Junior cycle (lower secondary education) is a three year programme which is usually taken by students between the ages of 12/13 and 15/16 years. Subjects are normally studied at either Ordinary or Higher Level, although three subjects, Irish, English and Mathematics, can also be studied at Foundation Level.
Click here for Syllabuses and Prescribed Material (prescribed material comprises works of literature, art, music, etc. on which examination questions can be based)
While a majority of subjects are assessed as part of the Junior Certificate Examination, junior cycle also includes a number of subjects that are an important part of the curriculum, but are not formally assessed in this way.
Non-examination subjects at junior cycle include Physical Education and Social, Personal and Health Education (must be studied but is not examinable). Religious Education is available both as an examination and non-examination subject.
A revised Junior Cycle will begin phased implementation in 2014 (see NCCA for more details).
On 4 October, 2012, Minister Quinn published A Framework for Junior Cycle. This document contains the Minister's plan to reform the junior cycle in post-primary schools. See also FAQs.
Junior Certificate Examination
The State Examinations Commission (SEC) is responsible for the development, assessment, accreditation and certification of the second-level examinations of the Irish state: the Junior Certificate and the Leaving Certificate. Information relating to the practical elements of the examinations is also dealt with by the State Examinations Commission.
Junior Certificate School Programme (JSCP)
The Junior Certificate School Programme (JCSP) is a national programme sponsored by the Department of Education and Skills and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). It aims to provide a curriculum framework that assists schools and teachers in making the Junior Certificate more accessible to those young people who are not fully engaging in school life and may leave school without formal qualifications. It attempts to help young people experience success and develop a positive self-image by providing a curriculum and assessment framework suitable to their needs. On completion of the programme students receive a profile which is an official record of their achievements from the Department of Education and Skills.
Contact for Further Information
Department of Education and Skills,
Curriculum & Assessment Policy Unit,
Phone: (01) 889 6400
Fax: (01) 889 2040