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International Schools for Expats in Ireland

Submitted: October 2014

The standard of education and resources offered in Ireland in the State sector is considered to be high by international standards. The Irish Leaving Certificate qualification is generally recognised in Europe and in many other parts of the world. However some parents may prefer their children to attend private schools.

There are generally two kinds of private schools in Ireland: Irish private schools and International schools. Irish private schools teach the Irish curriculum, aiming to educate the children to the level required for entry into university. International schools tend to educate to international standards such as GCSE (UK) and the International Baccalaureate (IB). This article is only concerned with International schools.

There are very few international schools in Ireland. The International School of Dublin only offers primary level education. St Andrews College, Dublin offers all levels of education from primary upwards with a choice between the Irish and the IB syllabi. Both of these qualifications will allow your child ready access to university or college. Sutton Park School offers the Irish curriculum, but will also arrange tuition for the SAT examination. The subjects offered at each school will vary, but generally at secondary level your children will study maths, science, history, geography, English, art and PE, and they may also study one or sometimes two other languages. The website for the International Baccalaureate Organisation is here.

In order to register, you will have to contact the chosen school. You will have to provide some basic information about your child, which must include their Personal Public Service (PPS) number. There are details regarding applying for a PPS number here.  In addition, there may be more detailed information required, such as your child’s previous education and medical history. You may also have to pay a substantial deposit or registration fee once your child has been offered a place.

Tuition fees for international schools in Ireland are relatively low by international standards as the State gives some support to fee-paying schools. Annual fees at the International School of Dublin are around €9,000 annually for all years, whereas at St Andrews College, Dublin, fees are around €6,500 per year in at secondary level for the Irish curriculum, rising to around €8,500 if your child is on the IB programme.

If your child is going to continue into higher education in Ireland, entry is decided on a points system based on the best six results achieved in the Leaving Certificate examinations. Individual universities and colleges will have different points requirements for the courses that they offer. There is a calculator here which converts exam results into points. Most Irish universities and colleges will also accept students on the basis of their IB results; there is some information regarding this here. There is a table of equivalence between IB and Leaving Certificate results here.

Unlike state schools, international schools are free to set their own term dates, so you will have to check with the schools individually; most will have these details on their websites. The first term of the school year generally begins in on or around 1 September, and the school year ends at the end of June. There are holidays for Christmas and Easter, and half term breaks as well.




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