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Why Choose Second-Level Education in Ireland?

Ireland consistently outperforms Britain & the United States in global educational rankings for Mathematics, Reading and Science (PISA 2012). Ireland has the second best reading literacy for teenagers in the EU, after Finland. 

Link here to our International Students page for information on Admissions and Fees. Email us here for an Admissions Enquiry.

Second-Level Irish Education Explained

Pupils need to have reached 12 years of age by the August of the year of entry to Form 1.  Second-level education consists of a three-year Junior Cycle followed by a three-year Senior cycle where Transition Year is taken following the Junior Certificate examination. The Junior Certificate state examination is similar to the GCSE's and takes place at the end of Form 3. Pupils take 11 subjects at Higher or Ordinary Levels for the Junior Certificate.

Transition Year, known as TY takes place in Form 4 and allows pupils to experience a wide range of educational inputs; with a focus on group project work, volunteering, cultural trips, business enterprise projects, life skills, work experience and much more. The students will also participate in the President's Award, known as Gaisce, which is comparable to the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Core subjects are still taught in Form 4 (TY) with Christmas & Summer Term school examinations.

A pupil will take 7-8 subjects at Higher or Ordinary Level in Forms 5 and 6, a 2-year syllabus, which culminates in the Leaving Certificate, similar to A Levels but even more so to the International Baccalaureate (IB). Pupils typically take 7-8 subjects for the Leaving Cert, with the 6 highest grades counted as points for entry into Irish Universities or converted for UKAS (see link below).

Form 1 - 12-13yrs old - 11 subjects

Form 2 - 13-14yrs old - 11 subjects

Form 3 - 14-15yrs old - 11 subjects (Junior Certificate Exam)

Form 4 - 15-16yrs old - Transition Year (TY) 8 core subjects + 3 Tastrer subjects

Form 5 - 16-17yrs old - 7-8 subjects

Form 6 - 17-18yrs old - 7-8 subjects (Leaving Certificate Exam)

Why Choose The King's Hospital?

Virtually 100% of our Form 6 pupils go on to third-level education every year. As some of our pupils choose to study abroad this number is unfortunately not reflected in the annual newspapers' league tables, which only takes Irish third-level entry into account. We have pupils currently studying abroad in Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, King's College, Harvard, MIT, and many other European and US Universities.

However academic success is not the only reason to educate your child at The King's Hospital. We instil best-practice teaching, mentoring and leadership to encourage and support pupils. We focus on specific skills that assist pupils to strengthen their relationships, build positive emotions, enhance personal resilience, promote mindfulness and pursue a healthy lifestyle. We believe that extra-curricular activities are vital to a child's complete development. We encourage our pupils to participate in activities that they enjoy which helps them build confidence in themselves. 

Competitive Sports with Equal Opportunities for Boys and Girls

  • Athletics
  • Basketball
  • Badminton
  • Cricket
  • Cross Country
  • Hockey
  • Polocrosse
  • Rowing
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Tennis

Music and the Arts

The King's Hospital is regarded as one of Ireland's leading schools in the promotion of the Arts, with a School Play and Musical on alternate years. The pupils get to perform at many other events during the school year in our 300-seater Centre for Performing Arts as well as our chapel which can accommodate all the students and staff. Some examples are:

  • Musicals
  • Theatre
  • Jazz Band
  • Orchestra
  • Choirs
  • Talent Shows
  • Concerts

Extra-Curricular Clubs & Societies

There are many activities going on in the school that are also pupil-driven. If your interest is not covered, start your own! You will be enthusiastically supported by the school. Some activities currently taking place are:

  • Debating in 3 languages
  • Chess Club
  • Philosophy Club
  • Hillwalking
  • Orienteering
  • Maths & Science Olympiads
  • Creative writing
  • Philosophy
  • Photography
  • Life-Saving Classes
  • Faith Union
  • Volunteering & Fundraising
  • Model UN

Weekend Program

Our 7-day boarders enjoy a vibrant and well-organised weekend program. This includes Saturday morning fitness, and knowledge-based classes taught by lecturers from the gifted programme at Dublin City University, evening social activities and off-campus cultural trips on Sundays. There is plenty of supervised study, when the pupil  requires it, but we believe it is vitally important, after a busy week of sports and academics, to also have some down time to relax and socialise with your fellow classmates.

As we still consider our British neighbour’s part of the EU our Annual 7-day EU Boarding Fee is €20,556 for 2019. If your son or daughter holds an Irish Passport our 7-day domestic rate is €17,130. Fee-charging schools in Ireland receive a government subsidy on teacher's salaries which allows us to offer the equivalent in facilities and standards as UK Independent Schools, at half the cost. Link to Fee Information.

How to Apply

To obtain an Admissions Pack in the post or to find out more information about The King's Hospital please email the  Admissions Department or call +353 1 643-6564. There is no charge to register your child for a boarding place if you are applying from the UK, but you will need to send us a copy of the child's birth certificate and passport (if issued), along with the registration form, to be placed on our waiting list.

Useful Links

How the Leaving Cert points are calculated -

How the Leaving Cert points are calculated for entrance to UK Universities -

Curriculum & Syllabus information -