Created on: February 22, 2024
Modified on: April 19, 2024

Children from about 12 to 18 years old attend a post-primary school. The minimum school leaving age is 16 or after 3 years of post-primary education, whichever is later.

It consists of three cycles: Junior Cycle (1st, 2nd & 3rd Year), Transition Year (4th Year if available in schools is optional) and Senior Cycle (5th & 6th Year).


Junior Cycle (1st, 2nd & 3rd Year):


The Junior Cycle typically spans the first three years of post-primary education.

Students study a broad range of subjects, including English, Irish (Gaeilge), Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, French, German, Spanish, Art, Music, Physical Education (PE) and Civic, Social, and Political Education (CSPE). Subjects can vary slightly between schools.

Assessment is usually conducted through a combination of Classroom-Based Assessments (CBA’s) and a State Examination at the end of the third year (June).


Transition Year (Optional):


Transition Year is an optional fourth year offered by some schools, designed to provide students with a break from formal study. It offers a range of activities, including work experience, community service, personal development, and educational trips.

The emphasis is on experiential learning and broadening students’ horizons.


Senior Cycle (5th & 6th Year):


The Senior Cycle spans the final two years of post-primary education. Students typically study a smaller number of subjects in greater depth, preparing for the Leaving Certificate Examinations. Core subjects include Irish (Gaeilge), English, and Mathematics, with a choice of other subjects based on individual interests and career aspirations.

Assessment culminates in the state-administered Leaving Certificate examinations at the end of the sixth year (June), which are crucial for progression to further education or employment.

Post primary education in Ireland aims to provide students with a well-rounded education, equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and qualifications necessary for future academic and career endeavours. Additionally, it encourages personal and social development, fostering critical thinking, creativity, and lifelong learning.


Regional Education and Language Teams (REALT)

The department has put in place a system of Regional Education and Language Teams hosted by the 16 regional education and training boards (ETBs) to support the education needs of children from Ukraine arriving in Ireland.

A core function of the REALT is to help families to find a school place. This work involves working with the families, school principals and communities to locate school places, providing relevant information as well as signposting to supports across the system.

Below is the email and phone contact details for REALT in County Kerry:

phone: 086 010 8222


If your child(ren) are registered in a post-primary school and you move to a new location, you must inform the school that you are moving.

If your child(ren) require support in accessing a school place in post-primary education, please fill in the online form below.

Support to Access School Places Form


If you have relocated in County Kerry to a new area in County Kerry and require assistance in accessing education in your new area, please fill in the online form below

Support to Access School Places Form