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Does anyone here have experience of how UK secondary schools compare with Irish secondary schools?

(12 Posts)
dinosaur Wed 27-Mar-13 22:31:07

In particular, has anyone moved their DCs from a UK secondary school to an Irish secondary school? Is it possible? What's the best time to do it? Would end of year 9 (UK) be a terrible time to move?

mathanxiety Thu 28-Mar-13 00:27:18

Year 9 would be just about the last year I would do it. If it could be done at least a year earlier that would be preferable.

Your DC would be landing in the middle of the Junior Cert syllabus and would take the exam at probably age 15. The curriculum is broad with some required subjects (Irish, English lang and literature and mathematics) with optional subjects including choices from languages, arts and humanities, science, applied science, and business. A DC who has never done Irish before would get an exemption. All students have to take the mandatory subjects and at least two of the optional subjects. Most take about seven subjects. Subjects can be taken at honours or general level and in the case of mandatory subjects there is an additional foundation level. A bright child should be fine taking honours level courses.

Not all schools offer every single subject on the list of available subjects and some options may be subject to timetabling constraints.

The Leaving Cert (taken at 17/18) is also broad based and entry to an Irish university requires modern language, humanities, science(s) as well as the mandatory maths and English and Irish (except those with exceptions).

chipmonkey Thu 28-Mar-13 00:54:15

What's year 9? How old are they then?
I'm in Ireland, children enter secondary school at age 12. There is a 3 year curriculum for the Junior cert
math, my boys did/are doing thirteen subjects for Junior Cert! Far too many, IMO, particularly for ds1 who has ADD.
I have no experience of UK schools but here, for the Leaving Cert they do seven subjects, three mandatory and four chosen subjects.
If your dc is over 11 and has never studied Irish, they will be eligible for an Irish exemption, as are some children with dyslexia or other SNs.

mathanxiety Thu 28-Mar-13 01:47:20

God yes, seven subjects was for the Leaving Cert and you can do more for the Junior Cert but at the same time, take care not to overdo it. Usually you would have an inkling about a career by the time you choose LC subjects and a corresponding awareness of what subjects you would need to have a chance of a place on a 3rd level course. If you don't get at least a C on a higher level paper in JCert a school would try to dissuade you from taking that subject at hons level for Leaving Cert so working hard and being committed is important.

Although there are pretty insistent proposals to change the Junior Cert or scrap it entirely..

As far as fitting in -- depends on the child and to some extent on the school and where it is. Some schools would be more likely than others to feel like home immediately. Where are you thinking of going?

(Year 9 = 13/14)

chipmonkey Thu 28-Mar-13 02:08:43

Think at 13/14 they might be better going into first year? Then skipping Transition year later on? Dh's niece moved schools after doing a year in one school, the new school was just starting so only had first years, so she didn't have the option of doing second year. She did really well, got A's in everything and I think she liked the feeling of excelling so worked very hard from then on!

Movingtimes Thu 28-Mar-13 12:14:11

I don't think first year would be challenging enough for a DC who had completed Y7 and Y8 in a UK secondary school. But OP is asking about the end of Y9, ie a DC who would be starting Y10, the beginning of the GCSE cycle, in the UK.
I can't speak for every subject, but in my subject, English, the Junior Certificate exam is far more closely equivalent to the standard at the end of KS3 (Y9) in the UK than to GCSE. So based on that I don't see there would be any issue with a DC starting third year in Ireland and taking their Junior Cert at the end of the year.

mathanxiety Thu 28-Mar-13 16:27:14

An example from 2009 of Paper 2 (literature), higher level, English

2007 here

While the questions follow the same sort of pattern they leave scope for a well prepared student to demonstrate ability to write and analyse. Otoh, answers could be quite infantile and short, but this would not go down well. Demonstrating close familiarity with the texts is essential. This can involve using quotes to support your answer in the questions that are not based on a given text. There would be new material for your DC to cover and perhaps commit to memory in less time than the rest of the classmates would have had. The pieces that are included on the paper are of course only a fraction of what is on the syllabus.

Paper 1 honours level from 2006 -- language/communication. Again, quite open ended.

stleger Thu 28-Mar-13 16:46:57

Subjects like history and geography have a particularly Irish slant though, so you would have to look at them carefully, also the CSPE civics thing. Also science is a combined subject at JC.
However... schools would acknowledge that a student had moved in recently, and wouldn't take JC results as a true reading of performance. Having said that my ds had a Russian friend who arrived in 2nd year and did really well. Ds did KS2 in England when we were there for a term - after 4 days in school - he did fine too.

dinosaur Fri 29-Mar-13 20:22:00

Thank you all - that's really interesting.

Yes, there's the "fitting in" aspect, as well as purely educational aspects.

It would be Donegal.

chipmonkey Sat 30-Mar-13 01:38:35

When I was in school, I studied no UK geography at all!shock We did Ireland, continental Europe and the UK was "optional" which, when I look back seems totally bonkers as the UK is the only European country, other than France which I had to navigate by car.

chipmonkey Sat 30-Mar-13 01:39:53

My friend moved from Meath to Donegal and her DC's settled really well into school. Not quite the same as moving from another country, mind, but there really was no problem at all.

mathanxiety Sat 30-Mar-13 03:39:04

Same here wrt British geography Chipmonkey.

The whole island might as well not have existed except as an example of certain geological phenomena that came up in geography for the Leaving Cert, but the location of Liverpool, for instance, was something I never heard mentioned, but my grandfather's brother lived there his entire adult life; his children, my mum's cousins, spent the WW2 years on the farm in Ireland. If not for the family connection I might have difficulty picking Liverpool out on a map.

The industrial revolution section of the old Inter Cert history course had a lot about the transformation of Britain into the first industrial superpower and I suppose I could have extrapolated from that the location of cities and towns and what and where the different counties are but details like that were beside the point for the course. Yes -- it made travel in the UK interesting.

However, I think the favour was returned. I have cousins who lived in London their whole lives whose mental picture of Ireland was very foggy thanks to lack of any sort of schoolwork on the subject.

Fitting in? -- be yourself. A lot of people in Donegal would have masses of rellies all over the UK. It's a county that was always up there in the emigration total. You may well find that you know someone's brother's wife's sister in law, etc.

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