The 6 Best Private Schools in Dublin
For sure, choosing the right private school for your child is no piece of cake. Selecting a good institution can greatly help your child succeed in his or her chosen career path later on.
To take some of the burden off of you, we’ve rounded up the best private schools in Dublin in this article. You’ll find a mixture of co-ed and single-gender schools among our choices, as well as their pros and cons, FAQs about education, among others.
And because we know you’d like to know how much you’ll need to spend for your child’s learning, we’ve listed down some of our picks’ fees right down below.
How Much Do Private Schools in Dublin Cost?
You can view the table below to give you an idea of how much it’ll cost you to enrol your child in our featured choices.
Note 1: The table below doesn’t include other school costs such as uniforms, boarding, and more.
Note 2: 2019/2020 day fees for Belvedere College S.J. and others were taken from the Irish Times.
|Nord Anglia International School Dublin||Enrolment fee – €1,500|
Early years – €11,620 to €13,720
Primary – €13,720 to €14,490
Secondary – €16,660 to €18,340
|Belvedere College S.J.||2019/2020 day fees – €6,040|
|Castleknock College||2019/2020 day fees – €6,214|
|John Scottus National School (Primary)||2019/2020 day fees – €5,650|
|Alexandra College||2019/2020 day fees – €7,534 |
Application fee: €150
|Rathdown School||Senior Day: €7,450|
Junior Day: €7,450
Learn more here
The Best Private Schools in Dublin
Now that you have an idea of how much private school costs, let’s now go over our recommendations for Dublin’s best private schools!
1. Nord Anglia International School Dublin
|COURSES||Early years, primary, middle, and senior|
|ADDRESS||South County Business Park, Leopardstown, Dublin 18, D18 T672|
|CONTACT DETAILS||+353 1 544 2323 (General enquiries)|
+353 1 544 2323 (Admission enquiries)
|OPERATING HOURS||8:30 am to 5:00 pm (Monday – Friday)|
Nord Anglia International School Dublin (NAIS) is just one of the 73 schools of Nord Anglia Education across 30 countries worldwide. Educating both boys and girls, they provide learning for students ages 3 to 17 and have a maximum number of 600 students.
As is expected of private institutions, they only have a small student to teacher ratio—8:1, with 20 as the average class size for early years students; 22 for primary; and 22 for secondary students.
Aside from English and Irish, the languages they teach include French, Spanish, German, and Mandarin, with English as the language of instruction.
Because NAIS is an international school, it’s ideal for expatriates and immigrants. It’s also a great choice if you want to immerse your child with students who come from different cultural backgrounds.
And because they offer International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes which are also offered by almost 4,000 schools in more than 140 countries, your child’s education doesn’t have to stop should you need to move again outside of Ireland.
Children belonging to the early years age group (3 to 6 years old) can learn and play with other kids their age in NAIS Dublin’s facilities which include a music and arts room, dance and drama studios, nature space, library, as well as a wide outdoor space.
Meanwhile, students ages 6 to 11 and 11 to 16 follow the IB Primary Years Programme and the IB Middle Years Programme, respectively.
And to help better prepare older students for tertiary education, they can enrol in NAIS Dublin’s IB Diploma Programme.
Additionally, we like how they balance both arts and sciences through their collaboration with The Juilliard School with regard to performing arts education.
Aside from The Juilliard School, they’ve also collaborated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to help provide a new approach for learning STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics).
- IB World School accredited
- Small teacher to student ratio
- Collaborations with the MIT and Juilliard School
- 10 min from nearest train station
- Has Global Campus (exclusive online learning platform)
- Provides learning for early years up to secondary education
- Not for parents who don’t approve of co-ed
- No scholarships offered currently
Check out some comments from the parents of NAIS Dublin’s students:
“We love this school! My middle school daughter loves going to school everyday. She is academically challenged, creatively stimulated and able to exercise leadership skills in ways we never thought possible at a school. And this happens on a daily basis! Our dinner discussions are full of exciting new things she’s learned and done at school that day so seeing your child be so happy in a learning environment, well you can’t ask for more than that! Highly recommend!” -Erin Zhurkin
“We have two children at Nord Anglia. They both love coming to school every day. The staff know them as individuals and know how to get the best out of them. They are well cared for and thriving in very small class sizes. We took a leap of faith joining Nord Anglia as founding students last September — to date, I have no doubt, it is the best decision we have ever made.” -Amanda B
2. Belvedere College S.J.
|COURSES||Junior and senior|
|ADDRESS||6 Great Denmark Street, Dublin 1|
|CONTACT DETAILS||+353 1 858 6600 |
Founded way back in the 19th century, Belvedere College S.J. is a voluntary Catholic secondary school solely for boys. As an educational institution under the trusteeship of the Society of Jesus, it follows a Jesuit approach to education.
Utilising a curriculum that’s specifically created for boys in both junior and senior levels, some of the subjects they teach include business studies, music, classics, and coding, aside from other subjects such as mathematics, science, and the like.
And if your child has ‘additional educational needs,’ the Department of Education and Skills (DES) has given Belvedere College S.J. additional teaching support hours weekly for students who require further support.
Moreover, Belvedere College S.J. is a great choice for parents who’d like their son to excel not just academically but athletically as this private school offers sports programmes for 15 sports.
25 metre, 5-lane swimming pool and a maple wood-floored sports hall for basketball, badminton, and more—these are just some of the sports facilities they have.
On the other hand, another noteworthy programme of Belvedere College S.J.’s curriculum is their urban farming and agriculture science.
In this short course, students are not just able to study more about plant growth but learn how to come up with other ways to maximise crop yields not employed in more traditional means of farming.
- Extensive sports programmes
- Many opportunities for parent participation
- Offers short course in urban farming
- Limited to junior and senior levels
- Cash is not accepted as payment for all meals, snacks, etc.
Below are some comments from their students:
“Belvedere is a place I have changed so much in and I am certain I will never change that much again. Belvedere helped me to truly discover who I am and where my talents lie. I now know what I wish to pursue in life and all credit for this is due to the school. I learned so much from my time in Belvedere, but most importantly I also enjoyed it. I loved time with my class, with the teachers, and doing all the different activities I was able to do in Belvedere.” -Anonymous
“The school certainly provided what was promised. A Jesuit education. I feel that I have matured a lot as a person in an academic sense, a spiritual sense, and a moral sense. The various activities and programmes that the school offers provide an equal opportunity for everyone to get involved. I have no doubt I will miss the school but I also look forward to what lies ahead.” -Anonymous
3. Castleknock College
|COURSES||Junior, Leaving Certificate, and Transition Year|
|ADDRESS||College Road, Castleknock, Dublin 15, D15 PD95|
|CONTACT DETAILS||+353 1 8213051|
+353 1 8213222
|OPERATING HOURS||8:00 am to 4:00 pm (Monday – Friday)|
70 acres of parkland space, great sports facilities, as well as author-teachers—these are three of Castleknock College’s main highlights.
Another Catholic all-boys secondary school, Castleknock College is located amidst almost 30 hectares of mature parkland and houses, 10 rugby pitches, an athletics and running track, and recovery and physiotherapy rooms, among other sports facilities.
Other facilities they have include science labs, music rooms, a dedicated band room and recording studio, technical graphics rooms, and a concert hall, to name some.
This school is particularly ideal for rugby enthusiasts as rugby is their sport of choice and is mandatory for first and second-year students. They also offer other sports such as table tennis, cross-country running, golf, rowing, etc.
Moreover, Castleknock College boasts of having 7 teachers in its staff who are also authors of student textbooks, particularly in mathematics.
With a 1:14 teacher to student ratio, their average number of students per class is 22. About 120 students per year enrol in this private school.
Some of the subjects included in the junior cycle curriculum are Irish, science, history, SPHE, CSPE, technical graphics, and business studies.
Meanwhile, agricultural science, applied mathematics, physics, accounting, and economics are some of the subjects for the Leaving Certificate.
And if you’re tight on budget, another great thing about Castleknock College is that they offer a scholarship scheme. To apply, you can download the scholarship application form from their website and fill it out.
- Spacious outdoor space
- Offers scholarship
- Wide range of sports facilities
- Accepts non-Catholic students
- Education is limited to junior and senior levels
Take a look at what their clients have to say about them:
“Very good school. Well worth the fees. The atmosphere is very good for the students and the teachers are very nice people. Would definitely recommend.” -Nato Skato
“Brilliant school with great academic record. Would recommend. Worth the fees.” -Cliona Fitzsimons
“Fantastic place to go to school with great after school activities for everybody. And rugby of course.” -John Stack
4. John Scottus National School (Primary)
|ADDRESS||47-49 Northumberland Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4|
|CONTACT DETAILS||+353 (1) 660 9309|
+353 87 908 9573
|OPERATING HOURS||8:00 am to 3:15 pm (Monday – Friday)|
John Scottus School offers a vision of education which gives young people the self mastery, strength of character and compassion to contribute meaningfully to the world around them.
It is an education based on the belief that each child can come to discover and express their innate gifts, can contribute something unique and exceptional, and has at their heart a limitless potential.
Their motto ‘Laetus Impraesens’ – Delight in the Present expresses the importance they attribute to being fully present and connected in every moment. At John Scottus, they emphasise the regular practice of meditation and mindfulness which strengthens focus, enhances awareness and connects the student to a sense of quiet presence whether in stillness or in activity. They see this as an essential tool for living a fulfilled life.
John Scottus School has a beautiful countryside location. The pre-school, private primary and secondary school share the one 14 acre campus.
The current private primary annual fee is €4770 (there will be an increase in August 2023).
- Afterschool services available
- Collaborates with Green-Schools
- Free books and stationary
- Nut-free menus
- Multi-denominational school
- Not for parents who don’t approve of co-ed
- Focus on philosophy
Check out a number of rave reviews from the parents of JSNS’s students:
“The ethos of this school, its teachers and faculty are amazing. We’ve been very happy to have our child at John Scottus.” -Mister Gustav
“Amazing school! To be a small school, it offers so much. My kids loved the smaller class sizes and the familiarity of all the staff and other students who attended John Scottus. Very pleased with what they learned academically, but more impressed by all the soft skills and life lessons they gained from being here. Each child is appreciated and challenged based on their own strengths and areas of opportunities. Students are taught to be good citizens who take care of the earth, themselves and each other. Truly a unique place. Can’t recommend it highly enough.” -Emily Hill
5. Alexandra College
|COURSES||Preschool, junior, and senior|
|ADDRESS||Milltown Road, Dublin 6|
96 Upper Rathmines Road, Rathmines, Dublin 6
|CONTACT DETAILS||Junior school office:|
Senior school office:
|OPERATING HOURS||8:30 am to 5:00 pm (Monday – Friday)|
Alexandra College was established in 1866 and welcomes students from all faiths with a Church of Ireland ethos. It’s an all-girls private boarding and day school situated along Milltown Road.
Students who live outside of Dublin and even Ireland won’t have to worry about transportation as Alexandra College also offers boarding for students from age 10.
Their boarding residence is equipped with an alarm as well as a smoke detector for each room. A qualified nurse is also included in their residence staff aside from other staff members that hold FETAC First Aid qualifications.
Alexandra College also offers flexible boarding options. Depending on the need, students can board for either 5 days, a whole week, or even for a few days or weeks.
Moreover, this private, all-girls school is ideal for students who’d like to complete their primary and secondary education in one institution. Alexandra College provides learning for 2 preschool years: one class each for 3-year olds and 4-year olds.
Meanwhile, their junior school follows the national primary curriculum set by the DES. Some of the mandatory subjects for junior students include modern language, history, information technology, and choir.
Senior students have the option to choose 3 subjects from the subjects included in the science, business, and social studies group. What’s more, Alexandra College has a cross-disciplinary curriculum where students learn sports, performing arts, technology, and so on.
Additionally, students who lack funds can still have the opportunity to study here through Alexandra College’s entrance scholarship and Rubicon scholarship (in partnership with Rubicon Capital Advisors).
- Offers boarding
- Provides language support for international students
- Offers afterschool and weekend study sessions
- Offers scholarship programmes
- Education is from junior to senior levels
- Offers family discounts
- Welcomes students of all faiths
- Short stay boarding is dependent on room availability
- New students (1st, 2nd, or 3rd year) are required to buy an iPad for class
Take a look at what their clients have to say about studying at Alexandra College:
“A big thank you to the staff involved for organising the Dyslexia Camp, it has been a wonderful week of learning. My daughter is delighted with herself, her confidence has taken a turn for the better. Thank you.” -Deborah MC Unkel
“This is an excellent school. The teachers care and give personal attention to their students. The student body treat each other respectfully. The school really fosters a positive experience for the kids.” -C H
“I have fantastic memories from my school days in Alexandra College. Brilliant school and facilities where fantastic. Made forever friends which I am still in touch with. High recommend this school.” -Jan Gallagher Corrigan
6. Rathdown School
|ADDRESS||Upper Glenageary Road|
GPS Coordinates: N53.277434 W6.130955
|CONTACT DETAILS||Main Office Senior/Junior School: +353 (0)1 285 3133|
Boarding House Staff: +353 (0)1 285 3133
Junior School Extended Day Care: +353 (0)1 201 3930
Email: [email protected]
|OPERATING HOURS||Contact for more details|
Rathdown School was founded in 1973 and was established by merging four Dublin Girls’ Schools. Every girl is assigned to a particular house- Hillcourt, Hall, Park, and Glengara, each of which commemorates one of the four original schools
They deliver a broad range of academic subjects in small class groups, combined with a wide and varied program of extra-curricular activities. They are a voluntary, fee-paying school for girls, that provides education to both boarding and day pupils.
What’s great about this school is it is set within 16 acres of beautiful grounds in Glenageary, Co. Dublin on a hill overlooking the sea at Dún Laoghaire with inland views of the Wicklow mountains. Plus, it is within reach of Dublin City, surrounding cities, and Dublin Airport.
People love to enroll their daughters at Rathdown School because they welcome students and families of all religions and accept their traditions and cultures. According to their surveys to the parents of the students, 94% are happy with the school they’ve chosen for their daughter, 96% strongly agree that their daughter/s enjoy being at school, 97% believe that there is a friendly and positive atmosphere at school, and 95% of the parents are pleased with the progress of their child/ren.
They take pride in being one of the best all-girls schools in Dublin since they believe that being in a private and exclusive school makes girls feel more comfortable within their own skin. Another reason is with only girls in a classroom and on the sports field, intellectual and physical confidence can grow at the same time.
- Offer a supportive and nurturing environment
- All-girls school
- Welcome Declarations of Interest throughout the year for 1st Year Senior School with formal applications for 1st Year available for submission in October of the year your Daughter is attending P6 (6th Class)
- Also welcome application forms throughout the year for the Junior School and 2nd to 5th Year Senior School
- Has a wide variety of extra-curricular activities
- Offers day and boarding facilities
- Scholarships are available
- Open to people from any religion
- Offers extended days
- Family discounts are available
- Operating hours are unavailable on their website
Take a look at what people have to say about Rathdown School:
“Rathdown has enabled our daughter to become a strong, self-assured young lady. This is not only because it offers her a good education, great friends and so many activities to keep her active, but most importantly because she is allowed to be whom she is, not to have to wear a mask and pretend she is someone different just to be accepted, she doesn’t feel judged, she just feels like herself. I don’t know how you have created this ethos but thank you and maybe you can try bottling it for other schools so that all young people can feel this way, safe and secure in school life. Thank you so much to you and all your wonderful staff!“
How to Choose the Right Private School for Your Child
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you search for the right private school for your child:
1. Type of private school
This will depend on your needs or preferences. For instance, some schools have a faith-based ethos, such as Catholic private schools.
If you come from a different religious background, check first if such schools accept non-Catholic students.
Another important consideration is whether you prefer to enrol your child in a single-gender or co-education school.
It’s also a good idea to check out other facilities a private school has to offer. For instance, if your child is into sports, performing arts, or music, see if they have the necessary facilities for these activities.
And if you live far from the school’s location, it’s better if the school also provides boarding.
3. Teacher to student ratio
Since you’ll be paying more for your child’s education, make sure they get the best by checking the school’s class size and teacher to student ratio.
A larger class size may make it harder for your child to focus and receive attention and support from his or her teacher.
Private schools don’t have to be exclusively for upper-class families. If tight on budget, look up schools that offer scholarship programmes and see if your child is eligible.
FAQs about the Best Private Schools in Dublin
And that concludes our list of the best private schools in Dublin! We hope this review has helped you in any way in your search.
And if you know of other notable private schools that should have landed on our list as well, feel free to contact us. We’ll check them out ASAP!
Is your child in need of a dental checkup? We’ve also made a review for that—see our list for the best kids dentist in Dublin!