The school system is not like the ones in the U.S. and they do not all have the same course offerings. Your school is not determined by where you live and not every school will have room for your children. You will have to research schools and find which ones have course offerings and extra curricular activities your child wants to be involved in and which ones have space available. Instead of Elementary School, Junior High (Middle School), High School and College, the schools here are broken down into Primary (Elementary), Secondary (Jr High and HS) and Higher (College). Many Secondary Schools are also colleges, so this gets confusing when coming from the American School system. The first schools we chose, had no room and we finally settled on Columba College in Killucan. There are also International Schools but they can be quite expensive. Many Colleges offer Post Leaving Certifications (PLCs) that are equivalent to what we would know as technical schools but with a wider variation of certifications. There is a list of them here http://www.plccourses.ie/.
- Uniforms are required at all schools in Ireland.
- Irish Language is a required subject but U.S. Citizens may opt out
Primary School Classes:
- Junior Infants(age 4-5/5-6)
- Senior Infants(age 5-6/6-7)
- First Class(age 6-7/7-8)
- Second Class(age 7-8/8-9)
- Third Class(age 8-9/9-10)
- Fourth Class(age 9-10/10-11)
- Fifth Class(age 10-11/11-12)
- Sixth Class(age 11-12/12-13)
Secondary School 3 Cycles:
- First Year(age 12–14)
- Second Year(age 13–15)
- Third Year(age 14–16) – The Junior Certificate examination is sat in all subjects (usually 10 or 11) in early June. Many schools hold Mock Examinations (also known as Pre-Certificate Examinations) to prepare students around February. The mocks are not state examinations — independent companies provide the exam papers and marking schemes – and are therefore not mandatory across all schools.
- Transition Year(age 15–17) – may be compulsory; optional or unavailable, depending on school.Transition Year has assessments instead of examinations, focuses on many non-academic life skill subjects, sports and and is intended to be a broad educational experience that encourages creativity and responsibility and creates an easier transition from school to adulthood. Around 75% of second-level schools offer the programme and it consists of both education and work experience.
- Fifth Year(age 16–18 or if transition year is skipped age 15–17)
- Sixth Year(age 17–19 or, again, if transition year is skipped age 16–18) – The Leaving Certificate examinations begin on the first Wednesday after the June bank holiday every year.