State schools match fee-paying sector for places in college
High-achieving State funded schools around the country are increasingly matching the fee-paying school sector when it comes to sending their students to college.
Growing numbers of publicly-funded schools now have a 100pc record - or very close to it - in pupil progression to third-level, according to figures published in the Irish Independent today.
The annual 'Feeder Schools' supplement gives a school-by-school breakdown of how many of their pupils enrolled in higher education this autumn - and in what college.
The highest concentration of first years comes from the country's 51 fee-paying schools, with advantages, such as smaller classes, taking the credit for college transfer rates.
But the 2015 table shows the strength of the increasing competition across the second-level sector.
This year, some 28 of the 51 fee-paying schools have had a 100pc college transfer rate, compared with 31 of 56 schools in 2010.
In the same period, there has been a near five-fold increase in the number of non-fee schools matching that, up from 11 to 53.
But, disturbingly, the figures also highlight how pupils in socially disadvantaged areas continue to lag behind when it comes to attending college.
While third-level progression rates of 80pc to 100pc are now the norm for many schools, the rate is as low as 20pc for others in deprived areas.
The stubborn gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots" is triggering a new drive to break the class divide in education
Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan will publish a New National Access Plan for Higher Education in coming weeks.
A key aim will be to boost enrolments among children from families with manual or skilled/semi-skilled backgrounds between now and 2019.
The initiative will require colleges to work more closely with schools in disadvantaged areas with a view to encouraging more pupils to apply to the CAO.