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More schools send all pupils to third level education

November 27, 2013

Fee-paying schools claim majority of places that have a high entry-point requirement

Non fee-paying schools dominate the 2013 league tables for sending students into third-level education, accounting for three-quarters of the top 100 schools. However students from fee-paying schools and Gaelscoileanna claim the vast majority of places that have a high entry-point requirement. These students capture most of the places in teacher-training, medicine, dentistry and law, according to The Irish Times Feeder Schools list published today. Broadly, there is little difference between the performance of fee-paying and State schools in the overall feeder list, which shows how many students each school sends to each third-level institution.

However, once again, the list of schools which send students to high points courses in the universities, teacher-training colleges, DIT and the Royal College of Surgeons, is almost entirely dominated by fee-paying schools. Here, the top nine schools are all fee-paying: eight of these are in south Dublin while one, Glenstal Abbey, is a boys boarding school in Limerick with day fees of just over €10,000. The 10th place on this list is taken by Coláiste Íosagáin, a girls Gaelcholáiste in Stillorgan, south Co Dublin. Seven of the remaining top 20 schools on this list are also fee-paying. This is a consistent annual pattern in the lists and suggests that the highest-earning professions – including business and finance and some science careers – have a higher proportion of people who attended a private school.

The numbers of schools that effectively send all of their students into third level has continued to climb in 2013 with almost one in seven schools achieving this. There were 97 schools in this top group. The figures also show, however, that little has changed in terms of access to higher education, with children in well-off neighbourhoods much more likely to attend third level than those in less advantaged areas. There are 17 schools in the top 100 in south Dublin – 14 of them fee-paying – while north Dublin boasts only two, Castleknock College and Ard Scoil Rís.

Attendance at a grind school does not seem to guarantee a third level place, the figures show. Only one, Ashfield College, Templeogue, Dublin, was among the top schools with all students attending third level. The league tables also highlight the importance of having an institute of higher education nearby as a way to increase student access and participation. Students are much more likely to attend college if there is a local third-level institute.

Data for these tables comes from the publicly funded third- level institutions and the State Examinations Commission.