Fee-paying schools: do you get what you pay for?
Parents will often wonder if paying extra for their child's education is worthwhile when so many of the country's non fee-paying schools perform exceptionally well when it comes to seeing students progress to third level.
For some, private education is a worthwhile investment. Others may want their son or daughter to follow their path and attend their own alma mater.
And, research shows that when it comes to sending students on to third level, extra investment at second level can go a long way.
Data analysed by the Sunday Independent shows students who attend a fee-paying secondary school are more likely to progress to a university and less likely to not progress to college.
This newspaper's 10-year study of where students go to college shows almost two-thirds (64.3pc) of students from fee-paying schools went on to secure a place in a university in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
This does not take into account the number of students who take up places in universities in the UK excluding Northern Ireland, or in the EU and further afield - many principals will argue that the true figure for those who progress to university courses should be even higher.
Analysis of the data shows a slight increase in the number of students who progressed to university from a fee-paying secondary school last year. In the previous nine years, 63pc of students from a fee-paying background went on to an Irish or Northern Irish university. When this year's figures are added the sum jumps 1.3pc.
Of those students who attended a fee-paying school, 30.2pc secured places in other colleges and institutes of technology.
A total of 5.6pc did not record a place in an Irish university or college.
Not all parents can afford the luxury of being able to send their child to a fee-paying schools.
The research shows non fee-paying schools make up a large cohort of the county's top-performing schools.
Almost three-quarters of students from non fee-paying schools go on to secure places at third level.
A total of 34.9pc of Leaving Cert students from these schools went on to study at a university in Ireland and Northern Ireland over the past 10 years.
Four in 10 students went on to secure places at another college or institute of technology on the island.
More than a quarter of students (25.3pc) from non fee-paying schools did not go on to third level.