New schools enjoy bounce in enrolments
Catholic schools in some areas are losing ground to the multi-denominational sector, which is experiencing the biggest bounce in pupil numbers.
New figures show enrolments in the growing number of multi-denominational schools are rising faster than elsewhere.
The trend is obvious in data comparing pupil numbers in the current school year with 2016/17, published by the Department of Education.
Enrolments generally are rising, but multi-denominational schools - still in the minority - account for almost half of this year's additional pupils.
Enrolments in the primary sector were up 5,041, to 555,241. However, in the multi-denominational category - 5.4pc of schools - the increase was 9pc, compared with 0.5pc for Catholic schools, which account for almost 91pc of schools.
In the post-primary sector, where pupil numbers increased by an average 1.5pc to 357,442, enrolments in multi-denominational schools rose by more than 20pc, far ahead of the 0.8pc rise in denominational schools.
With new schools in areas of population growth virtually entirely multi-denominational, the trend may cause little surprise.