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Around 3 months ago, we were very excited to announce the opening of the Cornerstone offices, in Ireland…

Like anything that is well made or executed, the office has been and continues to, grow and evolve every day. Pooling both Cornerstone’s ethos and way of working, with a strong understanding of how Ireland operates commercially, culturally and personally, we’ve built services in Ireland that are really quite compelling!   

Working closely with the team locally and their insider knowledge, we have poured energy, passion and dedication into building out the CORNERSTONE platform for Ireland. Rich in Ireland specific content that is continually updated and enhanced, alongside actionable tasks that allow the assignee to clearly navigate the relocation logistics, and finally in conjunction with one centralised space for all communications across the DM function… an essential tool for anybody relocating to Ireland!

As part of the CORNERSTONE Ireland operations, we have built out an in-house’ Education Consultancy. With the on boarding of Grainne Convery, – an Ireland Education Consultant – CORNERSTONE offers extensive experience assisting families relocating from every corner of the world with finding the right education or childcare for their children. Education has always been highly valued in Ireland and its education system offers varying options catering to different educational needs and wants. Having the right support to navigate these often complex waters, both to find the right fit for your child, and also to take advantage of the superb education on offer, is what Cornerstone’s service is all about…

So without further ado, a little more about Grainne…

Grainne has been helping families relocating to Ireland find school places for their children since 2012. Prior to joining Cornerstone in 2021, she was Ireland’s education consultant for Bennett International, the US based Education Consultancy who offer services for both private clients and corporations with relocating personnel worldwide.  

During her career she has worked with many senior executives relocating to Ireland with their families to work at many of Dublin and Corks top tech HQ’s and within the financial services sector.  

Her vast experience, the consistent positive feedback, referrals, recommendations and returning clients has awarded her the strong reputation she holds within the sector.   

With a very in depth knowledge of the Irish education system, its curriculum, the public, the private and international school sectors; combined with her strong connections in Ireland’s top schools she offers an extreme wealth of knowledge and real expertise when it comes to helping those families during the trying time of relocating find the best education for their children. 

Grainne can also help compare curriculums from country to country and advise on the impact of returning to your child’s national curriculum after their time spent in Ireland.  

Finally, she is also knowledgeable on the pre school sector and can help with applying for pre-school places for age appropriate children, not just in Ireland’s main cities, but also in smaller towns and villages all over the country.  

Education in Ireland, key things to consider…

To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of the key things to consider before relocating your Family and finding education for your children in Ireland, including the most recent changes to protocol…

  • Applications are made directly to a school, both at primary and secondary level. You will find, compared to many other countries, a substantial number of Ireland’s schools are single sex schools rather than co-education schools.
  • When allocating places, preference is given to children living in the catchment area. This rule applies at primary level and in some cases at secondary too. Private schools do not have a catchment area rule.
  • When considering schools in Ireland you have the choice of public schools, private schools, or an international school. The vast majority of Ireland’s private schools are located in its capital city, Dublin.
  • Private school fees in Ireland are considerably lower than in neighbouring England for example, however International school fees are more the benchmark of England private school pricing.

Admissions to School and how new rules affect relocating families…

There have been long standing concerns over how difficult it can be for new arrivals into Ireland to obtain school places for their children. New laws around admissions to schools which came into force in September 2021 ensure greater transparency, equality, and consistency in school enrolment generally.

Under new regulations, parents may only apply for a place in a school in the year prior to admission. The move will put a ban on long term wait lists, a common occurrence in Ireland, and make the system a fairer one for those moving to Ireland. It  will mean that parents who previously could put down their children’s names years in advance for highly popular secondary schools will no longer be able to do so and be guaranteed a place. This means that, in the future, recently arrived families will have an equal chance of obtaining much sought after school places!

The only downside to this is that it’s going to 5 years for the old system to no-longer apply as they will need to phase out and honour the current waitlists. This therefore means those down on waiting lists to start in the years leading up to the 2026/2027 academic year are safe! (While the phasing out of waiting lists affects all schools it is much less of an issue at primary school level due to the 5-year lead in time.)

So, now wait lists are banned you should apply for a school place for your child from October 1st onwards in the year prior to enrolment…

Schools must clearly state in their admissions policy the manner and sequence in which selection criteria will be applied in the case of oversubscription. For example, siblings of current pupils, those living in the catchment area etc.

Many of Ireland’s most prestigious schools traditionally set aside as many places as they want for children or grandchildren of past pupils, considered “the old school tie”. Under new rules from the year 2021 no more than 25% of school places can be set aside for this cohort.

The new legislation also prohibits interviews as part of the application process. Consideration of a student’s academic ability, financial status, their skills, or parent’s occupation are no longer allowed.

Schools are also no longer permitted to ask about a child’s academic ability and parents are not obliged to let the school know about any special education needs when applying. It is however recommended that parents do bring this up as a way of assessing if the school has the experience of assisting children with the special needs support their child may need.

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