Education and Schools in Ireland
The standard of schools and education in Ireland is high. Education is compulsory for children from ages six to 16, and expat children are eligible to attend local Irish schools.
Education in Ireland consists of state-funded public or national schools and private schools. Irish schools include religious schools (mostly Catholic), non-denominational schools and schools which teach the national curriculum in Gaelic.
The main language of instruction at Irish schools is English. Gaelic classes are part of the local curriculum but foreign children are not forced to learn the language.
Public schools in Ireland
The quality of education at public schools in Ireland is fairly high, and many expat children attend them. Public school education is provided free of charge, but parents are usually expected to pay for uniforms, school books and extra-curricular activities.
All public schools follow the Irish national curriculum. The Irish public schooling system is known for being exam focused, which some expat children struggle to adjust to.
Private schools in Ireland
There are a number of private schools in Ireland, mostly located in Dublin. These schools are privately funded and are not subject to state control with regards to curriculum and the daily management of the school.
Many of these schools have religious affiliations and in most cases Catholic foundations, while an increasing number of schools teach in Gaelic. Irish private schools can be expensive with a tuition of thousands of euros per year.
International schools in Ireland
A number of international schools in Ireland specifically cater to foreign nationals, including German, French and Japanese schools. There are also a few schools which offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, although all of these are located in Dublin.
International schools in Ireland are difficult to get into and often have long waiting lists, so parents should apply as soon as possible. Tuition fees can be very expensive, and expats who insist on having their children attend an international school should factor these costs into their employment contract negotiations before arriving in Ireland.