New Dublin school in talks with multinationals over places for executives’ children

International school’s European rates for second-level typically run to €20,000 a year

A private school set to open in south Dublin next year is in talks with a range of multinational firms over setting aside places for children of executives.

The international school, which will cater for up to 800 students, will be based in a €20 million office block formerly used by Microsoft close to the Leopardstown racecourse.

It will be operated by Nord Anglia Education, a Hong Kong-based firm which describes itself as the "world's leading premium schools organisation".

Typical charges for schools it operates in Europe are about €20,000 a year for second-level day pupils.


Individuals involved in setting up the school say they have received hundreds of expressions of interest in recent weeks from parents and teachers over the new venture.

It has also been in talks with firms in international sectors such as technology and aviation, as well as embassies, over setting aside places for children of executives or diplomats.

While its fees would likely make it the most expensive school in Dublin, it is understood to be preparing bursaries for a number of less well-off students.

Different experience

Mark Orrow-Whiting, Nord Anglia’s head of curriculum, said that while the school was internationally focused, he expected significant numbers would be local children who want a different educational experience.

The school is to provide education from primary up to second-level, focusing on the International Baccalaureate rather than the State curriculum.

He said many of its schools now have roughly a 50:50 split between local children and international students.

“With the rise of globalisation, students want more opportunities to go to university elsewhere in the world,” he said. “If they choose it, there is the chance to go to an international university, and giving students ways of learning which they might not have received in their national system,” he said.

He said the school was not on a "mission to create a new educational formula" for Ireland, but said it may spark a debate around different types of education and learning.

“It’s not our primary aim to come in here and shine a beacon of light or purity in a world of darkness, or anything like that. Our job is to run a a global schools network, and provide quality education for students who chose it,” Mr Orrow-Whiting said.

“Having said that, we do collaborate with Julliard [a New York-based performing arts schools] and MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] . . . they see us as both a vehicle to support what they’re doing, and as a way of working with a partner to think how things could be done differently.

“If that involves sparks, and change, and change for the good – that’s all to the good, it’s but not our primary aim.”


Mr Orrow-Whiting said the school was starting the recruitment process for a principal, which they hope to have in position this autumn.

Recruitment of teachers is likely to begin early next year ahead of a planned opening in September 2018.

He said terms and conditions for teachers in its schools were typically better that those employed in national systems.

“In the UK we ran a recruitment event and had 10,000 applicants for 300 jobs, so we’re not short of people wanting to get involved,” he said.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent