One of the topics that comes up time and time again when we first talk to doctors who want to move to Ireland is around schooling and how to go about getting children into schools in an area.  We thought it might be a good idea to write up some brief information about schools in Ireland which we hope helps as you plan your move.

  • There are strands of education in Ireland.
    • Primary Schools cater for kids from around 4 up to around 12
    • Post Primary Schools cater for kids from 12 to 18
  • Schools in Ireland are largely free and funded centrally by the government. Fee paying schools at both Primary and Secondary level do exist but are a small minority of school places overall
  • In both age groups there are various contributions that exist and do go towards helping fund school activities. These fees are usually in the range of  €100 – €300 depending on the age group involved.  Lots of extra-curricular activities at all levels are covered by the school e.g. school sports teams, again with some exceptions at local level.
  • At Primary School level most schools are operated on behalf of the state by the Catholic Church with support from Management Boards and Parent Councils. Depending on local variations these schools do have a religious ethos but parents can use to have their child sit out of formal Catholic faith formation classes.
  • Other religious groups do have schools around the country e.g. Church of Ireland. This is very much dependent on locality and the amount of parental demand that exists.
  • Many schools will facilitate parents from other religious and cultural backgrounds providing religious instruction and faith formation outside of typical school hours.
  • There is a growing number of multi-denominational and non-religious ethos schools in larger towns and cities. These schools will teach children about all major religions and moral systems, leaving formal religious instruction to parents outside of core teaching time.  Often this is facilitated on school property after the typical teaching day.
  • At Post Primary school level religious education is much less a part of the curriculum and mostly falls under general Civics type education. There are notable exceptions with secondary schools operated by religious orders or groupings.  Much variation exists at this level and is quite local in nature.  Again more secular and non-denominational schools are opening, driven by demographic demand.

Our advice is to start the process of securing your child a school place early in your plans.  In some urban centres popular schools can have long waiting lists.  Once you know where you will be moving to contact the Principle/Head Teacher of the schools in that area to discuss your options.  Many schools across Ireland are pretty familiar with families moving into the area, even in small towns and villages.

The government Department of Education has created detailed spreadsheets of every school in the country at all levels.  You can access that information here, which is downloadable as an excel spreadsheet.  You can filter this information based on location which should be helpful in locating schools in your new area.