Former Bruce College principal to set up grind school


Competition in the multi-million pound "grind school" industry is set to increase with the former principal of Bruce College, Dublin, resigning to set up his own school serving the Leinster area.

Mr Patrick Phipps, who has worked with Bruce College for about seven years, has set up the Leinster Senior College in Newbridge to target students from Kildare, Meath and surrounding counties. It will be the first large-scale private grind school to operate in the region.

Mr Phipps recently told Bruce College of his decision, which shocked its owner and director, Mr Liam O'Hora.

Mr Phipps is a well-known figure to students and parents and was often used by the school to promote its success in exams.

Mr Phipps and his wife Kate are hoping to sign up more than 100 students to start in September. As in similar schools the fees will be expensive, with students paying about €4,700 annually. The school will offer 5th year, 6th year and repeat Leaving Cert courses. There will also be Easter and Christmas revision courses.

Mr Phipps told The Irish Times there was a "major niche" for private tuition in Kildare and surrounding areas.

About 10 teachers are currently being recruited to work in the school and most of them will be expected to teach two subjects.

Mr Michael Hogan, chief executive officer of Bruce College, said he wished Mr Phipps the best for the future.

Bruce has appointed Mr Pat Dunne as his replacement.

Currently, the two biggest providers of private second-level tuition are Bruce College and the Institute of Education. Although the institute is bigger in Dublin, Bruce College now has branches in Cork, Limerick, Belfast and Dublin, with about 1,200 students taking the Leaving Cert at any one time.

Last year, the Institute of Education acquired another private college as part of its expansion.

The institute, owned by Mr Raymond Kearns, who also owns the third-level institute Portobello College, purchased the Pre-University Centre in Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin at an undisclosed price.

A survey last year of mainly middle-class pupils by Student Enrichment Services found that about 73 per cent of sixth-year pupils received additional tuition at private colleges.