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Record numbers going to college

Posted by Francis O' Toole on November 21, 2012

SEÁN FLYNN, Education Editor and PETER McGUIRE Irish Times

Record numbers of schools are sending all their Leaving Cert students to third level, according to the 2012 Irish Times School League Tables published today.

The number of schools with a 100 per cent progression rate to college has more than doubled from 56 last year to 121 in 2012. Overall, this means about 17 per cent of the 724 secondary schools in the State are sending all of their pupils to third level.

The increase reflects the huge expansion in third-level places and the decision of increasing numbers of school leavers to opt for college because of the tightening jobs market.

In the 11th year since it was established, this year’s table show the highest ever number of students progressing to third level. Whereas a progression rate of 60 per cent was commonplace a decade ago, the average progression rate in most counties has climbed to over 70 per cent.

The tables again show a mixed picture though, with schools in disadvantaged areas registering a much lower progression rate to college.

Many of these schools in Dublin, Cork and Limerick send only about 40 per cent of their students to college. Other features of the list include:

Girls’ and co-ed schools tend to perform significantly better than boys’ schools. (The new Junior Cert curriculum is designed to close this gender gap.)

Fee-paying schools, Gael-scoileanna and State schools in affluent areas tend to perform best in the lists;

Counties in the west, including Sligo, Roscommon and Mayo, have some of the highest progression rates to college in the State.

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