Junior Cycle

Junior Cycle:

All students coming in to First year follow nine Core subjects:

Irish English Mathematics
History Geography Physical Education
Religious Education Social, Personal, Health Education Civic, Social, Political Education


All of these core subjects are taken for examination except SPHE and PE. To complement these core subjects, all students select four option subjects from the following:

Art Business Studies French
Home Economics Material Technology Wood Music
Science Spanish Technical Graphics
Technology.  German  


Outline of the new Junior Cycle

The Junior Cycle has been revised by the National Council for Curriculum & Assessment (NCCA). They have published their revised programme, Framework for Junior Cycle. 

8 Principles underpin the Framework for Junior Cycle.  These inform the development and implementation of, junior cycle programmes in schools.  The eight principles of Junior Cycle are

Learning to Learn, Choice and Flexibility, Quality, Creativity and Innovation, Engagement and Participation, Continuity and Development, Inclusive Education and Wellbeing.

8 Key Skills 


*Staying Well        *Working with Others  *Being Creative      *Managing Information & Thinking         

*Being Numerate      *Managing Myself        *Communicating       *Being Literate

Eight key skills permeate across the entire curriculum.  Through engaging with

The key skills it is expected students will:

  • be more actively engaged with learning
  • take greater ownership of their learning
  • have a critical engagement with digital technology
  • be encouraged to problem solve and think creatively


There are twenty-four statements of learning which describe what the students

should know, understand and value having participated in Junior Cycle.

Schools will ensure that all statements of learning feature in the programme

offered to their Junior Cycle students.


Junior cycle students will receive a new Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA). The JCPA will reflect a much wider range of your child’s achievements over the three years of junior cycle. The JCPA will report on a number of areas, including:-

  1. Subjects     
  2. Classroom Based Assessments
  3. Short courses 
  4. Other Areas of Learning

All subjects are being revised and each one will have its own specification replacing what was previously known as a syllabus.  Maths, Irish & English will be available at Higher and Ordinary level.  All other subjects will have 1 common level paper.   Students can study a maximum of 10 subjects for the JCPA, and if their school offers short courses they can study 9 subjects plus 2 short courses or 8 subjects plus 4 short courses for certification purposes.   The state examination that students sit in their subject at the end of their Junior Cycle will also be graded differently. Instead of A, B, C, D, E, F and NG the following descriptors will now be used:

Distinction                    90 to 100 %

Higher Merit                75 to 89 %

Merit                                 55 to 74 %

Achieved                         40 to 54 %

Partially Achieved     20 to 39 %

Not Graded                      0 to 19 %


Classroom Based Assessments

(CBA’s) provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning and skills in each subject in ways not possible in a terminal examination, for example, their verbal communication and investigation skills. CBAs are undertaken in subjects and short courses and will be facilitated by the subject teacher.  CBA’s will be done during a defined time period within normal class contact time and to a national timetable in second & third year.

CBA’s are graded by the teacher and reported on the JCPA using the following descriptors:

  • Exceptional
  • Above Expectations
  • In line with Expectations
  • Yet to Meet Expectations


How do Classroom Based Assessments take place?

Details of the Classroom Based Assessment are set out in each subject and short course specification 

Teachers will choose Classroom Based Assessment activities as per the subject/short course specification

The NCCA will provide guidance on assessing these Classroom Based Assessments

Features of quality are described for each Classroom Based Assessment


Assessment Task

Once the second CBA is completed students in Third Year will complete a written Assessment Task

This task is set by the NCCA is done during normal class time and is sent to the SEC for marking.  This Assessment Task is worth 10% of the overall mark in most subjects.