Glenstal Abbey crowned Ireland’s top school

Glenstal Abbey in Limerick has taken over from Dublin’s Gonzaga College as the top secondary school in Ireland.

According to the annual Sunday Times guide to Ireland’s top 400 schools — to be published this weekend — more than 95% of the Limerick school’s pupils gained university places over the last three years.

Now in its ninth year, the survey ranks the top 400 secondary schools on the average number of pupils gaining university places over the three years between 2009 and 2011.

The Sunday Times Schools Guide also reveals the figures for the total number of pupils entering all public sector third-level education from each school.

Glenstal Abbey — which costs €15,100 for boarders — tops the poll for the first time, having reached second place overall last year and third place in 2010.

Gonzaga College is now second overall in the top 400, with an average of 92.9% of its students entering university since 2009. The leading Dublin fee-paying boys’ school has topped the national league table five times since 2003, and topped the table in 2010 and 2011.

At the head of the regional league table for Cork, Scoil Mhuire, the leading fee-paying girls’ school, where 79.5% of its pupils gained university places in the last three years, has overtaken Presentation Brothers College, the city’s top fee-paying boys’ school, where 78.8% of the students went to university. Both schools charge in the region of €3,000 per year.

Coláiste Iosagáin in Booterstown, Dublin, where 89.8% of its pupils won university places between 2009 and 2011, heads the Gaelcholáistí league table in the Sunday Times Schools Guide for the third year in a row.

Third overall this year, Coláiste Iosagáin has regained its position as the top girls’ secondary school in Ireland. Girls’ schools occupy eight of the top 10 places in the latest poll.

The best mixed school in the country, also one of the top-performing Gaelcholáistí, is Coláiste na Coiribe in Galway, where more than 75% of the pupils have gained university places in the last three years.

More than 60% of the students have progressed to an Irish or British university since 2009 at the top 20 mixed schools in the latest survey.

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