Fee-paying schools dominate high-points courses

Table-topping Coláiste Eoin in Stillorgan bucks trend as one of just three non-fee-paying schools in top 10 with high progression rates

Fee-paying schools continue to dominate the tables showing how many students progressed to high-points courses in college.

What we have designated as high-points courses are those at the seven universities, the teacher training colleges such as Mary Immaculate College; plus the Royal College of Surgeons and DIT. Generally, courses in these colleges require a higher level of points for entry than other colleges, including some institutes of technology.

Fee-paying schools largely command the top 30 in this table. This has been an ongoing trend in The Irish Times Feeder Schools tables for a number of years. Given that the State pays for these schools' teachers' salaries, it leaves scope for the use of fees for educational resources and facilities that can greatly benefit their students' education. Some fee-paying schools may also resist enrolling children with educational difficulties.

While the fee-paying schools dominate, a boys’ Gaelscoil in Stillorgan tops this year’s table. Last year Coláiste Eoin had a progression rate of 89 per cent (joint 15th) but climbed to first this year with a 115 per cent progression rate to high points courses.

This figure includes students who sat the Leaving Cert in Coláiste Eoin in other years, and then accepted a place on an undergraduate course this year.

Coláiste Eoin's sister school, Coláiste Íosagáin, ranked joint ninth in this year's table with Muckross College, Dublin.

Both schools have a high-points course progression rate of 96 per cent. These three schools are the only non-fee paying schools that cracked the top 10 list. Other schools in the top 10 are Gonzaga College at number two with 109 per cent, St Vincent's Castleknock College at number three with 108 per cent and the Teresian School, which falls from first to fourth place, at 105 per cent.

Gaelscoileanna continue to do well in sending students to high-point courses. Seven Irish-speaking schools feature in the top 30 list. These include Coláiste Cois Life, Lucan, with 83 per cent; Gaelcholáiste na Mara, Arklow, with 78 per cent; Meanscoil Garman 73 per cent and Coláiste na Coiribe, Galway with 74 per cent.

A bilingual school, Coláiste Iognáid in Galway, takes the 19th spot with an 84 per cent progression rate.

These figures do not tell us specifically where the class of 2015 ended up. The progression rates detailed here include not only this year’s Leaving Cert students, but also students who previously attended the schools listed. They may have deferred their place, they may be going back to college as mature students, or they may have repeated their Leaving Cert in another school or a grind school.

Schools in university towns or cities tend to have a large proportion of their students opting to attend the local university. Cork, Kildare, Limerick and Galway schools feature in the top 30 list but are largely outnumbered by Dublin.

Only two schools in the top 10 are outside of the capital. These are Cistercian College, Roscrea, with a student progression rate on to high-points courses of 103 per cent (fifth); and Clongowes Wood College in Kildare with 97 per cent (joint eighth). Both are fee-paying schools.

Some non-university counties are listed in the top 30. These include Gaelcholáiste na Mara in Arklow with 78 per cent; St Peter's College in Meath with 78 per cent and Loreto College Cavan with 72 per cent.

Kilkenny College with 77 per cent (joint 25th) also features.

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