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Primary enrolments at highest level since 2000

School enrolments are on the rise

PUPIL numbers at the north's primary schools are at their highest level since the new millennium.

Statistics released by the Department of Education show there are 173,744 children in Year 1-7, the highest level since 1999/00.

There are 140,545 pupils in post-primary schools, a slight increase of 142 on last year.

While there has been a rise of about 1,000 pupils in years 8-12 compared to last year, the number of sixth formers has dropped by the same number.

The Irish-medium and integrated sectors have enjoyed consistent growth over the last five years. There are now 6,184 pupils in Irish language settings, up from 4,633 in 2012/13 while integrated schools have grown from 21,503 to 23,088 young people over the same period.

The growth in integrated education is mainly seen in primary schools, and can also be explained by the fact that three primary schools transformed to integrated status in the last two years.

The total number of pupils in funded Irish-medium education has steadily risen over time, increasing by over 1,500 pupils since 2012/13 and more than 300 since last year. Most of this increase is coming from greater enrolments in Irish-medium schools rather than units.

More than 100,000 pupils are entitled to free school meals representing three in ten of all pupils.

Close to 80,000 have some form of special educational needs while `newcomer' numbers have risen from 9,747 to more than 15,000 in five years.

In 2017/18 there are approximately 90 first languages spoken by pupils, with Polish and Lithuanian being the most common behind English.

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