Clongowes Wood College
Clongowes Wood College is the second most expensive boarding school in the country, according to new figures.
The school near Clane charges €19,890 a year, which is less than St Columba’s in Whitechurch, Dublin, which charges up to €22,800 a year.
Glenstal Abbey, Co Limerick is third with fees of €19,300 and Rathdown School, Co Dublin is fourth on 19,275.
Clongowes is also the second biggest boarding school in the country with 433 pupils.
Kilkenny College is the biggest boarding school in the country (438 boarders), followed by King’s Hospital, Dublin (277) in third place.
A study found the taxpayer subsidised private schools by more than €90 million last year, according to the Irish Times.
The vast bulk of this sum went on salaries for teachers in the State’s 51 fee-paying schools, along with capital expenditure, grants for computer equipment and sports facilities.
Latest official enrollment statistics for the 2018-19 academic year show numbers attending private schools climbed to more than 25,600 pupils, up by almost 500 pupils on the previous year.
St Columba’s is the most expensive school for day pupils (€8,000), followed by Sutton Park in Dublin 13 (€7,900), Alexandra College, Dublin 6 (€7,386), St Gerard’s, Bray (€7,339) and Sandford Park (€7,150).
Department of Education figures show that during 2018, the State paid just over €91 million on salaries for teachers employed in fee-paying schools.
In addition, capital expenditure funding, ICT and sports grants for private schools amounted to more than €1 million.
While there have been calls from the Labour Party for State funding of teachers’ salaries in private schools to cease, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education estimated this would end up costing the taxpayer at least €23 million.
This would be as a result of some private schools opting to enter the free scheme and becoming entitled to State capitation grants and better pupil-teacher ratios.
Fees for Irish private schools are highly competitive compared with the UK, where charges are typically several times higher.
This is due partly to the fact that the salaries of most teachers in Irish private schools are paid for out of the public purse unlike the UK.
The largest fee-paying schools are mostly Dublin-based and include Blackrock College (1,018 pupils), followed by Belvedere College (1,004), St Andrew’s (988) and Wesley (914), according to the Irish Times.
Christian Brothers College in Cork (904) is the largest outside Dublin.