Early Eucation in ireland
Students must go to school from ages 6 to 16 or until they have completed three years of second-level of education.  Under the Constitution of Ireland, parents are not obliged "in violation of their conscience and lawful preference to send their children to schools established by the State, or to any particular type of school designated by the State." However the parental right to home-educate his/her child has met legal contests over minimum standards in the absence of constitutional provision for State-defined educational standards.
In 1973 the Irish language requirement for a second-level certificate was abandoned. However the Irish language remains a core subject taught in all public schools with exemptions given to individual pupils on grounds of significant periods lived abroad, or with learning difficulties etc.
While English is the primary medium of instruction at all levels in most schools across the state, Gaelscoileanna i.e. Irish-language schools, have become increasingly popular outside Gaeltacht regions where they have traditionally been. In these schools, Irish is the primary medium of instruction at all levels and English is taught as a second language.
At third level, most university programs are conducted in English, with only a few Irish options. Some universities offer courses partly through French, German or Spanish.
Ireland has one of the best education systems in the world with regard to higher education achievements.
Most play schools in Ireland are in the private sector. Increasingly children of working parents, who are below school age, attend a myriad of crèches, play-schools, Montessori schools, etc., which have sprung up in response to the needs of modern families. These operate as businesses and may charge often substantial childcare fees. Since 2009, in response to public demand for affordable childcare, children may receive two years free preschool the years prior to starting primary schools under the "Early Childcare and Education Scheme".
Irish language Naíonraí are growing rapidly across Ireland. Nearly 4,000 preschoolers attend 278 preschool groups.
Junior Infants (age 4-5/5-6)
Senior Infants (age 5-6/6-7)
First Class (age 6-7/7-8)
Second Class (age 7-8/8-9)
Third Class (age 8-9/9-10)
Fourth Class (age 9-10/10-11)
Fifth Class (age 10-11/11-12)
Sixth Class (age 11-12/12-13)
Primary school children usually start between 8:30 a.m. and 9:20 a.m. Children finish between 1.10 p.m. and 2 p.m. in Junior & Senior infants, while older children spend another hour in school and finish between 2:10 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Since 1967 secondary school education has been state funded in Ireland.
The Junior Cycle is a three-year programme, culminating in the Junior Certificate examination. The Junior Certificate examination is sat in all subjects (usually 10 or 11) in early June, directly after the end of Third Year.
First Year (age 12–14)
Second Year (age 13–15)
Third Year (age 14–16)
Transition Year sometimes called Fourth Year (age 15–17) – depending on school, this may be compulsory, optional or unavailable.
The Senior Cycle is a two-year programme to prepare students for the Leaving Certificate examinations. The Leaving Certificate examinations take place directly after the end of Sixth Year, with the first exam being held on the Wednesday following the June public holiday (the first Monday in June).
Fifth Year (age 16–18 or age 15–17 if Transition Year is skipped)
Sixth Year (age 17–19 or age 16–18 if Transition Year is skipped)
To prepare students for the State examination in both the Senior (Leaving Certificate) and Junior (Junior Certificate) cycles, many schools hold Mock Examinations (also known as Pre-Certificate Examinations) around February each year. These "mocks" are not state examinations: independent companies provide the exam papers and marking schemes – and are therefore not mandatory across all schools.