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How to read the feeder schools’ tables

Data on how many students from each school progress to third-level colleges is compiled from two primary sources

The feeder schools information published today aims to provide parents with a snapshot of information about how many students from each school in the Republic of Ireland go on to various third-level colleges in Ireland.

This includes progression data for 20 publicly funded colleges in the Republic of Ireland, 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.

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

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


Elsewhere in The Irish Times, 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 schools with high progression rates to third-level may not necessarily be the best schools, how socio-economic factors play a bigger role in life outcomes than choice of school, and why diversity and exposure to different groups of people with different life experiences — something not always found in fee-paying schools — can improve life and career outcomes.

These tables give information on every student who ever attended a particular school and began to study this year, and thus include mature students and deferrals; it is not a picture of the class of 2023 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 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 go looking 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;
  • The school has closed;
  • The school introduced a mandatory transition year in 2022 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 others.

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 numerous 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 two decades, 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.

How to read the Feeder Schools list

Let’s say, for instance, you want to see how your local school fared.

1. Search for the name of your school in the table below.

2. “LC sits″: This column tells you the total number of students in each school who registered for the Leaving Cert, based on figures provided by the Department of Education.

3. “Total % prog”: The percentage of Leaving Cert candidates from that school who progressed to higher education in Ireland, plus those who sat the Leaving Cert in previous years and either deferred making a CAO application until 2023 or repeated in another institution and started full-time undergraduate studies in a publicly funded, third-level institution on the island of Ireland.