The Sunday Times have but one wish and one alone; that we, as a nation, are comprehensively aware, and in possession, of a categorised breakdown of the top 400 secondary schools in the country - ranked in terms of the percentage of students that progress onto third-level education. To that end they have released the Sunday Times Best Schools Guide 2018 - which ranks the top 400 secondary schools in the country on the basis of what percentage of their graduating students, between 2015-2017, progressed to third-level education. And oh boy if you're a fan of sweeping rankings compiled on a relatively arbitrary metric of success then this is surely all your Christmases coming at once.
The top school in the country, for an unprecedented sixth year in a row, is Lauren Hill Coláiste in Limerick. This girl's school - which was also the first gaelscoil to be ranked top of the list back in 2014 - saw 95.2% of its students progress on to either university or an institute of technology. In addition it is also the only non-fee-paying school to top the rankings in the past 13 years.
This marks a period of unparalleled dominance. A pre-eminant ubiquity that leaves all others floundering in their wake. It puts one in mind of the supremacy of the Dublin GAA team which has come into such an era of dominance that it is calling the very structure of the sport into question. Perhaps, like the suggestions fielded to help temper this era of Dublin dominance, Lauren Hill Coláiste ought be split at the seems, the school itself wrent in two so as to try put an end to its hegemony. The building divided in half, walls erected to bisect classrooms - nay, the pupils and teachers themselves hewn in two so as to divest this school's power into two, smaller institutions... Though I cede that some parts of this suggestion, re: hewing students in two, may prove less viable than others.
The top boys' school was Presentation Brothers College, Mardyke, Cork which saw 90.2% of its students progress to third-level, seeing it climb from 7th place to joint 3rd this year.
Of those in the top 25 schools the one which saw the greatest climb in the rankings from last year was Sandford Park School in Ranelagh, Dublin. It was ranked 43rd on the list in 2018 but has seen a jump to 14th place in this year's rankings.
Check out the top 25 schools on the list below:
1) (1) Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ, Sth Circular Rd, Limerick, Girls 96.4%
2) (3) Coláiste Íosagáin, Booterstown, Co Dublin,Girls 87.0%
3= (5) Loreto College, St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2
3= (7) Presentation Brothers College, Mardyke, Cork, Boys 90.2% %
5) (4) Gonzaga College, Ranelagh, Dublin 6 88.8%
6) (6) The Teresian School, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, Girls 87.5%
7) (2) Scoil Mhuire, Sidney Place, Cork, Girls 85.8%
8) (29) Muckross Park College, Donnybrook, Dublin 4 84.9%
9) (9) Mount nville Secondary School, Goatstown, Dublin 14 84.5%
10) (10) Coláiste na Coiribe, Knocknacarra, Galway, Mixed 84.4%
11) (30) Holy Child School, Killiney, Co Dublin 84.1%
12) (19) Blackrock College, Blackrock, Co Dublin 83.9%
13) (11) Castleknock College, Castleknock, Dublin 15 83.6%
14) (43) Sandford Park School, Ranelagh, Dublin 6 83.0%
15) (25) St Conleth's College, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, 82.5%
16) (26) Coláiste Eoin, Booterstown, Co Dublin, 82.4%
17) (13) Christian Brothers College, Sidney Hill, Cork 82.3%
18) (17) Loreto High School Beaufort, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14 81.9%
19) (8) Salerno Jesus and Mary Secondary School, Salthill, Galway 81.9%
20) (20) Belvedere College, Great Denmark St, Dublin 1, Boys 81.5%
21) (14) Mount Sackville Secondary School, Chapelizod, Dublin 20 81.5%
22) (12) Coláiste Iognáid SJ, Sea Road, Galway 80.9%
23) (35) Loreto College, Foxrock, Dublin 80.8%
24) (28) St Andrew's College, Blackrock, Co Dublin 80.2%
25) (18) Holy Faith Secondary School, Clontarf, Dublin 3 80.1%