High School in Ireland & Homestay

IELA High School Programme


Come and let IELA–Dublin be your guide to Education in Ireland.

Irish high (secondary) schools are open for approximately nine months between September and June. The exact length of the programme will depend on the annual school calendar. There are three school semesters in the year which are September-December, January-March and March-June. See Department of Education website for more details – www.education.ie. A student can choose to come for: 1 semester: September-December or January-March 2 semesters: September-March or January-June Full Academic Year: September to June.

High (Secondary) School Education in Ireland

The Irish Educational System is highly accredited and recognised worldwide. We value education very highly which is reflected in the fact that a quarter of our population (1 million people) are in full-time education, with almost 80% of high school students successfully applying to university.

Overseas students who come to learn English in Ireland do so not only to take advantage of our excellent educational system but also to immerse themselves within the Irish Culture and at the same time improve their English to a level that will benefit the rest of their lives.  Attending a secondary (high) school here in Ireland integrating with Irish pupils and will have the opportunity to study a broad range of curricular and extra-curricular subjects.

The system is divided as follows:

Junior Cycle –This is a 3-year cycle for students aged 12 to 15 years. A broad range of subjects may be chosen such as Geography, History, Science, Business, Art, Music and Home Economics, and many more; English and Mathematics are compulsory. At the end of the three years, they will sit a state examination called the Junior Certificate.

Transition Year – This is a non-compulsory interim year between the Junior and Senior Cycles. It is a year which enables students to try many different activities and is not a typical academic year.   The idea of the transition year is to encourage students to be more independent learners before they start the Senior Cycle of second level. Students have the opportunity to experience a wide range of subjects and engage in work experience and community care work.

Senior Cycle – This is a 2-year cycle (for students aged between 17 and 19) which leads to a state examination called the Leaving Certificate. A minimum of 6 subjects must be taken, of which Mathematics, English and a European language are obligatory. Other subjects such as Accounting, Business, Economics, Art, Music, Chemistry, Physics and Biology and many others are also available to select from.  The Leaving Certificate examination allows for entry to Universities worldwide.

Extra-curricular activities

Education involves much more than academic achievement and all students are strongly encouraged to explore and develop their unique talents and interests in a variety of activities. IELA-Dublin have a comprehensive programme of co-curricular activities available within the locality of Sutton & Howth and your chosen school.

Tennis, Soccer, Irish sports (football, hurling, camogie) Squash, Golf, Hockey, Kayaking, Horse riding, Swimming, Gym memberships, Dancing & Ballet, Drama, Yoga, Scouts (land and sea scouts), Basketball, Guitar Lessons, Martial Arts, Rock School

If your chosen activity is not on our list be assured we can facilitate it.

Extra private language classes

One to one tuition is available from a qualified TEFL teacher upon request in the form of private English classes.  These can be organised to provide the style of English learning the student requires, such as conversation or grammar classes.

School reports

Schools have Parent/Teacher meetings at least once a year. An IELA staff member will attend the Parent/Teacher meeting and provide a full feedback report to the parent or agent. End of semester school reports will be sent from the school to IELA and forwarded onto parents.

Half-term and holiday arrangements for our High School Programme in Ireland

Students attending Boarding School are required to leave the school at Exodus/Closure weekends and mid-term breaks. IELA-Dublin provide high quality homestay placements from our panel of host families close to the students’ boarding school for these breaks. Host family costs are charged to the students’ contingency fund.

Arrival and departures

IELA-Dublin personally meet all our students on their arrival at Dublin Airport and offer the warmest of Irish welcomes. We transfer our students to their new host family accommodation and ensure that the student is comfortable in their new surroundings before we leave them and their new ‘family’. When it is time to go home, we’re there to say goodbye, leaving them with the happiest memories of their time with us in Ireland.   Arrival and departure transfers are included in the overall price.  Additional transfers are charged at €70 per trip.


Regular contact from an IELA co-ordinator

At IELA Dublin we understand how important it is to know that your child is safe and happy. Remember, we are parents too!

That is why we do everything we can to give our students the best possible experience during their time in Ireland. This is our IELA-Dublin promise.

Students will have regular contact with our staff, often over a cup of coffee or a hot chocolate, for an informal conversation about everything that is happening in their life at school, in their social activities, and with their host family. This is one of our personalised services which is unique to IELA-Dublin. We also encourage the students to regularly contact us via Whatsapp and let us know how everything is for them. We are also here for you – the parents – whenever you need to speak with us about your child.

Emergencies & 24-hour contact – Both parents and students are issued with a pack on arrival with contact information.  We are available from 8am to 19.00 each weekday and 24-hours in the event of an emergency.

Medical Issues IELA-Dublin will accompany the student to the local doctor (GP) or the Dentist if necessary and will assist with any documentation for insurance. Where possible the parents will be contacted before any medical treatment is provided (in emergency cases this may not be possible).

Contingency fund

The contingency fund is an expense account held by IELA for the duration of the student’s stay on the programme. The account is updated throughout the programme and parents/agents will be contacted if  additional money is required. The balance (if any) is refunded at the end of the student’s stay. The contingency fund is used for expenses that may arise during the programme such as school uniforms, books, medical/dental emergencies etc. The contingency fund is not to be used as a source of pocket money. For students on a 1 year programme, the contingency fund fee is €1200 and for students attending the programme for 1 or 2 semesters, the contingency fund fee is €800. The contingency fund is in addition to the listed fees.

What is included in our High School Programme Ireland Package?

  1. Enrolment in chosen high/secondary school
  2. School fees
  3. IELA-Dublin 24-hour unique personalised Guardianship service.
  4. High quality host family accommodation – students are carefully matched to their host family.
  5. Assistance with visa and registration service for non-EU students
  6. 24-hour emergency contact
  7. Conscientious monitoring and co-ordination of the student’s movements (including travel) throughout the programme
  8. Attendance at parent/teacher meetings.
  9. Regular reports on the student’s academic and cultural integration progress.
  10. Processing of documents as required for state exam fees
  11. Assistance in buying school books and uniform
  12. Management of student’s contingency fund

What’s not included?

  • Private medical insurance – compulsory
  • Additional transfers during the programme (apart from arrival/departure)
  • Flights to/from Ireland
  • Local travel costs
  • Extra-curricular activities, sports/school excursions
  • School Uniform
  • Sports Uniform
  • Sports Equipment as per school requirements
  • Christmas and Easter Holiday accommodation. IELA-Dublin can arrange host family accommodation during these periods if requested. (*some boarding schools have ‘Exodus’ rules meaning the school closes and students have to find alternative accommodation. This is where IELA can also assist in finding suitable homestay accommodation)
  • School text books, copy books and subject specific materials (e.g. art supplies, maths instruments)
  • Pocket money for personal use on items such as socialising, clothing, cinema, cosmetics and mobile phone costs.
  • Accompanied parental visits to schools, prior to placement. Price upon request.
  • Summer storage for academic students.
Contact us here