Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Sunday 3 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Student Life

Student life: Phones under pillows, cereal and Usain Bolt

The latest CSO Census at School release gives an insight into life for thousands of Ireland’s secondary school students.

HOW MANY STUDENTS sleep with their mobile phone under their pillow – and what does the average secondary school pupil eat for breakfast?

These are some of the subjects covered in the CSO Census At School survey, the results of which were released today.

In total, 7,150 secondary school attendees from 216 schools completed the Phase11 questionnaire of the Census At School survey between August 2011 and August 2012.


The questionnaire covered topics ranging from what students have for breakfast, the types of sports they participate in, where they keep their mobile phones and how much they knew about the Olympics.

Some findings included:

  • Of the students, 30 per cent said they keep their mobile phones under their pillow while sleeping.
  • The most popular time of the morning to get out of bed was between 7.30am and 8am.
  • 53 per cent indicated they eat cereal for breakfast. Toast (17 per cent) and cooked breakfast (6 per cent) were the next most popular choices.
  • Football (14 per cent) was the most popular participation sport followed by Gaelic Football (13 per cent) and Basketball (9 per cent)
  • Usain Bolt (34 per cent) was the most popular choice by students when asked to name a famous Olympian. The next most popular, and also the first Irish sportsperson to be named, was Sonia O’Sullivan (13 per cent)


Students were also asked what attributes they would rather have, with most females and males (37 per cent) saying they would like ‘skill’, while more males (22.5 per cent) than females (7 per cent) said they would like ‘strength’.

Most students said they get out of bed between 7.30 – 7.59am (33.2 per cent), with a small proportion (around 4 per cent) sleeping until after 10am.

While 80 per cent of children said they eat breakfast before they leave for school, just over 10 per cent said they don’t have breakfast at all. Of those who said they don’t eat breakfast, most  were in 4th (approximately 17 per cent of girls and 11 per cent of boys) and 5th (approximately 19 per cent of girls and  10.5 per cent of boys) year.

Read: Non-Chinese Asians are the fastest growing ethnic group in Ireland – CSO>

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.