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 2018 – a survey that is conducted every three years and in which Ireland ranked as follows: 




Age Limits

The minimum age for admission into 1st Year is 13 years old on June 30th following the September of entry. The maximum age for admission into 1st Year is 13 years on January 1st of the year of entry. The Headmaster and Principal reserve the right to exercise discretion in extending the relevant period.

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 that 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 English and Maths, students will also sample all Leaving Certificate subjects on offer at Glenstal.  TY provides International students with an excellent opportunity to improve their English.  

The Leaving Certificate is a two-year programme, 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 Department will assist students in preparing applications to national and international universities.

The School year consists of three terms

Useful Links

Our Exam Results

The Leaving Certificate points obtained by our students exceed the national average each year.  In 2019, our students attained an average of 500 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.

Irish Secondary Education Explained – Senior School for students aged 12 – 18 Years Second-level education consists of a three-year Junior Cycle followed by a three-year Senior Cycle, which includes Transition Year.


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.

Travel & Visas

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 [email protected].

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

Glenstal Abbey provides external links as a convenience to our users. The appearance of external links does not constitute an endorsement by Glenstal Abbey of the views, activity or content contained therein.

Glenstal Abbey provides external links as a convenience to our users. The appearance of external links does not constitute an endorsement by Glenstal Abbey of the views, activity or content contained therein.

[hubspot type=form portal=6886884 id=969c91bb-dfaa-4f73-af9e-64f9c329acd5]