School enrolment continues to grow, with an additional almost 10,000 pupils accommodated within the primary and post primary school systems over the past year, according to the latest Department of Education data.

An extra 5,500 students were enrolled in second-level schools, while the primary sector grew by 4,300.

More than half the growth at primary level took place in multi-denominational schools, which grew to accommodate an additional almost 2,300 children in 2018.

The increase in enrolment at multi-denominational schools represents a rise of almost 8% for that sector, but it is from a low base.

Just 5.7% of primary school places are now multi-denominational, compared to 94% that are religious.

Almost 2,000 additional school places were provided in Catholic primary schools. The Catholic primary school sector continues to expand, despite a Government commitment to reduce reliance on Catholic schools.

There has been no marked change in numbers attending Church of Ireland or other religious-run primary schools.

A total of almost 560,000 children are currently enrolled across the primary school sector.

Just over 90% of them attend Catholic schools.

While the overall number of pupils attending Catholic schools grows the number of Catholic schools in the country has fallen by nine.

The number of multi-denominational schools rose by four this year.

Small schools remain a distinctive feature of the Irish primary education system.

Seven hundred and eight primary schools here have 60 or fewer pupils. That is 23% of all schools at this level. Since 2010 however the number of small primary schools has decreased by 10%.

Enrolment at post-primary schools has increased by 1.5% over the past year, to more than 360,000 students.

More than half of students at this level attend religious run schools, the vast majority Catholic. But the number of multi-denominational secondary schools is increasing, while the number of Catholic schools declines.

The size of post-primary schools is also increasing. Over the past decade the number of post-primary schools with more than 800 pupils has grown by more than 80%, from 54 to 99. This trend is expected to continue.