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Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Almost 4% increase in children enrolled in multi-denominational schools

Education Minister Joe McHugh said the figures reflect the changes taking place in the patronage of Irish schools.

THE NUMBER OF children enrolled in primary and secondary schools has risen by almost 10,000 according to the Department of Education.

Preliminary enrolment numbers in primary and post-primary schools show a 3.6% increase in children enrolled in multi-denominational schools. Enrolments in Catholic schools increased 0.4% in September this year.

The total number of pupils enrolled in both primary and post-primary schools rose by 9,799 for the 2018/2019 school year to 922,458.

At primary level, there was an increase of 4,318 compared to last year and at secondary level the increase was 5,481 pupils.

The largest increase in enrolments in multi-denominational schools (7.7%) was at primary level.

The research also found that small schools remain a distinctive feature of the primary education system in Ireland, with 708 schools having 60 or fewer pupils enrolled for the 2018/2019 school year.

These schools accounted for 22.8% of all schools yet represented just 4.4% of the total enrolments.

Minister for Education Joe McHugh said the figures “reflect the important changes taking place in the patronage of our schools, with more choice available to parents”.

“At secondary level the number of multi-denominational schools has increased almost by 9%in the last 10 years from 321 in 2009 to 349 in 2018. At primary level the the number of multi-denominational schools has risen from 73 to 119 – an increase of 63%.

“There is also a move towards larger schools in our post-primary system as enrolments increase each year.

“These numbers provide essential data to enable the department to plan and to implement the change processes underway to provide for greater diversity and choice in our education system.”

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