Language training is provided free of charge to adults. There are a number of routes into adult education in Ireland. Education opportunities, such as night classes, are often available locally; local schools or the FÁS office are a good place to look for information.
In Ireland, the vast majority of schools are free as they are paid for by the State. By law, everyone must attend education between the ages of six and 16, or until students have completed three years of second level education. The usual school-going age is from four or five years old until 18. The school year generally runs from September (October for third level colleges) to May/June and schools are open from Monday to Friday. English is the language used in the vast majority of schools in Ireland. Many schools have a uniform which children are requested to wear.
Parents may be expected to be involved in their children’s education and to meet with teachers from time to time. If you are worried about your child’s progress you should arrange to meet with the class teacher or school principal. Parents of children attending primary school should take them to school and collect them each day, if they are not taking a school bus or traveling with another adult. Most schools do not allow children to leave the school grounds during school hours unless they have permission from their parents to leave the school. Notices are written in English only.
There are three levels of education in Ireland:
First level: Primary:
These schools cater for children from 4 or 5 years of age until 12 years approximately.
Second level: post-primary:
This level has two cycles: The Junior cycle, lasts three years, at the end of which students take the Junior Certificate Examination (at 15 or 16 years of age). The Senior Cycle lasts two or three years and culminates in students taking the Leaving Certificate Examination (at 17 or 18 years of age).
The third level education system is made up of universities, technological colleges and colleges of education. These all receive State funding. There is also a number of independent private college. Access to third level is largely determined on the basis of points achieved in the Leaving Certificate, which is the final school examination.