Sending your teenager to study abroad?

Sending your teenager to study abroad?

Here’s what every parent should know about ISI Dublin’s High School Programme in Ireland

Worried about your teenager’s safety and comfort in a foreign land? ISI Dublin is here to empower parents to give the right guidance to teens considering studying in Ireland. You are likely to have a lot of questions related to Irish education. That’s why we have come up with this quick blog post on ISI’s High School Programme and the aspects of what’s included, that you as a parent should focus on if your teenager is planning to study in Ireland — “The Land of Saints and Scholars.”

What’s covered in this post?

  1. Company information and location
  2. Guardianship you can trust!
  3. Education in Ireland
  4. School types
  5. Host families
  6. Boarding house accommodation
  7. Social activities

1. ISI Dublin — Company Information and Location

ISI Dublin is an internationally renowned and award-winning company, offering English Language and High School Programmes to over 5,000 students in Ireland each year.

Since launching our High School Programme in 2001, our aim has been to provide the highest level of guardianship and care for our students. In 2016, we became a founding member of AGPI (Association of Guardianship Providers in Ireland), because we believe very strongly that “study abroad” programmes should only be operated by professional and regulated organisations.

We have two beautiful, historic buildings located in the heart of Dublin’s city centre, just a short walk from O’Connell Street. Our High School Programme (HSP) is run from our ISI Dublin HSP Office, located at 39 Parnell Square West, Dublin 1.

2. Guardianship You Can Trust!

Sarah, our High School Manager, supporting a student at school.
Sarah, our High School Manager, supporting a student at school.

Indicative of our determination to uphold the very highest standards of student guardianship, ISI became a founding member of the Association of Guardianship Providers in Ireland (AGPI) in 2016.

AGPI defines best practice in the provision of guardianship services to overseas students in Irish High Schools. Working with an AGPI member ensures the highest quality standards available. We guarantee the following: Regular AGPI Inspections; Legal establishment; Financial Stability; Insurance; Tax Compliance; Human Resources; Documented Systems & Policies; Collaborative Communication; Police Vetting; Child Safeguard Training; Real Contact; Child Protection.

Why not watch our High School Programme Video and learn more about ISI Dublin’s quality standards, AGPI, and host family accommodation?

3. Education in Ireland

3.1. Junior Cycle — Year, 1, 2, and 3, age 12-15

Students in Ireland start the first year of High School or Secondary School at the age of 12 or 13, having completed 8 years of Primary School. The Junior Cycle includes first, second and third year and leads to the Junior Certificate (external state examination). Students take up to 9 subjects. Overseas students take two core subjects; English and Mathematics, and several electives to include science and technology, languages, art, and music, as well as more traditional subjects such as history and geography.

3.2. Transition Year — Year 4, age 15-16

Unique to Ireland, Transition Year forms a break between the Junior Cycle and the Senior Cycle.

The programme varies from school to school, but it is usually less academic than in other school years. While in 5th-year students study up to 7 subjects, in Transition Year students may study 12 subjects or more over the course of three terms. Work experience is usually included. It is an excellent year for international students to begin High School studies as it provides valuable opportunities to develop English language ability and life skills, and it allows for personal development without the pressure of preparing for a state exam.

3.3. Senior Cycle — Year 5 and 6, age 16-18

5th and 6th year form the Senior Cycle. At the end of the two years, students take the Leaving Certificate Examination, which is necessary for High School graduation and university entrance. Students normally sit this examination at the age of seventeen or eighteen.

The Leaving Certificate is also recognised and highly regarded by academic institutions in the UK, Europe, the United States, and across the world. Overseas students must take a minimum of six subjects including the two core subjects of English and Mathematics. Students can then choose their other subjects from a broad range, including science and technology, languages, art, and music, as well as more traditional subjects such as history and geography.

4. School Types

School types in Ireland
Students in a classroom at Colaiste Iosaef.

Most of our schools are based in the capital, Dublin, but we also have some situated across the country in small towns and rural areas. Often the type of experience our High School Programme students have is reflected in the location of the school they have chosen.

4.1. State Schools

State schools in Ireland can welcome overseas students from the EU and EEA. Some state schools on our High School Programme were founded by the Irish government. These are usually called Vocational Schools or Community Colleges and they are all mixed gender. Others were founded by religious orders and may have originally been private schools, but they are now fully funded by the Irish government. These schools are called Voluntary Sector and are more likely to be single gender.

4.2. Private Schools

Private schools in Ireland can welcome students from all over the world, including non-EU and non-EEA countries. The majority were founded by religious orders in either the Catholic or Protestant faith. Our partner private schools are a mixture of single gender and mixed gender schools. They receive some funding from the Irish government, but they also charge fees. Some of these schools offer Boarding House accommodation for students.

5. Host Families

Irish Host Families
Irish Host Families

We use a select group of friendly host families who are all very experienced in welcoming international students into their home. All families are inspected by ISI Dublin and are Garda (Police) vetted. Host family accommodation allows students to experience, at first hand, Irish family life and culture. Your child will be placed in a home that suits their individual needs and requirements.

6. Boarding House Accommodation

Many private schools offer Boarding House accommodation which allows overseas students to live in a caring and supportive environment, where there are plenty of opportunities to make friends and take part in lots of recreational activities.

7. Social Activities

Students on our High School Programme have ample opportunity to get involved in a range of extra-curricular activities, such as sports, music, theatre, musicals, excursions, and even trips abroad! ISI Dublin also organises seasonal parties for students, where they have the opportunity to meet other students on the programme.

We also provide weekly classes in English Language Support at our city-centre school every Wednesday evening. These classes focus on the language students need to study in an Irish High School as well as preparation for the Cambridge FCE and CAE examinations.

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