Over half a million children start the new year at primary school after the summer holidays, some for the first time.
First-timers at Scoil Ursula in Sligo are escorted by their parents on what can be a daunting first day.
The return to school has also raised questions over the teacher-student ratio with trade unions determined to defend any educational improvements set out under the Programme for Economic and Social Progress (PESP).
According to the National Parent's Council, one of the biggest worries for many parents is the cost of the school year. The Council is seeking a more equitable system of school funding.
Fionnuala Kilfeather of the National Parents Council comments
It's just such a basic thing to the country that we have good, free primary education for all our children.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 2 September 1991. The reporter is Lorna Donlon.