What is Junior Cycle?
This three year programme replaces the Junior Certificate and has been phased in since September 2014. Our outgoing cohort of 1st year students are the first group to have all Junior Cycle subjects. 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 Bycle 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.
These curriculum and assessment arrangements will promote a focus on active and collaborative learning. In particular, learners will be enabled to use and analyse information in new and creative ways, to investigate issues, to explore, to think for themselves, to be creative in solving problems and to apply their learning to new challenges and situations. Given the changing nature of knowledge, the ease with which students have access to information, and the pace of change in the workplace and the world generally, these competences and skills are critical to the preparation of young people for learning and living.
Compared to Traditional Junior Cycle, the new Junior Cycle has new approaches to assessment and reporting. There is a bigger emphasis on Wellbeing and students receive a Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement.
The diagram below shows that learning in the new Junior Cycle will be informed by twenty-four statements of learning that describe what your child should know, understand and value having participated in the Junior Cycle. There are eight principals that underpin the entire Framework for Junior Cycle and eight key skills that are required for successful learning by all students. For more information, please visit www.jct.ie.
What subjects do Junior Cycle students study?
Students study Irish, English, Maths, Science, History, Religious Education, Physical Education, SPHE (Short Course), CSPE (Short Course) and I.T. together, with three of the following subjects: Geography, French, Art, Graphics, Music, Wood Technology, Engineering, Home Economics, and Business Studies.
To cater for the needs and talents of individual students, Irish, English and Maths may be studied at two different levels: Higher Level (A: Árd) or Ordinary Level (G: Gnáth). Only students with an exemption recognised by the Department of Education and Skills can be excused from the study of Irish. All other new Junior Cycle subjects are studied at common level.