he was also conscious students may be physically sitting the 2021 Leaving Cert in about six months, with oral exams scheduled for Easter and, if that was not possible due to public health considerations, calculated grades might again be required.

He considered the core issue in Freddie Sherry's case is whether the Government decision to exclude historical school data from the calculated grades process was unlawful or not and said the sides should focus on that.

In his action, Mr Sherry, from Newtown, Celbridge, Co Kildare, says he was "hugely disappointed" the CAO points total of 542 for him estimated by his teachers was reduced to 487 under the grade standardisation and he lost out on his first choice to study pharmacy at Trinity College.  

He claims he had a legitimate expectation the historical school data would be included and the decision to exclude it was unlawful, unfair, unreasonable and irrational.

The judge will rule next week on a number of pre-trial applications.

These include whether or not to permit the cross-examination of Ms Feeney and other public servants, including Dalton Tatton, assistant secretary general of the Department of Education, at the Sherry hearing.

The cross-examination, sought by Mr Sherry's side, was opposed by the State.

They also opposed Mr Sherry's bid for orders requiring the State side to provide him with certain data models considered during the calculated grades process.

In another pre-trial application, the Minister and the State want the judge to rule that a memo provided to Cabinet when it approved exclusion of historical school data from the calculated grades cannot be disclosed, on grounds of Cabinet confidentiality, to Mr Sherry's side.