Second-level schools in Ireland – facts and figures

In Ireland, private schools and fee-paying schools are not the same thing. And some fee-paying schools get state support and some don’t. Here is a quick round-up of facts and figures about second-level schools in Ireland.chalk

  • There is a total of 723 schools approved by the Department of Education in Ireland (DoE 2011-12). Of these 347 are vocational, community or comprehensive schools.
  • The remaining 376 schools in Ireland are are “voluntary secondary schools”. These are private schools owned by religious communities or private organisations.
  • Under the free education scheme, introduced in 1967, the majority of the secondary schools recognised by the Department of Education do not charge fees, and instead receive state funding towards teachers salaries, running and maintenance of the school buildings and grants towards buildings. (Education Ireland).
  • There are 56 private secondary schools in Ireland which both charge fees and receive state funding. The latter mainly goes towards the cost of teaching staff (Examiner).
  • Of these, 35 are Catholic and 21 are minority religious ethos schools (2009, Independent).
  • In 2012, of the approximately 350 thousand pupils in schools funded by the Department of Education (DoE 2011-12), 25,500 pupils (Examiner) or just over 7% attend fee-paying schools.
  • €95 million was paid to private fee-paying schools last year. €86.6m of this was in respect of teachers’ pay. €3m was in respect of capital funding. No new applications for capital works are being accepted from fee-paying schools (Examiner).
  • Fee-paying schools are not funded at the same rate as non-fee-paying schools. In non-fee-paying schools the Department of Education funds a teacher for every 19 students; in fee-paying schools a teacher is funded for every 21 students (Examiner).
  • Not all fee-paying schools receive state funding, for example The Institute of Education, and other senior cycle colleges are funded purely though fees.
  • The government position since 2005 is that no new fee-paying schools will receive state funding (Education Matters).