Hi guys,

Today we talk about school again and this time we move to the green land par excellence: Ireland.

The Irish school system told by an expat mom

As usual when we talk about school, I asked to someone who lives in the country, and have school experience.

The other articles on school systems:.

Italy, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands.

Marina tells us all about school in Ireland.

Marina is the mother of 2 children, Sicilian emigrated to Ireland for about 9 years with her husband Dario , she has the great passion to crochet and create really beautiful accessories for people of any age.

Let’s focus on school and start to understand together how it works:

  • When do children start school in Ireland?There’s the split between the nursery, kindergarten, and the actual school, I guess…

The public school starts when kids turn 2 years and 8 months, and families are entitled to 3 hours free per day at the Pre School, basically a day care, that lasts 2 years, the primary school here in fact begins when kids turn 4y.o.

If you need to take your children to school before the age of 2 and 8 months, in Ireland there is the creche. It is private , therefore to be paied, however the Statesupports the families on the base of their income.

  • Do primary and secondary schools take place in the same school? How many years do they last?

There is Primary school which is the basic until the age of 12/13 and Secondary school which is the liceum or high school . Children start primary at the age of 4 and a half,  the duration of the course is 8 years. These years of Primary school sees an additional subdivision: Junior infant and Senior infant. In the first phase, children begin to learn the basics of reading, writing and mathematics and then go deeper and deeper into the study and finish the Primary cycle between 12 and 13 years, in sixth class.

  • Are children expected to be in school in the afternoon? Is there a canteen in this case?

Not all schools have an after school for the afternoon, which is a private service, although in public schools it is less expensive than in fully private schools.

Schools have a canteen with free meals, and children usually have lunch around 12.

  • Any costs for school and canteen?

For the school, at least in primary you pay the insurance, the canteen is free and the Irish government has arranged for 2023 to make available free of charge all school materials, especially books that are the most important expense.

  • At the appropriate age the kids will go to high school, how is it divided and how do you choose?

Between the ages of 13 and 14 they begin the Secondary school which is divided into 5 years, although 4 years are enough to obtain a diploma and the 5th year is optional. If you also finish the 5th year, you get the leaving certificate thanks to which you have the opportunity to continue your studies for college. The secondary is all the same, the subjects are the same everywhere, so kids don’t have to be in a position to choose an address for the future when they’re still young to understand how important it is.
Fan fact: For about 2 years the primary schools are finally all mixed,
but still most secondary schools are divided into male and female,
there are very few mixed secondary schools.

  • And the university? Are there courses that issue certificates for specific jobs if you do not go to university?

There are specific colleges for some jobs, for example to be a teacher in day care institutions, in this case already from the first year of study, in fact, you also start to work. Then there is the real university, in this case you chose what field you want to take and then any specializations.

You might be interested in my video shot with Dario
with the info to go live in Ireland

Thanks Marina for telling us about the Irish school system.

Do you have any questions?

Contact me to get in-depth information if necessary or if you want to talk about how education works in your country.

Thank you all