Country Idealist Profiles

Primary Level Education in Ireland

Posted in Ireland, Ireland - Education System by hynesbrid on July 21, 2008

Primary schools operate an eight-year programme, consisting of two kindergarten years (Junior and Senior Infants), followed by classes 1- 6.  Although children are not obliged to attend school until the age of six, 65% of four year olds and most five year olds are enrolled in the infant classes in primary schools in Ireland. The primary education system emphasises a child-centred approach and is founded on the belief that high quality education enables children to realise their potential as individuals and to live their lives to the fullest capacity appropriate to their particular stages of development. The primary curriculum (recently completely revised) provides for an extensive learning experience and promotes a rich variety of approaches to teaching and learning. The curriculum is divided into the following key areas:

  • Languages
  • Mathematics
  • Social, environmental and scientific education
  • Arts education (including visual arts, music and drama)
  • Physical education
  • Social, personal and health education.

There are no formal examinations at the end of the primary school cycle.

The school year runs from September until the end of June with holidays at Easter and Christmas.

The Irish primary education sector consists of state-funded primary schools, special schools (schools for children with special needs including residential care units, schools for children with disabilities, young offenders, children at risk, children with specific learning disabilities and emotionally disturbed children) and private primary schools.  State funded schools include religious schools, non-denominational schools, multi-denominational schools and Gaelscoileanna (schools which teach through the medium of Irish.)


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