Sacrifices will be made to pay for the grinds
PARENTS are making financial sacrifices to send their children to fee-paying grind schools during the poor economic environment.
An Irish Independent surveys estimates that parents are paying at least €23m this year to send their children either full-time or part-time to the private grind schools.
Grind schools have attributed their strong numbers to parents being willing to forego other discretionary expenditure in favour of sending their children to intensive weekend, Christmas and Easter courses as well as full-time study.
The country's most famous grind school, the Institute of Education on Leeson Street in Dublin, said that the numbers attending the school has been consistently on the increase over the last few years while the economy was slowing to a halt.
"Everywhere else you look, people are saying they are down.
"That hasn't been the case here. There is a slight increase this year," said David Ball from the Institute.
"Some years, when we had boom times, our rate of increase could be comparable so there doesn't seem to be a correlation between the perceived economic environment and our experiences here. There is a value associated with education in this country."
In some cases, parents would choose to pull back on discretionary expenditure, such as getting a new car, he said.
In Cork, Bruce College has reported that grinds students are committing to study earlier in the year.
"I wouldn't expect us to be recession-proof, maybe we will know better in February or March what the situation is. There has been no noticeable drop, we will have a better idea next year," said principle Micheal Landers.
Kate Phipps from Leinster Senior College in Newbridge said they are unable to facilitate the number of students looking for places.
However, Limerick Tutorial College said student numbers have fluctuated between 260 and 360 over the last eight years. This year the school is down 60 students on last year.
Trish McGrath, the principal of Hewitt College in Cork, said that while the downturn has had "no effect" on numbers, students are more focused on the upcoming exams.
"From a parent's point of view, they are thinking that if a child doesn't have a Leaving Cert or a college degree, then they have nothing," she said.