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Best Schools in Dublin for Expats

If you’re looking for the perfect neighborhood for your small business in Dublin and plan to move here with your family, it’s just natural you want to learn more about the school system. Whether you’re starting a family or moving here with your kids, learning about the best schools in Dublin for expats is vital for your and your family’s future. So, no matter what the reason for your coming to Ireland is, this guide will give you an overview of what you need to know. We will talk about schools systems of all levels and provide you with a list of the best Dublin schools.

The educational system in Ireland

The good news is that expats will find the Irish school system fairly standard like other systems worldwide, especially if you’re coming from Europe or North America. Generally, compulsory schools start at 6 and end at 16. Additionally, small children can start preschool once they reach 32 months.

Therefore, the educational system of Ireland can be split up into three different categories:

  1. primary school: – junior infant class 4-6; – senior infant 5-7; – first grade 6-8; – second grade 7-9; – third grade 8-10; fourth grade 9-11; fifth grade 10-12; sixth class 11-13;
  2. secondary junior level: – first year 12-14; -second year 13-15; third year 14-16;
  3. secondary senior level: – fourth year 15-17; – fifth year 16-18; sixth year 17-19

The grading system in Ireland uses both letters and percentages. Here is a list of US grade description equivalents:

  • 70-100 A: First Class honors
  • 65-69 A-: Upper Second Class honors
  • 50-59 B+: Upper Second Class honors
  • 45-49 B: Lower Second Class honors
  • 40-44 B-: Class 3 honors/pass
  • 0-39 F: fail.

The regulations are pretty similar to most countries, so figuring the Irish educational system won’t cause you trouble. Instead, you can put your efforts and thoughts into properly organizing your international move from the US. Make sure you hire a reputable moving company for an easy transfer from overseas and enjoyable experience.

Once you have all the other necessary tasks done, scheduled, and organized, take some time to research Ireland’s schooling system and see which schools are best for expatriates in Dublin.

Private or state schools?

When enrolling their children into Dublin schools, expats generally go for the private option. However, it’s good to know that the quality of public and private schools in Ireland is relatively similar. This is mainly due to the country’s high education standards.

Therefore, the main difference between these two schools is the price and class size. Public schools in Ireland are free to attend. Therefore, parents only need to pay for the school uniform, materials, and lunches. In contrast, private schools have tuition fees + the previously mentioned expenses. On the brighter side, classes in private schools are generally smaller, which is better for students that require more attention, mainly due to language reasons.

Daycare and kindergarten

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in Ireland have state-funded childcare options with educational opportunities for children. It’s important to mention that “pre-school” and “kindergarten” are not common phrases you’ll hear here. Instead, there are different childcare options for children of working parents that provide a safe environment and focus on basic developmental and social skills. These facilities accept students from 2 years and eight months of age until six and aren’t obligatory to attend.

Childcare options in Ireland are:

  • Nurseries provide three different meals, sleeping arrangements, and interactive play. They usually operate 5 hours a day;
  • Montessori schools – an individualized multi-sensory approach that focuses on building social and developmental skills;
  • Playschools – schools focused on playtime and learning social skills through play, such as taking turns or sharing;
  • Naíonraí – an Irish-speaking nursery.

Primary and secondary schools

Primary schools in Ireland last for eight years, six of which are compulsory. However, some parents decide to enroll their kids into Junior Infant Class starting from 4, which is standard practice in Ireland.

Whereas secondary schools can be narrowed down to three main categories:

  1. voluntary, which are privately owned and academically challenging;
  2. vocational and community colleges that often lean towards specific trade skills or more general academic subjects;
  3. Community and comprehensive schools are public and offer various general academic and vocational subjects.

Below you’ll find a list of top-rated primary and secondary schools in Dublin. Keep in mind that some schools are referred to as ‘collage,’ which only means they accept students from 4 to 18 years old.

  • Gonzaga Collage
  • Conleth’s Collage
  • Alexandra Collage
  • Castle Park School
  • Belvedere College (for boys 13-18)
  • Blackrock College (for boys 13-18)
  • Loreto College St Stephen’s Green (for girls 13-18)
  • Wesley College (13-18 co-ed)

International schools as the best schools in Dublin for expats

International schools are often preferred by expat families everywhere. Besides wanting to do business in Ireland, parents want their kids to learn in schools with an international focus and a multilingual environment. These schools also have high educational and teaching standards and enable students to socialize with other expats, which can be extremely helpful in the given situation.

Below you’ll find the best schools in Dublin for international expats.

  • St Andrew’s College (Address: Booterstown Avenue
    Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland
    Tel: (01) 288 2785)
  • ISD – International School of Dubin (Address: Barclay Court, Temple Road
    Blackrock, County Dublin, Ireland
    Tel: 353 (0)873291417)
  • SPS – Sutton Park School (Address: St Fintan’s Road
    Sutton, Dublin 13, Ireland
    Tel: 353 1 832 2940)
  • St. Gerard’s School (Address: Thornhill Rd
    Bray, County Dublin, Ireland
    Tel: 353 (0)1 2393445)
  • Embassy Montessori Primary School (Address: 5, Clyde Road
    Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Ireland
    Tel: 353 (01) 660 3176)
  • Nord Anglia International School of Dublin (Address: Building 2, South County Business Park,
    Leopardstown, Dublin 18, Ireland
    Tel: +353 1511 0113)
  • Rathdown School (Address: Upper Glenageary Road
    Glenageary, Co. Dublin, Ireland
    Tel: 01 285 3133)
  • German School: St. Kilian’s Deutsche Schule Dublin (Address: Roebuck Road
    Clonskeagh, Dublin 14, Ireland
    Tel: 353 1 2883323)
  • French School: LFI Lycée Français D’Irlande(Address: Foxrock, Dublin 18
    Eurocampus Address: Clonskeagh, Dublin 14
    Tel: 353 1 288 4834)
  • Japanese School of Ireland (Address: Coille, Belar GBXBXG’mine
    Stepaside, Dublin 18, Ireland
    Tel: 087-1747304)

Admissions and enrollments vary from school to school. That’s why it’s best to contact them in advance, as the spaces tend to be limited. Even though tuition fees might be high, the learning standards are high, they offer extracurricular activities, have smaller class sizes, and first-rate facilities.

Higher education

In recent years, Irish universities have ranked among the top 20 universities in the world, with Trinity College in Dublin with the highest ranking. So, if you or your child wish to follow in the footsteps of Oscar Wilde, or Samuel Beckett, Dublin will provide you with a list to choose from. 

Higher education is considered to be the 3rd level of education in Ireland. Typically, there are state-funded and private universities. If it’s funded by the state, there are three options available:

  1. technical colleges that cover areas of study like business, linguistics, music, science, and so on;
  2. education colleges that train primary school teachers;
  3. general universities that provide a degree in a variety of areas, such as economics, math, philosophy, music, etc.

In Ireland, the most common areas of study students go for are arts and humanities, health sciences, social sciences, engineering, mathematics, and science. And the top universities that can provide you or your child with this type of knowledge are:

  • Trinity College Dublin
  • Dublin City University
  • University College Dublin
  • University College Cork
  • Technological University of Dublin

Special needs schools in Dublin

Finally, numerous children with learning difficulties and disabilities can attend regular schools. If this isn’t the case you wish for your child, there are other specialized schools in Dublin that meet the requirements a child might need. 

In Dublin, the most well-known schools of this sort are Saplings School, St. Declan’s School, and St. Mary’s School for the Hearing Impaired.

Final words on the best schools in Dublin for expats

If you are a foreign buyer looking to settle with your family in Dublin and expand their business or start a new one, you can have peace of mind when it comes to the schooling system in Ireland. This article shared some of the best schools in Dublin for expats, and we hope you find the information useful!