Enrolments in multidenominational schools up 4%

Pupil numbers in primary schools projected to drop by one-quarter over the next 15 years

Total enrolments at post-primary level stood at 371,455, which was an increase of 8,566 pupils. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Total enrolments at post-primary level stood at 371,455, which was an increase of 8,566 pupils. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA

 

Enrolments in multidenominational schools increased by 4 per cent this year while there was a very small decline in enrolments in Catholic schools, official figures from the Department of Education show.

Overall, enrolments rose by 8,386 across all primary and post-primary schools in September 2019 to a total of 930,833.

At primary level, total enrolments fell slightly to 559,378 in September, which was a reduction of 170 or 0.03 per cent on September 2018.

When examined by ethos, the results show the fastest growing category in percentage and absolute terms was multidenominational schools, which increased by 4.8 per cent with an additional 1,746 pupils.

That compared with a decline of 0.4 per cent in Catholic schools, 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 multidenominational ethos rose by 31, from 119 to 150.

Pupil numbers in primary schools are projected to drop by a quarter over the next decade and a half, according to a Department of Education report published earlier this year.

At post-primary level, total enrolments stood at 371,455, which was an increase of 8,566 pupils, or 2.4 per cent per cent, on September 2018 (362,889).

Pupils in multidenominational schools increased by 4 per cent (6,557 pupils) over the 12 months, while Catholic schools saw their numbers rise by 1,770 (1 per cent). Church of Ireland schools also saw an increase in enrolments, by 179 (1.6 per cent).

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 multidenominational 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 fallen by 4.7 per cent, from 361 to 344.

“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,” said Minister for Education Joe McHugh.

“They also reflect the important changes taking place in the patronage of our schools, with more choice available to parents.”