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Post-Primary Pupil Database


Department of Education and Skills

Subject Keywords: Student, Education, School
Catalogue: Data
Primary Data Sources
Type: Data
Region: Republic of Ireland

The Post-Primary Pupil Database is currently the only national archive of student enrolment at post-primary schools. Individual and personal data on each student enrolled in each recognised post-primary school are collected by the Department of Education and Skills.

Primary Function

Data used to inform annual allocation of teaching posts and funding by the Department of Education and Skills. Data also used to track pupil retention.Teaching posts and funding are allocated each year by the Department based on the numbers of recognised students enrolled in each post-primary school on 30th September in the previous year. Each post-primary school is obliged to provide individualised data on each student to the Department (referred to as the October Returns).

Key Variables

PPSN; ID Other (any form of unique identifier other than PPSN); Sex; DOB; County (refers to the collection of details of address at the level of county, usually one of the
32 counties in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.); Geog Sub County (refers to the collection of details of address at a more localised level than
county, e.g. Local Health Office (HSE).); Geog Other (refers to any remaining coding for address. This key variable typically contains
regional-level coding composed of a group of counties, e.g. Health Service Executive Area.); Nationality

Unit Of Observation

Individual post-primary student

Start Date

1991. Since 1991, the Department of Education and Skills has retained all individual data on students collected via the October Returns.


Annually, on 30th September each year.

Target Population

Individual post-primary student


Individualised data are returned to the Department of Education and Skills using students’ PPSNs as a unique identifier. The Department aggregates individual data in order to meet statistical, policy and research functions.


Data are transferred to the Department of Education and Skills electronically via the ESINET network system and stored in the Post-Primary Pupil Database.




Rights: © Government of Ireland
Suggested citation:

Department of Education and Skills. (2014) Post-Primary Pupil Database [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 26th March 2019].


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