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Fee-paying schools are still getting top marks


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Just five schools have maintained a perfect record of sending students on to third level over the past nine years, according to figures compiled by the Sunday Independent. They also show a change at the top of the overall rankings for the second year in a row.

Presentation Brothers College in Cork overtook Limerick's Glenstal Abbey to take the number one spot as the country's best performing school.

The figures compare the performance of more than 700 schools nationwide. They show that fee-paying schools continue to dominate when each school's throughput to college is measured and compared.

Four fee-paying schools, down one on last year, have maintained their record of sending 100pc of students to third level every year since 2009. Just one non fee-paying school has sent all of its students to third level during the same period.

Schools with a perfect record can be separated by delving further into the figures.

Records of where each student was placed after completing the Leaving Cert every year since 2009 were used to compile a list identifying each schools' throughput to college. This includes data from schools that have since closed or have been amalgamated with other schools to give a true reading of who sends the most students to college.

By comparing the number of students who were admitted to a university after studying in a school with a 100pc record it is possible to show Presentation Brothers has reinstated itself at the top of the best performing school list.

The fee-paying school in Cork city was 2016's best performer but was pipped to first place by Glenstal Abbey last year. It has since climbed above Glenstal by maintaining the number of students it sends on to universities.

This year it pipped Dublin's Mount Anville School into first place by a narrow margin of 1.5pc.

By digging deeper into the figures it is possible to see that many Presentation College students choose to remain in Cork after their Leaving Cert.

University College Cork took in 98 students from the school last September and 11 students went on to study in Cork Institute of Technology. Trinity College Dublin was the choice of five former Presentation boys while three went on to National University of Ireland Galway. Other students went to the University of Limerick, Dublin Institute of Technology and Griffith College.

Dublin is still the county with the most schools to maintain a perfect record, with three schools in this category.

Colaiste Iosagain, Stillorgan, is the only non fee-paying school to maintain a 100pc record over the past nine years. The all-girls school saw 79.4pc of its students transition to university last year, with the remainder going to other colleges.

It finished third overall and joins Mount Anville and St Mary's College, Rathmines, as the Dublin representatives on the top performers list.

Mount Anville saw more than 79pc of its students go on to university while St Mary's College saw more than 61pc of its students advance to one of the country's universities.

All the students from these Dublin schools demonstrated tendencies to take up college places in the capital. University College Dublin was the most popular third level choice for students at each of the top performing Dublin schools.

The fee-paying Cistercian College, Roscrea, Co Tipperary, pipped St Mary's into fourth place overall by sending more than 68.5pc of past pupils to a university. Students here had the widest geographical spread when it came to college or university choices.

Glenstal Abbey, last year's top performer, slipped out of the elite '100pc Club' this year. It sent 76pc of students on to third level in Ireland last year.

Sunday Independent