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Junior Cycle Curriculum

Beginning on a phased basis in September 2014, the new junior cycle features revised subjects and short courses, a focus on key skills, and new approaches to assessment and reporting. Schools have more freedom to design junior cycle programmes that meet the learning needs of all students. For students, the new junior cycle means that the curriculum available in their schools is a mix of subjects and short courses as well as other learning experiences.

Classroom-based assessments
During second and third year, students complete a number of Classroom-Based Assessments.

For a small group of students with special educational needs, priority learning units (PLUs) are provided. These components enable the statements of learning and key skills to become a reality for the students throughout their three-year junior cycle.

In this section of the website you will find the new subject and short course specifications which are part of the new junior cycle.  The section also has curriculum documents for the current junior cycle. To see what a new subject specification looks like, check out the specification for English  on this website.

The Junior Certificate

Almost all junior cycle students take courses leading to the Junior Certificate, the State examination taken at the end of the third year of junior cycle, when students are 15 years of age.


Senior Cycle Curriculum

Senior cycle education in Ireland may be of two or of three year’s duration. Students may follow a two-year Leaving Certificate programme or they may take an additional optional year at the start of their senior cycle. This year is called Transition Year.

Most students take the Leaving Certificate examination at the end of their senior cycle. Students normally choose 6 to 8 subjects from the list of approved subjects.

Students following the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) take 6 or 7 Leaving Certificate subjects and two additional Link Modules: Preparation for the World of Work and Enterprise Education.

Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) students follow a pre-vocational programme made up of a range of courses that are structured round three elements: Vocational Preparation, Vocational Education and General Education.


Leaving Certificate Established

The Leaving Certificate (Established) is a two-year programme that aims to provide learners with a broad, balanced education while also offering them a chance to specialise towards particular higher education and career options.

In general, students take five or more subjects (usually seven) for examination, one of which must be Irish. Subjects are normally studied at either Ordinary or Higher Level. Two subjects, Irish and Mathematics, can be studied at Foundation Level.