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Online Patronage Process System (OPPS)

Department of Education Logo
Online Patronage Process System (OPPS)
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Patronage of New Schools

To view information on the school areas and applicant patrons, please click here

In 2018, the Government announced the establishment of 42 new schools over the four year period from 2019 to 2022. This was decided following on from a nationwide, forward-planning exercise carried out by the Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country. Since the 2018 announcement, two additional new primary schools established in 2019 and 2020 have been announced as well as the establishment of a new Irish-medium post-primary school in 2020 and two new post-primary schools in 2021, bringing total numbers of new schools for demographic purposes from 2019 to 2022 to 47 schools.

A patron of each school has to be decided. Parental preferences of parents/guardians of children who live in the school planning areas to be served by the new schools, together with the level of diversity currently available in these areas, are key to decisions in relation to the patronage of the schools.

Preferences are collected in a survey called the Online Patronage Process system (OPPS). The OPPS was developed to provide objective information to all parents and guardians to allow them to make an informed choice in expressing a preference for their preferred model of patronage for their child’s education.

The patronage process for new schools is overseen by an external independent advisory group, the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG). Once the online survey for patronage preferences has closed, the Department will complete reports for the NSEG on each of the areas.

Following their consideration of the Department’s reports, the NSEG submits recommendations to the Minister for consideration and final decision. The reports and the NSEG recommendations for all such patronage processes will be made available on the Department’s website.

Updates in relation to further patronage processes will be announced on the OPPS website and the Department’s website (

Please note that an expression of a parental preference for patronage of a school is not an application for enrolment. Once the school has been established, you must apply directly to the school in relation to your child’s enrolment.