Your Irish School

In our high school programme, ELP Ireland deals with public secondary schools located in towns in County Cork, mainly in beautiful West Cork. The objective of placing students in small towns is so that the students live in a smaller place where there are less international students and, as a result, they have to practise more English. In addition, they are safer. However, at the direct request of the parents, ELP Ireland can place students in private schools, or in Cork City. Below, you can see examples of our partner secondary schools.

Mount Saint Michael

  • Location : Rosscarbery, Co. Cork
  • Type : Mixed
  • No. Students : 400
  • Website :

De La Salle

  • Location : Macroom, Co. Cork
  • Type : Boys
  • No. Students : 310
  • Website :

Sacred Heart

  • Location : Clonakilty, Co. Cork
  • Type : Girls
  • No. Students : 520
  • Website :
In general, Irish secondary schools have the following structure:
Junior Cycle 1st Year 1º ESO
2nd Year 2º ESO
3rd Year & Junior Certificate 3º ESO
Senior Cycle 4th Year (Transition Year) 4º ESO
5th Year 1º Bachillerato
6th Year & Leaving Certificate 2º Bachillerato

Junior Cycle

During the first cycle of secondary education (1st Year, 2nd Year and 3rd Year), students normally study between 9 and 12 subjects to prepare for an educational qualification called ‘The Junior Certificate’ that is organised and managed by the State, at the end of 3rd Year.

Transition Year (4th Year)

Transition Year (TY) is a 1 year programme that can be taken the year after the Junior Certificate. Transition Year is offered in the majority of Irish schools. Transition Year focuses on the personal , social, educational and vocational development of the students. Students study a variety of subjects. In addition, students study non-academic materials such as First Aid and self defence. They also practice many types of different sports like hill-walking and horse riding. Voluntary Work is a requirement in TY in many schools, with students helping out in local communities and charities. Students also have the opportunity to do a few weeks work experience during the year. The idea of TY is strange for people from many countries, as the same programme doesn’t exist there ELP recommends the Transition Year Programme as the best year for students to spend in Ireland.

Senior Cycle

During the senior cycle of secondary education, (5th and 6th years), students typically study at least 6 subjects in preparation for an educational qualification called ‘The Leaving Certificate’ which is organised and run by the state and is the main way to access university. At the end of 6th year, students sit ‘The Leaving Certificate’ exams, which consist of one or two written exams in all of the subjects they have studied. Some subject may have a practical or oral element as well. Most subjects are offered at two levels- higher and ordinary levels.

  • End of August: school starts (Students arrive 2/3 days before).
  • End of October: 1 week mid-term break.
  • Christmas: 2.5 weeks holidays.
  • February: 1 week mid-term break.
  • Easter:2 weeks holidays.
  • End of May: school finishes (Students go home 2/3 days later).