Novemebr 2015 issue

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Irish high schools

International students and parents are increasingly warming to secondary education in Ireland, which offers a cost-effective and authentic Western schooling option. Eleanor Healy discovers more.

As the English language’s indispensability continues to grow and as ‘Western’ education is increasing in value globally for middle-class families, students across the world are flocking to Ireland in an ever-competitive race for the best academic opportunities on offer. Irish high schools offer an experience with a touch of something different and, with unparalleled value for money, many schools are experiencing a successful international market at present.

On the reasons students choose to study in Ireland, Damien Hunt, from Rockbrook International, cited one of the many factors as being, “the reputation Ireland enjoys for being a relatively safe and welcoming country, which is an important factor for parents who are thinking of sending their child abroad.” The appeal students find in Rockbrook International lies in the “homogenous nature of the education system”, as Damien puts it, which ensures that, regardless of which school a student previously attended, all pupils must sit the same state exams. Furthermore, all teachers have gone through the same training process and are all paid by the state – Damien says that both students and parents alike find the school’s inherent fairness very attractive.

“We get students from several European countries, primarily Spain, Italy and Germany, though we also have students from Russia and other countries,” remarks Chris Forde at Athlone Community College. Athlone has accepted overseas students for several years and Principal Eileen Donohoe insists that international students offer volumes in terms of “cultural diversity and global education” within the school. Chris continues, “Overseas students value the top education system provided in Ireland and obviously as an English-speaking country it is ideally suited to hosting foreign students.”

At the King’s Hospital School in Dublin, “All pupils go on to a third level university or college,” asserts Paul Rolston. “The school is very proud of its reputation of supporting every pupil to achieve their full potential and transfer into a suitable third level course and career path.” The education system in Ireland is highly regarded globally and the Irish Leaving Certificate (which students are awarded on completion of second level education) is accepted for entry into a vast range of international universities and colleges. As a result, over the last five years, students from King’s Hospital School have enrolled in 150 universities around the world.

Citing ease of visas and low costs as reasons why Ireland is gaining ground in the high school market, Declan Millar at High Schools International says that many international students use “the Irish secondary school system as access to other university systems – mainly the UK.”

Although boarding schools in Ireland generally follow the British model, Paul points out that school fees cost significantly less on the Emerald Isle and therefore offer excellent value for money. At The King’s Hospital, students enjoy a number of benefits – for example, 50 per cent of staff live on the campus, “which ensures considerable one-to-one pastoral and academic support, as required, for each student,” says Paul.

At International House Dublin, Monserrat Calvo Vela relates that the focus is on confidence growth and expanding routes to a range of further education institutions. “It is a great vehicle, not just to polish and/or develop their English,” says Monserrat, “but to successfully access different colleges with the confidence required to perform in English at college cevel.” The school, which assists all students “with any procedure or formality required for their home-relevant department in order to make their transition as easy and smooth as possible”, is most popular with “Russian, Oriental and Arab countries”, but has a great number of European students also.

Many Irish schools like Athlone Community College are investing in new facilities to further entice students from overseas. “The school boasts a brand new state-of-the-art building, with all the latest devices, fast internet, and the most modern of equipment,” says Chris. At The King’s Hospital School, international sixth formers are accommodated in modern, two-bedroom en-suites, “with study desks in a separate, study-focused house, which helps their preparation for their transition to third level education”, according to Paul.

It is easy to see why Ireland is growing in popularity as an international study destination; the attraction is arguably down to Ireland’s undeniable authenticity, fantastic value and the inevitability that students will be thrust into the deep end to best aid their English acquisition. Chris, from Athlone Community College, concludes, “The warmth of the Irish people as hosts cannot be underestimated either!” ellie@studytravel.network

Marketing and recruitment

“All of our high school students book their programme with us through trusted agents from around the world,” comments Monserrat from International House Dublin, highlighting the ever-present demand for study travel agencies. He continues, “We have worked with these agents for many years and meet new agents every year at workshops which focus on Second Level Education, such as StudyTravel Alphe Secondary Focus, which takes place in Frankfurt every year.”

Paul at The King’s Hospital also remarks on the Dublin school’s use of agents. “We do work with a limited number of education agents through whom some international students apply,” he says. Word-of-mouth, however, is the school’s top, age-old method of recruitment, as Paul enthuses. “Personal recommendation, by a past student or their family, will generally produce potential pupils and families already highly committed to attending and are most effective, but good agents with personal experience of the school are also effective conduits,” he says.
Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of StudyTravel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.







EF International Language Centers  
ELS Language Centers  
ILSC International Language Schools  
Kings Education  
TLG - The Language Gallery  

Ability English  
Cairns Language Centre  
English Australia  
ILSC Australia  
Impact English College  
Monash College  

CERAN Lingua International  

ELSAC - English Language Schools Association of Cyprus  

ABLS - Accreditation Body for Language Services  
English Language Centre Brighton  
Heart of England Language School  
LAL Language Centres  
Manchester Language School  
New College Group  
Tellus Group  

Ecole de Tersac  
France Langue  
Riviera French Institute  

MEI Ireland  

Intercultural Institute of
Sakura House  

IELS - Institute of English Language Studies  
Magister Academy  

CIAL - Centro de Linguas  

Kilgraston Language and Activities Centre  

Estudio Sampere  

Bridge Education Group  
Summer Study Programs  
Trine University  
University of California San Diego  


HSI - High Schools International  

Braemar College  
Calgary Board of Education  
Eastern Townships School Board  
Edmonton Catholic School District  
Edmonton Public Schools  
English Montreal School Board  
Greater Victoria School District #61  
Kootenay Lake School District  
Langley School District #35  
Louis Riel School Division  
Niagara Catholic District School Board  
Ottawa Carlton District School Board  
Pembina Trails School Division  
Simcoe County District School Board  
St James - Assiniboia School Division  
Vancouver School Board  
Waterloo Catholic District SB  

Carlsbad International School  

Queen Ethelburga's College  

The King's Hospital  

Menaul School  


Hult International Business School  

Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology  

Istanbul Aydin University  

Bridge Education Group  
Summer Study Programs  
Trine University  
University of California San Diego  
University of Virginia  


Campus Living Villages  
Dr. Walter GmbH  

ILAC - International Language Academy of Canada  

Cambridge English  
IALC International  
Quality English  

Irish Host family  

Sakura House  

Feltom Malta  

Idealist Education Consultancy  

ESL Townhouse  


Hult International Business School  

Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology  

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