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Secondary school choices in Dublin South

  • 11-04-2022 8:29pm
    Registered Users Posts: 32

    Our family is moving to Ireland to live this summer.

    In order to find a school that is suitable for my daughter, here are some questions to ask you:

    The first is the choice of the school;

    After a period of contact with the school, during this time I have found Mount Anville Secondary School, Loreto College Foxrock, St Joseph of Cluny, Rathdown School and Rosemont these schools. I know these are excellent schools, but since we are new to Ireland, we don't know the specific differences between these schools and don't know which one is right for my daughter.

    I know the rankings of Irish schools, but since the rankings are only calculated by the university acceptance rate, they can only be used as a reference.

    My daughter is very good in the arts and is very interested in science and geography, but she is not very interested in sports. If you know the difference between these schools, please let me know, thank you.

    Since we haven't rented a house yet, the location of the school doesn't make any difference.

    The second is my daughter's grade,

    Since my daughter is currently in Year 9 in a British school, which is equivalent to Year 2 in Ireland, she should enter Year 3 if she is in order, but she can also enter Year 2 according to her age, and some schools recommend her to enter Year 2. Is it better for her to choose the second or third grade?

    Thanks fo all.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,112 ✭✭✭homer911

    Rathdown is the only protestant school on your list and has recently announced its going co-ed

  • Registered Users Posts: 263 ✭✭sekond

    Third year is an exam year, and your daughter would be coming in two thirds of the way through the curriculum, with some of the classroom based assessment work not done (which is done in 2nd year).

    My feeling would be, if at all possible to start her in 2nd year.

  • Registered Users Posts: 263 ✭✭sekond

    Also - while, other than Rathdown, all the schools are Catholic schools, there will be differences in their approach to religion, which may or may not be an issue for you (for example, Rosemont has links with Opus Dei).

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,646 ✭✭✭✭Cyrus

    you want to make sure if possible that you are living relatively close to the school, so that your daughter isnt isolated from her friends after school or during holidays.

    Rathdown is a great school, there are also another two in the general area you should consider, loreto dalkey and holy child killiney.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Education Moderators Posts: 27,103 CMod ✭✭✭✭spurious

    You can read Inspection reports about the schools on

    After you read a few reports, you can read between the lines as to what they are criticising/praising.

    By far the strongest influence on a child in any school will be the home.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 315 ✭✭backwards_man

    Keep in mind also that competition for places in these schools is fierce and they might not have availability as they would have taken a full compliment for 1st year. Unless they have already indicated that they would take your daughter into 2nd or 3rd year you might find you have to take what you can get rather than what you want. Also these are all fee paying, in case that is a factor. As a previous poster has said religious ethos prevails in all these schools, mostly catholic, Rathdown is protestant. If co-ed is important, Rathdown is your only choice on that list. All girls schools tend to have hockey as the main sport.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,646 ✭✭✭✭Cyrus

    Rathdown has announced it will go co - ed it isnt co-ed yet, and i dont think they have announced yet whether the phase in will be at junior level or secondary.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 15,687 Mod ✭✭✭✭Tabnabs

    I would have real concern about getting into any of these schools as the pressure on places appears to be extreme at the moment. I know of an American family recently arrived with primary aged children that have been rejected by 10 primary schools in this same catchment area due to simply no available spaces. They are now reconsidering their decision for the family to move to Ireland.

    Ring each of the schools you have listed and ask them directly.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32 connorsmith

    Thank you for your replies, neither the religious orientation nor the location of the school is an issue for my family. Whether it is a girls' school or a co-educational school is acceptable to us.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32 connorsmith

    Thanks for your reply, the religious orientation is not a issue for my family;yes ,the school has told me they are going to be co-ed.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 32 connorsmith

    Thanks , I have found all reports of these schools, most of their scroces are ethier good or very good.Although the contents of the reports are detailed, they are too old to reflect the current state of schools.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32 connorsmith

    yes,I also ask for a space for my son in primary school, but they have not given any answer for boy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 315 ✭✭backwards_man

    Wesley college is a co ed private school in Balinteer, methodist ethos although they take all religions. Wide choice of extra curricular activities, good art and science facilities, alongside a very good selection of sports. As they also take boarders they have a good lunch canteen, menu is on their website. One of mine goes there.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32 connorsmith

    thanks for recommendation ,I will look Wesley college. Another problem is that I still wait visa ,so I can not go to school camp to see it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,308 ✭✭✭✭coylemj

    You may have a delay in getting an immigrant visa to move permanently to Ireland but surely you can travel on a tourist visa to visit and talk to some of those schools?

  • Registered Users Posts: 32 connorsmith

  • Registered Users Posts: 32 connorsmith

    I have made a research, I found the art level of Loreto College Foxrock is very good, my daughter may go to this school.Mount Anville Secondary School's sport level is excellent, but my daughter is not a sport fan.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,231 ✭✭✭✭ted1

    How long do you intend on staying ?

    St.Andrew’s offer the IB which may be useful, It’s on the DART line so. Quite accessible

  • Registered Users Posts: 32 connorsmith

    I think at least 5 years, even more. SAC confirmed they do not have space ,whatever my son or my daugther.

  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭Fasano

    their ethos is Church of Ireland, but I would guess that the majority of girls that go there are Catholic, but in any case, it isn't an overly religious school.

    There are a number of boarders there who don't have English as a first language, a number of girls come over from Spain for a few years to more or less become fluent in English. This may be a help.

    They also have good sporting facilities, but aren't a big sports school. Taking part is encouraged, but it isn't a driver like many schools in the area. Academically I could not fault them and their art teacher is great, but there is only one.

    I'm not sure about geography, but sciences are very strong at Rathdown and the teaching and facilities very good. They are very big in encouraging girls to do STEM subjects and I think on here it was once said that Loretto gives your girls a good education so they an meet a good husband, Rathdown teaches them to be strong independent women.

    lastly, off the top of my head, I would say six or seven of last years leavers went to universities either in the UK or Spain, so as far as the "School Tables" go, these girls did not go on to third level education.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭Fasano

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,646 ✭✭✭✭Cyrus

    I think that comparison of the rathdown education v loreto is probably outdated now to be fair :D

    But i would be happy to send my daughter to either (loreto dalkey)

    Mount anville, not so much.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32 connorsmith

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,646 ✭✭✭✭Cyrus

    sorry an irish expression,

    what i meant was i dont think that description of the two schools that the other poster quoted is accurate nowadays.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32 connorsmith

    In this way, although RATHDOWN's ranking is not very high, it is also a very good school, just because there are many international students, and these international students go to other countries to go to university.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6 IGraRunning

    You're correct. There are a lot of international (and Irish) students that do not go to Irish university so would not register on the 'league tables'. The same would be said of St. Andrews.

    I think the questions should be what are you looking for in a school, and which one of those schools matches most closely your requirements?

    For example you say that religion isn't an issue, but would it become an issue if there's a very heavy religious ethos. Rosemont for example is Opus Dei - extremely religious and it's part of their very foundation so you can't really get away from it.

    Ethos wise, is it purely academic focused that you want, or is it a more holistic approach? (it doesn't have to be one or the other, some will cater well for both).

    Size wise, what kind of school is your daughter coming from? Would she feel suffocated in a smaller school like Rathdown, compared to feeling lost in a bigger school like Loretto Dalkey?

    Do you want a homely/community feel from the school, or more institutional/structured feel?

    What subject does your daughter want to study? Are these available within the set timetable (for example applied maths may only be available as an extra curricular activity). Which languages will she want to speak?

    Costs are to be considered also. St Joseph's of Cluny and Loretto Dalkey will come in much cheaper than Rathdown or even Mount Anville. Additional costs should be inquired about. Will you want to pay for hot lunches, or after school study - are either of these two things even available in all schools?

    Rathdown will be taking boys into their secondary school from next year, and into their primary school from this year. I think someone mentioned above that it was in the plans but undecided yet.

    There is also a new International School in Sandyford (Nord Anglia)which don't do the leaving cert at all, only IB which may suit better if you're not planning university here. It has no government funding however, so it is quite a bit more expensive.

    There are lots of differences between the schools you have listed, but starting with what you want a school to give you and working from there would help people answer specifics.

    Best of luck with the move.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32 connorsmith

    Thank you for your detailed analysis.

    I'm not worried about the fees, compared to the current school, the fees in Ireland are affordable. Our family has moved several times over the past few years due to work and my daughter has been attending an English-based international school, except for a year of the French school. My daughter has studied English, Chinese, French, German, and Greek. But this time, since my daughter is already in junior high school, I hope to be able to find a school keeping study until she goes to college.

    As I mentioned earlier my daughter is very interested in art and design and also gets good reviews from art teachers in her current school. Judging from her subject grades, her liberal arts are better than science, and the worst in sports. . .She also She is interested in science because she finds scientific experiments very interesting. Regarding geography, I think her experience in these few years helps.

    For religion, I think it's acceptable to learn a little bit, but not if it's mandatory.

    The size of the school is not a problem. She has been to both large schools and small schools and did not feel uncomfortable. She studies very self-discipline. In fact, her current grades are Attainment 3.4/4 and Attainment 3.9/4. Her current school is the best British school in Paris. But it is impossible to compare British schools in France with Irish schools.

    It's hard to say about future university goals, and of course, I hope it's not just limited to Irish universities.

    I know that the schools I mentioned have different characteristics, but unfortunately, it is difficult for me as a newcomer to know the specific differences, because it is difficult to see the substantial difference from the school's public information. That's why I'm here to consult you guys, thank you very much for your comments.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32 connorsmith

    • Hi, do you know what difference is between School's rate of progression to 3rd level and School's rate of progression to university?

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I know what I mean by the difference, but that might not answer your question. It depends on what source you're using and how it defines "progression to 3rd level" vs "progression to university".

    Irish second-level students have a number of progression pathways from school. Many go on to university. Many others go on to institutes of technology - though they have almost all now been merged into what are called technological universities. Some go on to third-level colleges that are university level but specialised (e.g National College of Art and Design, Royal Irish Academy of Music). A significant number go to further education colleges rather than higher education colleges. These generally offer programmes that are ranked lower on the Irish and European Qualifications Frameworks than university-level courses would be. Different reporting sources use different definitions, so one source might describe a further education pathway as "3rd level", but another source might not.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    For religion, I think it's acceptable to learn a little bit, but not if it's mandatory.

    In almost every post-primary school in Ireland, religion is in effect mandatory. There are opt-outs available, but in my view (and the view of many others) they are not genuine opt-outs. Having said that, in a great many schools it seems to go over the heads of the teenagers, especially if they come from a primary school or home background where religion isn't all that important. For example, I spent some time a couple of days ago in the company of several people in their 20s who all went to Catholic schools - all of whom were saying how they recently filled in the "no religion" box on the Census of Population form.

    I know that the schools I mentioned have different characteristics, but unfortunately, it is difficult for me as a newcomer to know the specific differences, because it is difficult to see the substantial difference from the school's public information. That's why I'm here to consult you guys, thank you very much for your comments.

    Other people might disagree with what I'm going to say here, but perhaps not, and I'd be interested in the opinions of a poster like @spurious who has experience of the system - I spent a sizeable part of my career working in the education and higher education sectors, but I wouldn't claim to be an expert. But here goes anyway.

    Up to a point, it doesn't really matter how the school you choose is "ranked", because in most cases the rankings are a bit dubious and easily manipulated depending on the methodology used by the people doing the ranking. If I were you, I'd be doing enough research to broadly rule in a whole bunch of schools that look good and maybe rule out some others if they have specific characteristics you don't like. Then, I'd ask myself the following questions:

    • Where is the school, and is it in easy reach of where we're going to live?
    • Is there a good primary school in the same area? (since you want one of those as well)
    • Is the school co-ed? (that way, you can deal with one school for your daughter and later for your son if needed and minimise hassle for yourself)
    • Is the school going to have availability when I need it? (and because of recent changes to the law, the school might not know that)

    Even in an area the size of Dublin's southside, don't be surprised if those questions narrow your options down quite a bit. But for me, the most crucial factor is where you're going to be living. You want to be near enough to your school of choice so that your daughter has an easy trip there and home, and so that she is in the same catchment area or zone as her classmates. For people in her age group, easy access to friends is likely to be a big deal. I know that for some of the big name schools on the southside, kids travel from all over the place, but that's not the case everywhere

    I'd mention some specific schools, but to be honest I might just be sending you astray because of the importance of where you'll be living.