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American to Irish Educational System Translation?

re... : American to Irish Educational System Translation?           reply
23/02/2012 15:29 - Choosing a School / Application Procedures
hi Expat,
Firstly I am very exited to be back in Ireland.I try to stay away from all the negativity on the news etc.
My kids are now aged 18(in june) 16 and almost eleven.My eldest Cormac ended up doing the transition year,which worked out well for him as it takes him longer to find his feet in situations,he is now in the first year of the 2 year leaving cert program,so 5th year or 6th year depending on the school.He has gotten a lot of confidence and finds the teaching approach here more relaxed,he is taking 3 science subjects in the leaving cert,so far he is getting average grades,so we will see with him.
Rachel,my 16 year old got put forward a year when she started,putting her in the junoir cert year last year,she got great results,A´s B´s and Cs,she actually got an A in history,which was very unexpected as she had no european history whatsoever,(she found the "revise wise" study books excellent.Actually her teacher now uses that book in class.Rachel is now in the same grade as cormac and they will be doing the leaving cert together next year.
Adam is almost 11(in march)he has adjusted very well,and is the only one of my kids doing Irish in school(as he was under 10 when he started)He is doing very well and likes his school.
Speaking to Cormac and Rachel over the past year and a half,they find the school system more relaxed here.They find the workload to be fair,and marking also.They are exited to go to college hopefully.
Me personally....I was lost in the states ,and felt like everyone else knew the system and I knew nothing.We had moved our children from the public school system in New york a year before we decided to move home to Ireland and put them in a private school which was way better.There were a variety of reasons for moving them from the public school,a coulple of which were that at one parent teacher meeting the teacher didnt even know my son,he gave me another kids report,and my daughter was seperated from all her friends in middle school,no one was in her lunch period or any of her classes,she was miserable.I found out later that most of the parents had made arrangments for their kids to be kept together,something I was unaware that would be necessary.
I´m sorry if this sounds like I´m beating up on the American system,but we have never been happier,and have no regrets.And you know,now I don´t even mind what the grades are or the results are as long as they are happy and do their best and are well adjusted.I feel like I´m no longer in some sort of competition with other parents and their children.
The only advice I could give you is to try getting your children into a charter school,or the best private school that you can afford,in the end I suppose whatever you grew up with as the norm yourself will be what you want for your children.We all want whats best for our kids.
I can´t say enough about the teachers here in Ireland,everyone I have come in contact with so far has been very professional and also friendly.
....I hope this helps you in some way,sorry to go on a bit.The best of luck to you,Patricia

re : American to Irish Educational System Translation?           reply
23/02/2012 11:34 - Choosing a School / Application Procedures
Hi Patricia,
Your old posting from 2008 came up on a search I did to compare education systems in U.S. and Ireland. Hope you´re still at this e-mail address after all this time! Wanted to see how things went with your move and what comparisons you could make now that you´ve been through it all, and how your experience matched up with your expectations of moving here. Sounds like your kids were in good school systems in the U.S. (I myself came from a very good public school in Connecticut). If we return to the U.S. we´d be going back to a school system with a very good reputation as well, so that´s why I thought your experience would be valuable for comparison with our situation. Any thoughts you have would be really appreciated!
Thanks :-)

re : American to Irish Educational System Translation?           reply
09/11/2008 21:01 - Choosing a School / Application Procedures
Wow u have a lots of questions. Firstly I live in Dublin but I guess the education system is the same all over the country. Firstly children here make their confirmation in primary school at age 12, So your sons peers will have already done this. You will be advised to speak to the local parish priest who would advise you, he may make it individually or at the same time as the local primary school pupils. The education system can be broken down into private schools where a fee would be paid, typically max 6,000 dollars for non boarding students per year, buy this varies, it could be as low as 3,500.The majority os schools are english speaking , but there are irish speaking schools which a lot of parents aspire to as they tend to have a good acadmic record, but obviously you son would probebly struggle at his age to learn through this medium. Public schools can be co ed or single sex, the majorityof the church led schools are single sex.
You can find useful tips on this site to source which is best for your son.
When pupils are appro 15, they sit the junior cert exams, which usually consist of 10 subjects, namely science, Irish, english, maths, history, geography, economics, french/german or spanish, CSPE (civic) music, arts, home economics, religion etc there are more inc classical studies, woodwork etc but these are the main subjects. The majority of students will stay on in school for another 3 years. The following year is called transition year, it is a chance for pupils to taste different modules, some schools let the pupil choose if he wants to do transition, for others its compulsory. My son is doing it, it´s a break from the normal school year, he does lots of sports, drama, work experience, and lots of other interesting options, again this site will give details. The pupils will still do the core subjects of Irish, English and maths.
For the last two years they will be studying for the leaving cert, they will usually have to study 7 subjects, with Irish English and Maths being compulsory, also a science subject and european language is needed for most colleges in Ireland, so the student really only has a little scope for the 2 extra subjects. The students are graded in classes of Honours and Pass, Honours level being harder, the better grades a student received the higher points he will receive, ie an A1 honours will give him 100 points. for a college place to study medicine a pupil would need approx 600 points which is the max as they take the highest points from his best six subjects. Typically talking to people who come over from the US, the irish school system is much tougher and an A is very hard to achieve. By the sounds of it your son is gifted and should be able to row in. Obviously he will be given an exemption from studying Irish. School hours can vary, buy typically it can be 8.30-3.15 with maybe sports after school. Parents don´t usually have much participation in secondry school only usually on the school board or parents committee. I hope this helps in some way, other sites may help, or qualifax which is more for kids looking at college places. The schools are all graded on how many go on to third level, but beware, some schools will cherry pick only the best pupils and this does not give a 100 picture. A lot of the public schools will give just as good an eduction as private ones and these schools will also achieve good results. In Ireland you pay for school books and most schools have a uniform policy. I would recommend you source a good school within walking distance of your house so that your son has friends who also live locally. Any more questions ..just ask. Best of luck

re : American to Irish Educational System Translation?           reply
16/11/2009 21:55 - Choosing a School / Application Procedures
Thank you so much,You just answered most of the questions that I have been researching for the past two weeks.Thanks for taking the time to help out "strangers" such as myself.We are moving to Galway with our 3 kids,who will be 9,14 and 16 next summer.I´m from co.Meath originally but I forget how things work,I left school for a hairdressing apprenticship at aged 16,went to London with my now husband at 18 and have been in New york since.If I can get the whole school thing sorted in my head it will be a load off my mind.Do you know if my 16 year old son would be allowed to go straight into transition year?That would mean having 3 years before sitting the leaving cert ,Is that right.
Again Thanks,

American to Irish Educational System Translation?           reply
05/10/2008 21:17 - Choosing a School / Application Procedures
Would someone be so kind as to give me a basic lesson in how the typical American Catholic educational system translates into the Irish educational system? We will be moving to Galway City next year (for one year) -- how do we go about enrolling our son in an appropriate school? At that time, our son´s data: 14 years of age; graduated from 8th grade co-ed Catholic school with High Honors with Distinction; 99 Percentiles on his Iowa Tests; In math, he will have concluded his first year of algebra. In America, he would attend College Prep High School, and be enrolled in Honors Level One (highest academic level) classes, consisting of English Composition, U.S. History or World History, Geometry, Biology, Foreign Language (typically Spanish or French), Freshman Skills (computer skills; study skills), Physical Education, and Religion (The Bible). He would also be immersed in the first year of Catholic Confirmation, which is a two-year process. Please tell me that Confirmation is less of an ordeal in Ireland!!
For instance, is 9th grade in America called 9th grade in Ireland? May I assume all classes are taught in English? Are schools co-ed? Do schools accept parent volunteers at this grade level? Do parents fundraise for the school? What is the typical start & end time of school? Is transportation provided? We currently pay an annual tuition of $3,500 for Catholic primary, and $10,000 for Catholic secondary (++ costs of books, fees, uniforms, activities, etc.) How does the tuition compare? Thank you so much for any guidance you can give me!!!! I appreciate your help!

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