Preliminary enrolment numbers in Primary and Post-primary schools show 3.6% increase in children attending multi-denominational schools
Enrolments rose by 9,799 across all primary and post-primary schools in September 2018 to a total of 922,458
Enrolments in primary and secondary school-level multi-denominational schools increased by 3.6 per cent while enrolments in Catholic schools increased by 0.4 per cent
The Department of Education and Skills today published the first results on enrolments in Primary and Post-primary schools in September 2018.
The data showed that the total number of pupils being enrolled in both primary and post-primary schools rose by 9,799 for the 2018/2019 school year to 922,458.
Primary Level Data
Total enrolments in primary schools rose to 559,569 in September, an increase of 4,318 or 0.8 per cent on September 2017.
Enrolments in primary-level multi-denominational schools increased by 7.7 per cent while in Catholic schools they increased by 0.4 per cent.
Total enrolments in Catholic schools stood at 505,053 in September 2018, representing 90.3 per cent of all pupils, down from 90.6 per cent in 2017. Enrolments in primary level multi-denominational schools stood at 32,060, accounting for 5.7 per cent of the total (up from 5.4% in 2017). Church of Ireland schools had enrolments of 16,514 representing 3.0 per cent of all pupils. Other faiths accounted for 5,942 pupils, or 1.1 per cent.
Post-Primary Level Data
At post-primary level, total enrolments stood at 362,889 in September 2018 – an increase of 5,481 pupils, or 1.5 per cent, on September 2017.
Enrolment in multi-denominational schools increased by 4,443 pupils, or 2.8 per cent while in Catholic schools enrolments went up by 758 pupils, or 0.4%.
Total enrolments in Catholic schools stood at 185,963 pupils in September 2018, followed by multi-denominational schools with 162,624 pupils. There were 12,478 in Church of Ireland schools.
Commenting on the data Minister McHugh said: “I welcome the early publication of this report on enrolments in primary and post-primary schools. The numbers highlight the rise in the school-going population, with an increase at both primary and secondary level enrolments. They reflect the important changes taking place in the patronage of our schools, with more choice available to parents.
“At secondary level the number of multi-denominational schools has increased almost by 9 per cent in the last 10 years from 321 in 2009 to 349 in 2018. At primary level the the number of multi-denominational schools has risen from 73 to 119 – an increase of 63 per cent. There is also a move towards larger schools in our post-primary system as enrolments increase each year.
“These numbers provide essential data to enable the Department to plan and to implement the change processes underway to provide for greater diversity and choice in our education system.”
The research also found that small schools remain a distinctive feature of the primary education system in Ireland, with 708 schools having 60 or fewer pupils enrolled for the 2018/2019 school year.
These schools accounted for 22.8 per cent of all schools yet represented just 4.4 per cent of the total enrolments.
Notes for Editors
Please see Statistical Bulletin attached.
The data is preliminary in nature and final data will be published in June 2018.
Main results of the report:
- Total enrolments in Catholic schools stood at 505,053 in September 2018, representing 90.3 per cent of all pupils, down from 90.6 per cent in 2017.
- Enrolments in multi-denominational schools stood at 32,060, accounting for 5.7 per cent of the total (up from 5.4% in 2017).
- Church of Ireland schools had enrolments of 16,514 representing 3.0 per cent of all pupils. Other faiths accounted for 5,942 pupils, or 1.1 per cent.
- Between 2017 and 2018 the number of schools with a Catholic ethos fell by 9, from 2,785 to 2,776 while those with a multi-denominational ethos rose by 4, from 115 to 119. This is part of a longer term trend, with the number of Catholic schools falling by more than 100 in the last 10 years, while the number of multi-denominational schools has risen from 73 to 119 – an increase of 63 per cent.
- Small schools remain a distinctive feature of the Irish education system, with 708 schools having 60 or fewer pupils enrolled for the 2018 academic year, accounting for 22.8 per cent of all schools. These small schools represent just 4.4 per cent of the total enrolments. Since 2010 the number of small primary schools has decreased by 10.4 percent and the number of pupils attending these schools has decreased by 14.8 per cent.
- Total enrolments in post-primary schools stood at 362,889 at September 2018 - an increase of 5,481 pupils, or 1.5 per cent, on September 2017 (357,408). The number of girls stood at 179,452 while the number of boys stood at 183,437.
- Catholic schools dominated with 185,963 pupils, followed by multi-denominational schools with 162,624 pupils. There were 12,478 pupils in Church of Ireland schools.
- The number of post-primary schools has been gradually rising for the last number of years, going from a low of 700 in 2013 to 722 in 2018. This growth has been led by multi-denominational schools, which have increased by 8.7 per cent in the last 10 years from 321 in 2009 to 349 in 2018. In the same period the number of Catholic schools has decreased by 4.1 percent, from 361 to 346.
- In addition to the number of schools increasing, the size of post-primary schools is also going up. The number of large post-primary schools (800 students or more) and the number of pupils attending these schools has risen by 83.3 per cent from 54 to 99 in the past decade, while the number of pupils enrolled in these schools increased from just under 51,000 to over 96,000. This trend can be expected to continue for the next number of years, as post-primary enrolments are projected to increase.
Providing Greater Choice for Parents Regarding School Patronage
There is room for a number of different multi- and non-denominational patrons to respond to different parental wishes through the different processes now in place. There is no one model that provides a universal answer to the complex issue of providing greater choice for parents regarding school patronage and a number of different approaches have been adopted in the context of an expanding population and increasing demand for multi-denominational education. The Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity Process, which involves voluntary reassignments of patronage under Section 8 of the Education Act, 1998, will be implemented alongside a number of existing approaches. This includes the Patronage Divesting Process and the Patronage Process for New Schools, which includes consideration of parental preferences for different types of school patron.
In April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next 4 years (2019 to 2022). This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by the Department into the current and future need for primary and post-primary school places across the country.
This announcement included 26 new schools at primary level and 16 new schools at post-primary level.
For each new school announced to open, a patronage process takes place. A new Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) has been developed by the Department making it a lot easier and more efficient for parents to register their preferred patron and their preference as to whether the new school should operate through Irish or English.
The patronage process for the four post-primary schools to be awarded in 2019 has recently been completed with Educate Together announced as the successful patron for the four schools to open in the following locations.
GalwayCity & Oranmore (Regional Solution)
Laytown & Drogheda (Regional Solution)
The patronage process for 12 primary schools announced to be established in 2019 is currently underway (December 2018) with the OPPS currently open to those parents of children who reside in the following school planning areas:
Dublin6_Clonskeagh & Dublin_6W (Regional Solution)