32% of Trinity’s most recent cohort of first years from Irish schools were educated at a fee-paying school, according to recently published feeder school tables. Five such schools – Wesley, St Andrew’s, Blackrock, Belvedere and the High School – together account for just over 9%, and 13 sent more than a quarter of their year to Trinity.
The tables rank Irish schools by the number of students they send to high-points courses (defined as the courses of the seven universities, DIT, RCSI, and the teacher education colleges).
Topping the list is the Teresian School, Dublin 4, which had all of its graduating class accepted in “high points” courses, followed by Sandford Park, Dublin 6, and Glenstal Abbey, a boarding school in County Limerick. Of the top 20, only three are non-fee paying or Irish-language medium schools.
In almost all cases, annual fees for private schools are greater than the student registration charge at third level.
Despite the continued dominance of private schools, “secondary schools in a number of disadvantaged areas are having increasing success in helping students graduate to higher education”, according to the Irish Times. That success is attributed to “stronger links between post-primary and third-level institutions, more sharply-focused guidance counselling, and higher student expectations through performance targets.”
Trinity offers a number of services for socioeconomically disadvantaged students through the Trinity Access Programme (TAP). 6% of places are reserved for those who qualify, and they are eligible for a concession on points.
Clíona Hannon, director of TAP, told Trinity News that “some of the schools we are working with are facing significant challenges relating to under-resourcing and the impact of outside school factors related to disadvantage and poverty. We have no doubt there are many, many more students out there who could benefit from a Trinity education, if they were in properly resourced educational environments from much earlier in their development.”
Trinity College remains a university dominated by Dubliners. For the most recent academic year for which there is data, 2013/14, 55% of domestic students had an address in Dublin and less than a quarter were resident outside of Leinster.