A well-known private day and boarding schools for girls is moving to co-education from September,
Rathdown School in south Dublin, which caters for 3-18-year olds, announced its break with tradition today.
The phased introduction of boys will start this year.
The boarding option, which is available to post-primary pupils, will remain girls only pending the construction of a new boarding wing for boys.
Principal Brian Moore said the decision to go co-ed was taken to ensure the school reflected modern Ireland and to fulfil its ethos of being an inclusive and progressive school.
Day fees at the Glenageary school, which is set on 16 acres, are currently €7,450 ,while the rate for seven-day boarding is €20,600.
The move comes as fee-paying schools generally see a steady increase in pupil numbers, recovering from a dip that followed the banking crash.
It also coincides with the ongoing rise in enrolments in second-level schools as the primary pupil bulge of the past decade moves into post-primary.
Many fee-paying boys’ schools are already at capacity, so Rathdown broadens the choice for parents seeking private education for their sons.
Apart from the growth in domestic numbers, more international students to come to Ireland for second-level education, a trend that has accelerated sine Brexit.
Mr Moore described it as an exciting new chapter.
“Our vision is to ensure we continue to promote progressive and contemporary values that reflect those of modern Ireland, and we believe coeducation is a key component fulfilling these values.
“Allowing boys the same opportunity as our girls to be educated in Rathdown School will resonate with what our families, prospective families and feeder schools have told us.
“They value what our small community provides for girls and want the same for their sons. We want to be fully inclusive, and this will allow us to broaden our footprint in our local community and in the country as a whole – as well as further afield.
The announcement will be followed by an online information event March 23 and an Open Day on April 7.