Junior Cycle

All students coming in to First Year follow Ten core Subjects:
  • Civic, Social, Political Education
  • Computers
  • Irish
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • History
  • Geography
  • Physical Education
  • Religious Education
  • Social, Personal, Health Education
All of these core subjects are taken for examination except CSPE, SPHE Computers and PE. To complement these core subjects, all students select four option subjects from the following:
  • Art
  • Business Studies
  • French
  • German
  • Home Economics
  • Material Technology Wood
  • Music
  • Science
  • Spanish
  • Technical Graphics
  • Technology
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

  • Wellbeing.junior_cycle.png

8 Key Skills

These key skills permeate across the entire curriculum.

Through engaging with these 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 have been revised and each one has its own specification replacing what was previously known as a syllabus.

What does that mean for students in Skerries Community College?

The biggest change for our Junior Cycle students is the introduction of Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs) and Other Areas of Learning (OALs). The exam itself is no longer the only means of sharing our students’ progress. The specifics of each element of the above JCPA (Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement) are explained below:

Classroom Based Assessment (CBAs)

Students will undertake two CBAs.

  • CBAs in all subjects are assessed at Common Level.

  • These assessments will cover a broad range of activities including oral tasks, written work of different types, practical or designing and making tasks, artistic performances, scientific experiments, projects or other suitable tasks depending on the subject in question.

  • CBAs will be undertaken by students within class time to a national timetable.

  • CBAs are assessed, during the SLAR process (school based), under the following descriptors:

    • Exceptional

    • Above Expectations

    • In Line with Expectations

    • Yet to Meet Expectations

  • CBA 2 is linked to an Assessment Task (AT).

    • This is a written Task to be submitted to the State Examinations Commission (SEC)

    • It is allocated 10% of the marks used to determine the grade awarded by the SEC.

    • The AT is directly related to the nature and focus of CBA 2.

      *Due to COVID 19, changes have been made to some of the above requirements.

Click here for CBA Dates 2023/24

Other Areas of Learning (OALs)

OALs record students' achievement, involvement and participation across a broad range of areas of learning through in-school activities in junior cycle. Activities participated in outside of school are not allowed to be considered in the JCPA. There is a page in each Junior Students' journal to track and record their OALs. Each OAL must be linked with the Junior Cycle Eight Key Skills:

  • Communication

  • Being Literate

  • Being Numerate

  • Being Creative

  • Managing myself

  • Staying Well

  • Managing Information and Thinking

  • Working with Others

Here is an example of how an OAL is worded:
  • Darragh has participated in the school’s writing competition and successfully earned 3rd place. He had to be both literate and creative.

  • John has had the role of Vice Captain of his class and with this role came the responsibility of bridging the communication gap between teachers and the students in his class.

  • Jane has performed in the school orchestra and has had to use her creative skills when both working as a group and playing her own instrument.

  • Donna took part in the school’s Shoe Box Appeal and was creative. She thought a lot about what would be beneficial to include in her donated shoe box.

OALs can be no more than 150 words long.
  • Maths, Irish & English will be available at Higher and Ordinary level.

  • All other subjects will have 1 common level paper.

  • 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 %

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