Your guide to education in Ireland

The Emerald Isle is a really desirable location for students! Ireland is home to a respected and unique education system, within a wonderful and welcoming country.

Some people find the education system a little confusing – so let us explain it to you!

Primary education

In Ireland, pupils attend primary school from the ages of 5-11. This may be at an all-girls school, all-boys school, all-Irish school or a mixed school.

Secondary education

Students in Ireland attend secondary school from the ages of 11-18, and the school is split into three parts: the junior cycle (years 1-3), the Transition Year (year 4) – also known as TY, and the senior cycle (years 5-6).

Students placed in junior cycle (between the ages of 11-14) and senior cycle (between the ages of 16-18) will study a combination of 6-8 compulsory and optional subjects. At the end of the junior cycle, students will sit the Junior Cert exams, and at the end of the senior cycle, students will sit the Leaving Cert exams. The results from these exams will determine students’ next steps in education.

Students placed in Transition Year (ages 15-16) will study a wide range of subjects, as well as taking part in a number of extracurricular activities and trips. There is an extra fee for taking part in TY, which covers the additional cost of trips and activities.

Tertiary education

After high school, some students may choose to go on to study further at university. In Ireland, students also refer to university as “college”. The most famous and well-respected universities in Ireland include University College Dublin, University College Cork and Trinity College Dublin, among many more.

Explore our programmes in Ireland

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