International Students

At Glenstal we warmly welcome international students to our community.

On average, approximately 15% of the school population each year is made up of students from abroad, including the Irish diaspora.  We seek to manage the mix of students of different nationalities carefully, so as to provide maximum opportunities for integration in school life. 

We welcome enquiries from parents/guardians, agents and schools.

Why choose an Irish education?

The Irish Education system has a worldwide reputation for high quality education. This is borne out in the OECD’s PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) for 2015 – a survey that is conducted every three years and in which Ireland ranked as follows:

Reading – third among OECD countries, Ireland ranked second among EU countries and fifth out of all 72 countries which participated in the PISA study

Science - Irish students ranked thirteenth among OECD countries, sixth among EU countries and nineteenth out of all participating countries

Mathematics - Irish students ranked thirteenth among the OECD countries, ninth among EU countries and eighteenth out of all countries

Our Exam Results

The Leaving Certificate points obtained by our students exceed the national average each year.  In 2018, our students attained an average of 480 points.  The six best grades are counted as points for entry to Irish universities or converted for UCAS (the UK Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) or other international universities. 

●        480 Points is equal to 3 x A* (UK's A Levels)

●        100 Points is equal to 36 UCAS Tariff Points

●        One A* is equal to 56 UCAS Tariff Points

Irish Secondary Education Explained - Senior School for students aged 12 – 18 Years

Students need to have reached 12 years of age by the 1st July of the year of entry into 1st Year (Year 1). Second-level education consists of a three-year Junior Cycle followed by a three-year Senior Cycle, which includes Transition Year.

Students will typically have reached the following ages by 1st July of the year of entry:

Age in Years Year Group Ireland UK Equivalent US Equivalent
12-13 1st Year Year 8 7th Grade
13-14 2nd Year Year 9 8th Grade
14-15 3rd Year    Year 10    9th Grade
15-15 4th Year (TY) Year 11 GCSE 10th Grade
16-17 5th Year Year 12 A Level/IB 11th Grade
17-18 6th Year* Year 13 A Level/IB 12th Grade

*Note we do not accept applications for our 6th Year

International students will study for the Irish state exams, namely the Junior Certificate and the Leaving Certificate whilst in Glenstal Abbey School. Boys sit the Junior Certificate at the end of Third Year and the Leaving Certificate at the end of Sixth Year

The Junior Cycle is a three year programme which supports the delivery of quality, inclusive and relevant education to students, with wellbeing at the heart of this vision.  Glenstal Abbey School, with a 16:1 student/teacher ratio, is an optimal educational setting to experience this new Junior Cycle programme.

Transition Year (also known as TY) takes place in Fourth Year and offers students a broad range of educational experiences.  The focus is on experiential learning, cultural experiences, resilience development, social responsibility, collaboration, life skills, work experience and much more. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the President's Award, known as Gaisce, which is similar to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in the UK. In addition to the core subjects of Irish, English and Maths, students will also sample all Leaving Certificate subjects on offer at Glenstal.

The Leaving Certificate is a two-year syllabus, which culminates in the Leaving Certificate examination, similar to the UK’s A Levels.  The Leaving Certificate involves studying seven subjects. At Glenstal, all subjects are taught at Higher level, with the exception of Irish and Mathematics, where there is streaming into Higher and Ordinary level classes.  The Irish Leaving Certificate is widely accepted for entry to universities around the world.  Our Guidance Counsellor will assist students in preparing applications to national and international universities.

The School year consists of three terms

  • The Christmas Term – from the end of August to December (Christmas)
  • The Easter Term - from early January to Easter
  • The Summer Term - from after Easter to the beginning of June

In the middle of the Christmas and Easter terms there is a short holiday - mid-term break - for one week.

Useful Links


All students whose home is overseas or whose parents currently live abroad must have an Irish-based guardian, regardless of the duration of their stay at the school.

Please refer to the Glenstal Abbey School Guardianship Policy

Regardless of age, when a student’s parents are resident outside Ireland the student must have an educational guardian in Ireland.  If you are not appointing a relative or friend to act as guardian, our School Administrator can provide details of those providing guardianship services in Ireland. (NB: Details are provided for information only and are not to be understood as a recommendation by the school).   You are required to notify the School Administrator when the appointed guardian is out of the country.  Guardians must be over 25 years of age and be resident in Ireland.  You should ensure that appointed guardians are vetted by the Garda (Irish police) National Vetting Bureau, undergo Child Safeguarding Training and have a Child Protection Policy and Student Care Plan.


Irish families living abroad and those from EU member states do not require a visa to study in Ireland.

If you are not a citizen of the EU, you should check the visa regulations for your country here.


You are responsible for arranging all travel to and from Ireland. The School Administrator can arrange transfers to and from airports as required.

Travel is coordinated by the School Administrator.  Any queries regarding travel should be emailed to

Airline tickets must be purchased by parents and a copy of the e-ticket emailed to the School Administrator two weeks before each break.


Please click here to view the Fee Summary for the 2019/20 academic year.

Annual International Fees

European Union Residents

Includes, Tuition, Boarding, School Books & Stationery, Bed Linen and Laundry Supplies



Non-European Union Residents

Includes, Tuition, Boarding, School Books & Stationery, Bed Linen and Laundry Supplies



Please Note: A 10% discount applies to subsequent brothers

 Late Joiners Levy

Please note that students who join the school after First Year (Year 1) are subject to a Late Joiners Levy as follows

Late Joiners Levy
Joining Year Levy
2nd or 3rd Year  €1,000
4th (TY) or 5th Year €2,000