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 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. 

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. 

For more information click here or alternatively visit the Junior Cycle website at www.jct.ie. 

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.  

Junior Cycle is 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, Mathematics, Science, History, Religious Education, Physical Education, Social, Personal & Health Education (SPHE) (Short Course), Civic Social & Political Education (CSPE) and I.T. together, with three of the following subjects: Geography, French, Art, Craft & Design, Technical Graphics, Music, Materials Technology – Wood, Metalwork, Engineering, Home Economics, and Business Studies.

To cater for the needs and talents of individual students, Irish (Gaeilge), 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. 

Click here to find a more detailed description of each subject at Junior Cycle level.

To find out more about recent changes to the Junior Cycle, click here.

Check out individual subjects below.


Junior Cycle English


A Framework for the Junior Cycle (ncca.ie)


JC_Mathematics_Specification.pdf (curriculumonline.ie)


Business Studies

Visual Art



Engineering (curriculumonline.ie)



Home Economics


Modern Foreign Languages (curriculumonline.ie)

Technical Graphics


Wood Technology

Wood Technology (curriculumonline.ie)

Level 2 Learning Programmes

Level 1 Learning Programmes

Wellbeing subjects

Physical Education

Civic, Social, Political Education (CSPE)

Social, Personal, Health Education (SPHE)

Digital Media Literacy