Mr Justice Gerard Hogan yesterday ruled against the boy, aged 12, whose education is one of a number of divisive issues in a broken marriage, attending a less prestigious state school.
The boy’s name, or the identity of his parents or either of the two schools involved, cannot be published by order of the court.
In a family law judgment given in open court, Mr Justice Hogan said the parents could not agree a choice of school for their son. The circuit court had ruled in favour of the father’s wishes that the boy be enrolled at a public school.
The mother, who is now separated and living apart from her husband, preferred the private school and had appealed the order. The parents remained joint guardians and were dedicated to the boy’s welfare.
Mr Justice Hogan said they were agreed he had very considerable talents. In June, he had been offered a place in a sState school that had a high level of academic and other achievements.
Shortly after this, the boy was offered a place in the private school of outstanding reputation and “one of the leading schools in the country”, where school fees were considerable.
The father insisted family finances were precarious and a private education was beyond the family’s means. He was concerned the boy might feel socially isolated mixing with children from wealthier backgrounds.
Mr Justice Hogan said that since the ruling, the private school had offered the family a 50% discount in school fees and one set of grandparents had offered to pay the other half.
Mr Justice Hogan, on the evidence and constitutional and legal authorities, directed the enrolment of the boy at the private school but granted both parents a right to apply to the court should circumstances change. “Given especially his scholastic aptitude it seems appropriate that he should go to a school that would seem best suited for his talents.”