Enrolments rose by 8,386 across all primary and post-primary schools in September 2019 to a total of 930,833
Enrolments in primary and secondary school-level multi-denominational schools increased by 4.0 percent while there was a very small decrease, 40, in enrolments in Catholic schools
The Department of Education and Skills today published the first results on enrolments in primary and post-primary schools in September 2019.
The data showed that the total number of pupils being enrolled in both primary and post-primary schools rose by 8,386 for the 2019/2020 school year to 930,833.
Primary Level Data
Total Enrolments in primary schools fell slightly to 559,378 in September, a decrease of 170 or 0.03% on September 2018.
When examined by ethos the results show the fastest growing category in both percentage and absolute terms was multi-denominational schools which increased by 4.8 per cent with an additional 1,746 pupils. This compares with Catholic schools which decreased by 0.4 per cent, or 1,810 fewer pupils. Between 2018 and 2019 the number of primary schools with a Catholic ethos fell by 16, from 2,776 to 2,760 while those with a multi-denominational ethos rose by 31, from 119 to 150.
Small schools remain a distinctive feature of the Irish education system, with 716 schools having 60 or fewer pupils enrolled for the 2019 academic year. This accounts for 23.1 per cent of all schools, representing 4.4 per cent of total enrolments.
Post-Primary Level Data
Total enrolments in post-primary schools stood at 371,455 at September 2019, an increase of 8,566 pupils, or 2.4% per cent, on September 2018 (362,889).
Pupils in multi-denominational schools increased by 4.0 per cent (6,557 pupils) over the twelve months, while Catholic schools saw their numbers rise by 1,770 (1.0%). Church of Ireland schools also saw an increase in enrolments, by 179 (1.6%).
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 723 in 2019. This growth has been led by multi-denominational schools, which have increased by 9.7 per cent in the last 10 years from 321 in 2009 to 352 in 2019. In the same period the number of Catholic schools has decreased by 4.7 per cent, from 361 to 344.
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 important changes in our school-going population, with a fall in primary enrolments for the first time since 2000 while numbers in post-primary schools have risen substantially, as we expected. They also reflect the important changes taking place in the patronage of our schools, with more choice available to parents.
“At primary level the the number of multi-denominational schools has doubled from 73 to 150, while at secondary level more than half of our schools, 352, are now multi-denominational.
“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.”
Notes for Editors
A link to the bulletin is available here: https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Statistics/Data-on-Individual-Schools/enrolments/statistical-bulletin-enrolments-september-2019-preliminary-results.pdf
The data is preliminary in nature and final data will be published in June 2020.
Main results of the report:
- Total enrolments in Catholic schools stood at 505,223 in September 2019, representing 90.0 per cent of all pupils, down from 90.3 per cent in 2018.
- Enrolments in multi-denominational schools stood at 38,082, accounting for 6.8 per cent of the total (up from 6.5% in 2018).
- Church of Ireland schools had enrolments of 16,312 representing 2.9 per cent of all pupils. Other faiths accounted for 1,761 pupils, or 0.3 per cent.
- Between 2018 and 2019 the number of schools with a Catholic ethos fell by 16, from 2,776 to 2,760 while those with a multi-denominational ethos rose by 31, from 119 to 150. This is part of a longer term trend, with the number of Catholic schools falling by almost 120 in the last 10 years, while the number of multi-denominational schools has risen from 73 to 150 – an increase of 105.5 per cent.
- Small schools remain a distinctive feature of the Irish education system, with 716 schools having 60 or fewer pupils enrolled for the 2019 academic year, accounting for 23.1 per cent of all schools. These small schools represent just 4.4 per cent of the total enrolments. Since 2009 the number of small primary schools has decreased by 9.5 percent and the number of pupils attending these schools has decreased by 14.9 percent.
- Total enrolments in post-primary schools stood at 371,455 at September 2019 - an increase of 8,566 pupils, or 2.4 per cent, on September 2018 (362,889). The number of girls stood at 183,920 while the number of boys stood at 187,535.
- Catholic schools dominated with 187,774 pupils, followed by multi-denominational schools with 169,180 pupils and 11,669 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 723 in 2019. This growth has been led by multi-denominational schools, which have risen from 321 in 2009 to 352 in 2019, an increase of 9.7 percent. In the same period the number of Catholic schools has decreased by 4.7 percent, from 361 to 344.
- 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 113 percent from 54 to 115 in the past decade, while the number of pupils enrolled in these schools increased from just under 51,000 to almost 110,000. 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 six post-primary schools to be awarded in 2020 has recently been completed with Educate Together, DDLETB, LMETB & KWETB announced as the successful patrons for the six schools to open in the following locations.
Enfield (Kilcock School Planning Area) (LMETB)
Blanchardstown_West_D15 & BlanchardstownVge_D15 (Regional Solution) (DDLETB)
Dublin6_Clonskeagh & Dublin_6W (Regional Solution) (Educate Together)
Goatstown_Stillorgan_DLR (Educate Together)
Citywest/Saggart (Tallaght & Newcastle_Rathcoole school planning areas) (Regional Solution) (DDLETB)
Kilcoole & Greystones (Regional Solution) (KWETB)
The patronage process for 5 primary schools announced to be established in 2020 is currently underway (December 2019) with the OPPS currently open to those parents of children who reside in the following school planning areas: