Ireland’s education responses to the influx of Ukrainian students

Preschool and Basic Education

Ukrainian children and youth will have access to two years of free pre-school, as well as general education. Efforts are being made to ensure a family-centered approach across schools and to support adults and children learn English. Schools are also working with the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) on an ongoing basis to ensure sufficient special class placements for Ukrainian children with special educational needs.

In order to streamline the alignment of supports for Ukrainian families arriving in Ireland, the Department of Education has established Regional Education and Language Teams (REALT). REALTs are hosted by the 16 regional education and training boards around Ireland and staffed by regionally based education support personnel. The primary role of the REALT is to build on existing regional education support structures and the initial focus will be on assisting Ukrainian families in securing school places. REALT will also support schools in the area to meet the needs of these children as they emerge, to advise and support the Department of Education in developing new capacity where required, and to co-ordinate the provision of education services to schools and families across their defined area. These teams will ensure that clear, accessible information flows are in place between schools, local education support services and national support structures in relation to people arriving from Ukraine.

In terms of school capacity and given the pressing humanitarian needs, in the short-term the Department asked schools to consider all currently available accommodation in the most flexible possible way.  It also asked schools to fill promptly the survey for the National Inventory of School Capacity, via an online portal, with respect to potential places within the schools’ current accommodation to facilitate the planning of school placements of Ukrainian children.


Vocational Training

Once a Ukrainian refugee is granted Temporary Protection under the EU Directive, they are entitled to seek employment or self-employment and vocational training education activities in Ireland.


Higher Education

The Government expresses the need to ensure refugees can access higher education. The sector has agreed to provide places for Irish students who have had to leave Ukraine in the middle of their studies.

Ukrainian teachers will be fast-tracked through the registration process to allow them to teach in Irish classrooms.

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment shared a list of resources to support teaching and learning English as an additional language.

The National Education Psychological Service (NEPS) has developed resources to assist schools and teachers in support students. These include resources on supporting “the wellbeing of children from Ukraine in your school” and “supporting children and young people in a time of war”. The NEPS is delivering a series of wellbeing webinars via the Education Support Centers of Ireland, to further support schools, and will develop further advice and resources as needs emerge. In addition, NEPS psychologists are available on the ground to consult with schools and provide support as needed.

In terms of cultural and linguist supports, a central repository of resources and supports is available on These include a range of diversity and inclusion guidelines, relevant teaching and learning pedagogies, language material in Ukrainian and Russian in digital format as well as information about free digital tools, including apps, that can assist with text and voice translations.

The Department of Education in consultation with Bus Éireann is putting in place a new process to facilitate the provision of School Transport Scheme services for children arriving to Ireland from Ukraine. When set up, there will be link to a form (which will also be available in Ukrainian and Russian) for families/host families to apply for school transport. Children will be accommodated quickly on existing services where there is capacity. Children will not be charged for their ticket and normal eligibility criteria will be waived. If there is no service or capacity, a remote area grant can be offered to the family as appropriate.

For children residing in accommodation centers, the Department of Education is also putting in place a process to facilitate the provision of School Transport Scheme Services for children arriving to Ireland from Ukraine from the center in which they are residing to their school of attendance.

The EU issued operational guidelines for the implementation of Council implementing Decision 2022/382, establishing the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine within the meaning of Article 5 of Directive 2001/55/EC, and having the effect of introducing temporary protection (2022/C 126 I/01). As such, EU Member States shall grant access to their education system to persons under 18 years old enjoying the temporary protection status under the same conditions as their own nationals and EU citizens.


Government sources:

"Minister Harris Meets with Universities to Discuss the Higher Education Response to Ukraine." Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science – press release on Accessed March 22, 2022.

"Information for Schools – Ukraine." - Search for Services or Information. Accessed April 5, 2022. (including downloadable pdf  “Letter to schools regarding the provision of support to children arriving from Ukraine”, dated 05 April 2022)

"Supporting Children and Young People in a Time of War." Department of Education – press release on Accessed March 22, 2022.

"Employment, Childcare and Education." Department of the Taoiseach. Press release on Accessed April 5, 2022.


Other sources:

"University Study Will Be Available to Ukrainian Refugees, Says Minister." Impartial Reporter. Accessed March 22, 2022.

“Almost 13,500 Ukrainian refugees arrive in Ireland - McEntee”. RTE. Accessed March 28, 2022.