How to read the feeder schools tables

Data shows the rate of progression from secondary schools to third-level education

The information published in this supplement aims to provide parents and guardians with a snapshot of information about how many students from each school in the State go on to various third-level colleges in Ireland. This includes progression data for 21 publicly-funded colleges in the Republic, the two Northern Irish universities, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, and two independent, fee-paying third-levels, Griffith College and Dublin Business School.

Our list normally includes all schools in the Republic where 11 or more pupils sat the Leaving Cert exam.

This is the first time since 2019 that a normal Leaving Cert has been held. In 2020, it was cancelled due to the pandemic while, last year, students had the option of receiving an accredited grade, or the higher mark from sitting the exam and getting an accredited grade.

The information in today’s list is compiled from two sources: the State Examinations Commission, which provides us with the number of students that sat the Leaving Cert in each post-primary school this year, and lists given by each of the higher-education institutions which tells us the school of origin of the full-time, first-year undergraduate cohort.


Elsewhere in today’s feeder schools supplement, we present the arguments for and against the publication of this data, and highlight the other factors that parents and guardians should consider when choosing a secondary school. We also look at how record grade inflation – which in turn led to record high CAO points – impacted on third-level progression rates across schools.

These tables give information on every student who ever attended a particular school and began to study this year, and thus includes mature students and deferrals; it is not a picture of the Leaving Cert class of 2022 alone.

Caveats and cautions

Each of the colleges on this list records the information in slightly different formats, which means that there can be minor discrepancies.

For instance, many students will change schools during their time in secondary education, and some third-level institutions will record every school that the student ever attended; as a result, the progression level of some schools is likely to be over-reported. On the other hand, every year most third-levels are unable to identify the school of origin of a small number of their students which means those schools don’t get a credit.

The lists don’t account for the numbers moving into apprenticeships or further education; at the moment, the State does not centrally collect this data.

Our lists do not provide information on how many students went on to study in the UK or overseas, although we know that if this data was available, many Protestant-ethos schools including the College of St Columba and St Andrew’s in Dublin, as well as schools in Border counties, would have higher progression rates.

Why is my school not on this list?

Some people will look for their local school and find it missing. Why? There are six main reasons:

- The school had fewer than 10 students sitting the Leaving Cert this year and, for data protection reasons, the Department of Education may have withheld information on those schools and their sits.

- The school has amalgamated with other local locals. Where possible – and it usually is – we credit deferred or mature students from a now-closed school to the school into which it has merged.

- Weighting: A 15+ per cent drop in the number of students who sat the Leaving Cert has been recorded this year when compared to last year.

- The school has closed.

- The school introduced a mandatory transition year in 2020 which means it had no Leaving Cert class this year.

- It is a relatively new school and has not yet had a sixth-year group.

- The school is a “grind school” run without State support. These include Bruce College, the Institute of Education, Hewitt College, Yeats College and some others.

How to read this list

Let’s say, for instance, you want to see how the schools in Co Sligo, or Dublin 10, have fared.

1 Go to the section for Co Sligo, Dublin 10, etc.

2 “Number who sat Leaving Cert 2022″: This column tells you the total number of students from each school who registered to sit the Leaving Cert, from every school in that area, based on figures provided by the Department of Education.

3 “Total number (all years)”: This column tells you the total number of students from that school who sat their Leaving Cert in that school in 2022 or previous years (or who repeated the Leaving Cert in another school), and started full-time undergraduate studies in a publicly-funded, third-level institution on the island of Ireland.

4 “Total percentage progression (all years)”: The percentage of students from each school who sat the Leaving Cert in previous years and either deferred making a CAO application until 2022 or repeated in another institution, and started full-time undergraduate studies in a publicly funded, third-level institution on the island of Ireland.

Accuracy and fairness

To ensure the greatest possible degree of accuracy and fairness, The Irish Times uses a standardised system to compile this list. We use this system to help us spot the vast majority of errors and data holes, but there are many complicating factors – primarily the fact that our information is only as good as the data we receive – which means that some schools will occasionally record a lower third-level progression than is accurate.

While we are committed to improving our systems, and the quality of the data has increased over the past 20 years, any significant deviation from our current system would lead to a significantly skewed and wholly inaccurate list. The Irish Times will investigate and correct errors that are brought to our attention, but regret that we cannot enter correspondence regarding the manner in which this data is compiled.