The demand for fee-paying secondary schools in the Republic of Ireland

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Bradfield, Tracy
Crowley, Frank
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Taylor & Francis
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Ireland’s fee-paying schools consistently rank highly in Ireland’s secondary school league tables. Evidence also notes that the alumni of fee-paying schools represent a large proportion of those in leadership positions in business, politics and the legal professions. This paper examines the factors that affect the decision of Irish households to enrol their children in fee-paying secondary schools in Ireland. The paper uses Irish Household Budget Survey data that cover three waves from the period 2004–2016. We examine the head of household’s education, occupation, income, marital status, the location of the household and temporal factors on the school choice decision. The main results indicate that fee-paying students are more likely to come from higher income, better educated and Dublin located households. This research highlights the significant driver that affluence may have in determining secondary school enrolment in Ireland. This self-selected affluent group effect may explain the performance disparities between fee-paying and non-fee-paying schools. The results enlighten any discussion around whether or not the Government should consider a transition to a fee-paying market or eliminate fee-paying schools altogether.
Education , Demand , Household , Fees , Fee-paying schools , Private education
Bradfield, T. and Crowley, F. (2019) 'The demand for fee-paying secondary schools in the Republic of Ireland', Irish Educational Studies, 38(3), pp. 359-375. doi: 10.1080/03323315.2019.1613251
© 2019 Educational Studies Association of Ireland. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Irish Educational Studies on 11 May 2019 available online: