High School Academic Year in Ireland

The Irish secondary school system has a six-year course, with a state exam during the third year entitled “The Junior Certificate” and at the end of the sixth year, the “Leaving Certificate”. Year four is a transition year where students try out various new subjects and programs before choosing what to study for in their final 2-year programme.

The most appropriate years to come and study and receive validation from the Department of Education here in Ireland are those years where the students do not complete a state exam. They do however complete school exams on a regular basis and a final grade is given for their overall performance throughout the year based on all these exams.

Most students have come to study 5th year and some have stayed to complete the 6th year so that they could continue on directly to University degree program either in Ireland or in their home country. Students are welcome to come for any year of their studies and great care is given to placing the student in the best school for their individual needs.

Students stay in the residence in Ballyneety Language School and participate in all family activities and routines or they can be placed with local host families. All students are monitored to ensure a smooth transition into a new environment and every assistance is given to help each individual at their studies and social well being. Aid is given to students to obtain books and uniforms and transport to and from school is organized. Students are given help with their studies on a regular basis to make sure they are keeping pace with their academic studies

All food is provided during their stay. All their clothes are laundered on a regular basis. It is normal for all students to wear a school uniform and also students must have suitable clothes for their PE classes. While all schools have a Catholic ethos, students from other faiths are always welcome.

There are a some excursions of an educational nature throughout the year and also a trip to an adventure sports centres while non state exam students are offered a choice of going on an educational tour to some European countries. Students are able to choose a variety of subjects from several groups of subjects and can choose between a higher level and a lower level to study. Classes begin each day at 9 a.m. and finish around 3.30 p.m. with a break in the morning and a lunch break. There are lockers in school for students to leave books and materials they do not wish to carry home with them in the evening.

Students also take part in sports during their PE class and evening classes are available if they so wish. Assistance is given to all students who wish to join sports clubs in the local area (ie. Judo, Soccer, Swimming, scuba diving) and they are encouraged to participate in these especially over the weekends.

Evening study is supervised at home and help is given to students to make sure all assignments are ready and delivered on time to their teachers. Their progress is monitored at regular intervals with contact with the teachers at their school and a regular report is sent home to the student’s families.

Evening entertainment is available in the form of table tennis, billiards board games, and TV, rings and computer games. There are also horses on the farm for recreational riding during the weekends.

Opening a Bank Account in the Ireland
The easiest way to open a bank account is if you already have one in your own country! If you do, please bring a letter of introduction from them, preferably translated into English, to Ireland with you. It should also preferably state how much money you have in this account. You should then present this letter here at the bank of your choice. It is also very useful if you could bring your last few bank statements with you, if the banks in your country have the same system as in the Ireland building societies, some of which now have the status of banks.

If you are staying in Ireland for any length of time, we recommend opening a bank account. It is now difficult for overseas students to open bank accounts here due to government regulations but possible with the right documents and if you do things in the right order! There are two main banks in the Ireland – They are: Bank of Ireland and AIB. Read more tips on opening a bank account here.

Other Documents
If you do not have a bank account in your own country it is more difficult to open one here but this can be done at some banks if you are able to present other documents. Branches vary and you may have to try a few before being successful. With or without a bank account in your own country we would advise you to take the following with you to open an account here:

  • Passport
  • Police registration document
  • Gas or electricity bill or something similar, showing your address in the UK
  • Driving license
  • Letter from School showing your period of study
  • Any other documentation showing your picture and signature

School holidays

The department of Education has streamlined all the holiday dates for all the students in the all schools.
First term

  • Start date 1 September
  • Midterm break Halloween 1 week
  • Christmas holidays 2 weeks*(students are advised to return home for this break)

Second Term

  • Start date second week in Jan
  • Midterm break one week
  • Easter holidays two weeks *(students are advised to return home for this break)
  • Summer holidays begin the first week in June for non-state exam students
  • Summer holidays for students doing state exams will depend on their subject choice
    * Students will have to make financial arrangements if they wish to stay for these weeks

School Timetable
Schools usually begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. each day. Classes are of 45 to 50 min. duration and the is a morning break at around 11 am and a lunch break at 1 pm for 45 min.

Homework 
It is normal for every school to offer homework, in most subjects, to its students each night. for 1 to 2 hours