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24th Sep 2018

The top 25 schools in Ireland have been revealed

Paul Moore

Irish schools

Did your school make the grade?

As is the norm with each passing year, The Sunday Times have collated their list of the top 25 schools in Ireland and for a record fifth consecutive year, Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ, Limerick is setting the standard for Irish schools.

Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ, Limerick, where 96.4% of the girls progress to university, is the top secondary school in Ireland for a record fifth successive year. 

The annual survey compares the country’s top 400 secondary schools and measures the progression of all second-level students over a three-year period – from 2015 to 2017 – to universities and institutes of technology.

In 2014, Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ was the first Gaelcholáiste (Irish-language school) to top the list since the paper’s annual Parent Power survey began in 2003 and it’s also the only non-fee-paying school to top the table

The 409-pupil girls’ Gaelcholáiste has been the top school in Munster (excluding Cork) for eight out of the past 14 years.

With 391 girls, Scoil Mhuire, Sidney Place, Cork, is Ireland’s top fee-paying school and it retains its place at second overall in this year’s Sunday Times Irish Parent Power survey. Scoil Mhuire has sent an average of 87.1% of its students to university between 2015 and 2017.

Dublin’s fee-paying Gonzaga College is Ireland’s top boys’ school.

An average of 85.9% of students progress to university at the 550-pupil school in Ranelagh, which now sits in fourth place, up from joint eighth last year. However, the top school in South Dublin, ranked third overall, up two places on last year, is Coláiste Íosagáin, the 494-pupil girls’ Gaelcholáiste in Booterstown, where 87% of the students won university places.

The top school in North Dublin is the fee-paying Castleknock College, ranked 11 with 81.6% of its students progressing to university.

Here are the top 25 schools in Ireland.

Fee-paying schools in bold; Gaelcholáistí in italics; *English-speaking school with Gaelcholáistí streams or units; (G) Irish-medium Gaeltacht school; (B) Boarding provide

2018 National rank (2017 in brackets)                                           Type of  school     % at university

1  (1)      Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ, Sth Circular Rd, Limerick             Girls                 96.4%

2  (2)      Scoil Mhuire, Sidney Place, Cork                                             Girls                  87.1%

3  (5)      Coláiste Íosagáin, Booterstown, Co Dublin                            Girls                  87.0%

4 (8=)     Gonzaga College, Ranelagh, Dublin 6                                      Boys                  85.9%

5 (10)    Loreto College, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2                          Girls                  85.2%

6  (4)      The Teresian School, Donnybrook, Dublin 4                           Girls                  85.1%

7  (7)      Presentation Brothers College, Mardyke, Cork                       Boys                 85.0%

8  (3)      Salerno Jesus and Mary Secondary School, Salthill, Galway  Girls              84.3%

9 (13)      Mount Anville Secondary School, Goatstown, Dublin 14      Girls                  83.5%

10 (14)    Coláiste na Coiribe, Knocknacarra, Galway                            Mixed               81.7%

11 (12)    Castleknock College, Castleknock, Dublin 15                           Boys                 81.6%

12 (22)    *Coláiste Iognáid SJ, Sea Rd, Galway                                       Mixed                81.3%

13 (8=)   Christian Brothers College, Sidney Hill, Cork                         Boys                 80.7%

14 (19)    Mount Sackville Secondary School, Chapelizod, Dublin 20  Girls                 79.4%

15 (53)    Coláiste Ghobnait, Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, Co Galway (G)   Mixed          77.8%

16 (16)    Alexandra College, Milltown, Dublin 6 (B)                              Girls                  77.2%

17 (23)    Loreto High School, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14                         Girls                  76.5%

18 (32)   Holy Faith Secondary School, Clontarf, Dublin 3                    Girls              76.5%

19 (21)    Blackrock College, Blackrock, Co Dublin (B)                            Boys                     76.4%

20 (15)    Belvedere College, Great Denmark St, Dublin 1                     Boys                 75.6%

21 (20)    Mount Mercy College, Model Farm Rd, Cork                         Girls                  75.5%

22  (6)    Glenstal Abbey School, Murroe, Co Limerick (B)                    Boys                 75.5%

23 (24)    Ardscoil Rís, Nth Circular Rd, Limerick                                   Boys                 75.4%

24 (27)   Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh, Limerick                                             Mixed               75.4%

25 (47)   St Conleth’s College, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4                              Mixed               75.2%

With an 85% progression to university, and ranked seventh overall for a second year, the top boys’ school in Cork is the Presentation Brothers College. The Mardyke fee-paying school, where 100% of the boys go on to third-level education, has 718 pupils.

The top secondary school in Galway, Salerno Jesus and Mary, where 84.3% of the girls progressed to university between 2015 and 2017, has dropped from third place last year to eighth overall.

Ranked 10th  overall, Coláiste na Coiribe, Galway, is the top mixed school and with 570 students, the Galway Gaelcholáiste sent an average of 81.7% to university between 2015 and 2017.

With just 27 pupils, 15 boys and 12 girls, Coláiste Ghobnait, in Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, Co Galway, is the top small school in Ireland, ranked 15th overall in the Parent Power survey. The Gaeltacht school, with 77.8% of its students going to university, has risen from 53rd place last year.

With regards to the methodology and criterion that’s used, The Sunday Times Schools Guide 2018 ranks the top 400 secondary schools in the Republic of Ireland by the average proportion of pupils gaining places in autumn 2015, 2016 and 2017 at one of the nine universities on the island of Ireland, main teacher training colleges, Royal College of Surgeons or National College of Art and Design.

Where schools are tied, the proportion of students gaining places at all non-private, third-level colleges are taken into account. Schools offering only senior cycle are excluded.

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