School Leavers


Department of Education and Skills

Key information

The level of education attained, stage left school, examination results, participation in transition year, participation in part-time work while in school, participation in Post Leaving Certificate courses all classified by parents socio-economic background; economic status of school leavers by level of educational attainment; labour market participation (employment, apprenticeships and unemployment) rates; sector of employment and occupational status of school leavers. Many statistics are also classified by sex.


The School Leavers Survey carried out the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills. Prior to the survey conducted in 2002, the survey was carried out by the ESRI on behalf of the Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation.


Students leaving second level education, including Post Leaving Certificate courses, during the reference academic year. Currently the cohort excludes those aged over 25 years of age. Frequency



Reference period

Varying by statistic, one year or two years after the end of the final academic year of second level education. Start date

Start date

2004, with hardcopy reports available back to the academic year 1978/1979


Typically three and a half years after the end of the final academic year of second level education. Classifications


  • Economic status
    Employed; Student; Apprenticeship; Emigrated; Unemployed (After loss of job; Seeking first job); Training; Unavailable for work/Economically Inactive.
  • Socio-economic background
    Farmer/agricultural; Higher/lower professional; Employer/manager; Intermediate/other non-manual; Skilled/semi-/unskilled/manual; Unemployed; Other/unknown
  • Education attained (student)
    No qualifications; Junior certificate; Leaving certificate (LC Established; LC Applied; LC Vocational).
  • Education attained (parent)
    Primary or less; Junior cert (or equivalent); Leaving cert (or equivalent); PLC course; Cert/Diploma; Degree.
  • Sector of employment
    Industry; Distribution; Personal services; Banking; Professional services; Transport & communications; Public administration; Agriculture & Fisheries.
  • Occupation
    Service; Skilled & semi-skilled; Manual; Clerical; Managerial/professional; Other manual; Agriculture and fishery.


People and Society - Education

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