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For Written Answer on : 09/04/2024
Question Number(s): 422 Question Reference(s): 13938/24
Department: Education
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Minister for Education further to Parliamentary Question No. 122 of 13 February 2024, when she expects publication of the latest enrolment projection report for primary and post-primary schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


We have just published our latest projection report for primary and post-primary and it can be found on our website at the link below;

The ‘Projections of Enrolment’ report from the Department of Education’s statistics section covers the 2023-2042 period.

According to the report, the number of pupils in primary school is likely to decline from around 558,000 this year to around 533,000 in 2026 and to around 499,000 in 2030.

The projected number of post-primary pupils is expected to increase from around 417,000 this year to around 430,000 in 2026. The figure is then projected to decline to 418,000 pupils in 2030.

Peaks are therefore expected to be reached in the number of primary school enrolments this year and post-primary enrolments in 2026.

It is anticipated that there will be some 5,000 fewer children entering junior infants in 2026 than in 2022.

As Minister I am pleased to welcome the publication by my Department of this report on projections of full-time enrolment at primary and post-primary level from 2023 – 2042. This comprehensive resource will be a vital tool in helping to inform planning for the most effective and efficient provision of education to pupils and students in our primary and post-primary schools over the coming years.

A year-on-year increase in enrolment numbers is currently being experienced by our primary schools, as a result of increased inward migration. The Department in particular thanks school communities and stakeholders across Ireland for their engagement, collaboration and support in accommodation over 18,000 pupils who have arrived in Ireland from Ukraine. As a reflection of school-age population demographic trends, enrolments are projected to fall over the coming years.

While the national trend for primary school enrolments show a peak in 2018, this enrolment trend is not universal across all School Planning Areas or primary schools. The Department is cognisant of local pressures for additional school places that will arise in rapidly growing areas of the country.

The ‘Projections of Enrolment’ report covers the 2024-2042 period. It presents three different potential scenarios for pupil enrolment numbers, based on different levels of net migration (M) and the birth/fertility rate (F). The Department believes that the most likely outcome is the “M1F2” scenario, which is a high level of net migration and a steady birth rate from 2025 onwards.

The previous report “Projections of Enrolment report” was published in 2021. Given the ongoing uncertainty around the impact of the situation in Ukraine on future migration, this latest enrolment report is to be viewed as interim and will be updated again at the end of 2024.

The tables in the report showing the different enrolment scenarios, including the M1F2 scenario which the Department believes is the most likely, are available at the link below (