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Budget cuts 'threaten pupils' third-level hopes'

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Mary Keane, the principal at  Christ King Secondary School, Douglas, Cork. Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Mary Keane, the principal at Christ King Secondary School, Douglas, Cork. Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Mary Keane, the principal at Christ King Secondary School, Douglas, Cork. Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

ONE of Ireland's most successful 'feeder' schools has warned that repeated Government funding cuts are hampering pupils' paths to third level.

Christ King Secondary School principal Mary Keane said there was a direct link between the expansion of firms such as Intel, EMC and Apple in Ireland and the remarkable success of secondary schools over the past 20 years in getting students to pursue a third-level education.

Her school, in Cork's Douglas suburb, boasts an 87pc rate for students going on to pursue third-level qualifications - one of the highest in Ireland.

"Of course, there is an undeniable link. Every one of those companies said that their success in Ireland was due to the availability of a highly educated and skilled workforce," she said.

"Getting third-level qualifications is clearly hugely important. In fact, it is seen today as vitally important to making yourself employable in many sectors."

Ms Keane said secondary schools, working with various stakeholders, achieved enormous success over the past two decades in boosting the numbers going to third level.

"There has been a remarkable increase in the number of students going to third level, particularly over the past 10 to 15 years.

"A lot of it was down to the success of career guidance teachers and the roll-out of Transition Year.

"But the funding cuts over recent years certainly pose challenges to the success of that work," Ms Keane said.

"Things like Transition Year and career guidance teachers are suddenly under pressure."

Irish Independent