Academic High School Year in Ireland 

Types of schools in Ireland

Public  Schools 

Public schools consist of voluntary, vocational and community/comprehensive schools. Most schools are publicly funded. Students are co-educated with a good variety of classes to choose from. Non EU students may not study in these schools. 

Private Schools 

These are fee paying schools under the inspection of the department of Education. Non EU students that require a visa are eligible to study in private schools.  



Boarding schools are generally private schools with accommodation facilities onsite. Non EU students may apply to study in boarding schools. Accommodation arrangements vary according to each school. Many include homestay requirement every weekend or fortnightly. 

School Terms in Ireland 

Irish high schools are open for nine months between September and June.  There are three school semesters (terms) in the academic year



  • September to December

  • January to March 

  • April to June

Early application is essential to ensure a place in your school of choice. For more information please view the  Education in Ireland 

Irish Education System


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Post Primary 

In Ireland, secondary education (sometimes referred to as post-primary) caters students in the 12 to 18 years old group. Students start with the 3-year junior cycle study, followed by the 2-year senior cycle study. They can take an optional 1-year transitional study to bridge the two cycles, which leads to 5 years or 6 years in total for the secondary education.  An evaluation test takes place at the end of each of the two major cycles (i.e. junior and senior cycles). The results obtained on the Leaving Certificate Examinations at the end of senior cycle year are important criteria for admission at universities.

Third Level

Local Irish students that wish to enter third level institutes (Universities, Institutes of Technologies and Colleges)  in Ireland must complete the leaving certificate or equivalent. The entry is typically based on a points system with a maximum score of 600 points available. Students sitting the leaving certificate can obtain a maximum of 100 points per subject. Students typically sit 6 to 8 exams with the points being accumulated from the best 6 results obtained. An A is worth 100 points, a B is worth 80 etc. Before sitting their final exam, students that wish to enter third level will choose a selection of courses that they would like to study. They will be offered a place based on the number of points they receive and based on the minimum entry level to the course. Each course offered in a university has a minimum entry requirement as well a minimum number of points needed. For example, a student that wishes to study Biochemistry at University of Limerick may require a minimum of 450 points to enter the course. A student that receives less than 450 points will not be offered a place on that particular course but may be offered their second or third choice preference. A central organisation known as the Central Applications Office (CAO) is responsible for receiving third level applications and sending students acceptance letters based on the points they receive in the final exam.  

Junior Cycle

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Transition Year

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Senior Cycle

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Irish Education System