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Educational outcomes for students who finished second level in 2017

A major aspect of this report is on the focus of post-primary students’ outcomes, depending on whether they completed the Leaving Certificate Examination (LCE Completers) or left post-primary prior to completing the LCE (Early Leavers).

Some of the main findings are:

  • Just over three­quarters (77.4%) of Leaving Certificate Examination (LCE) Completers from the 2012/2013 academic year continue to engage with education generally in the first year after leaving post­primary education
  • Higher education accounts for almost half (49.0%) of year one outcomes for LCE Completers, while one­quarter (25.9%) are in Further education
  • Among Early Leavers (those that left post­primary [upper secondary] education prior to completing the LCE), over half (53.5%) continued to engage with education generally in year one
  • After six years, almost three­quarters (74.0%) of LCE Completers and just over two­fifths (43.8%) of Early Leavers were in substantial employment
  • Early Leavers transitioned to Further education at a rate of 24.7%.
  • After six years, 74.0% of LCE Completers were in substantial employment compared to 43.8% for Early Leavers.
  • Median weekly earnings for LCE completers were €410 after six years, while Early Leavers earned on average €345 per week.

Clearly, despite making steady progress, Ireland still faces challenges in the area of early school leaving and young people not engaged in employment, education or training (NEETs) in disadvantaged areas.  One of the main impacts of early school leaving is that the reduced earning capacity for these young people will follow them throughout their lives, resulting in negatvie social and economic outcomes.  Overall, the situation calls for a long-term policy response, which would encompass alternative approaches aimed at ensuring that people who leave school early have alternative means to acquire the skills required to progress in employment and to participate in society.