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Junior Cycle

Junior cycle education places students at the center of the educational experience, enabling them to actively participate in their communities and in society and to be resourceful and confident learners in all aspects and stages of their lives. Junior cycle is inclusive of all students and contributes to equality of opportunity, participation and outcome for all.

A student usually takes between 10 and 11 subjects completing their final exams in June of their third year. Some subjects will also require classroom based assessments and assessment tasks to be completed as part of their studies. In February of third year students will also sit a pre-junior cert which gives them an insight to the exam structure and format ahead of the real exams in June. Along with the subjects below students will also study CSPE, SPHE, information Technology, Physical Education and Religion over their 3 years at Junior Cycle. 

Mandatory subjects that will be tested on the Junior Cert cycle are:

  • Irish

  • English

  • Math

  • French/German

  • Science

  • History

  • Geography

Optional subjects are:

  • Home Economics

  • Music

  • Business Studies

  • Visual Art

  • Graphics

  • Wood Technology

  • Applied Technology

The junior cycle allows students to make a greater connection with learning by focusing on the quality of learning that takes place and by offering experiences that are engaging and enjoyable for them, and relevant to their lives. These experiences are of a high quality, contribute directly to the physical, mental and social well-being of learners, and where possible, provide opportunities for them to develop their abilities and talents in the areas of creativity, innovation and enterprise. The learner’s junior cycle programme builds on their learning to date and actively supports their progress in learning, and in addition, supports them in developing the learning skills that will assist them in meeting the challenges of life beyond school. The junior cycle aims to develop and enhance eight key skills in pupils throughout the course of the three years.

Junior Cycle Grading System

Grade Descriptor

Percentage Range



Higher Merit






Partially Achieved


Not Graded (NG)


Key Skills

Key skills help learners develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to face the many challenges in today’s world. They also support students in learning how to learn and to take responsibility for their own learning.

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Statements of Learning

The learning at the core of junior cycle is described in 24 statements of learning. Schools will ensure that all statements of learning, along with the key skills feature in the programmes of all junior cycle students. The statements of learning aim that a student:

  1. Communicates effectively using a variety of means in a range of contexts in English

  2. Listens, speaks, reads and writes in L2 and one other language at a level of proficiency that is appropriate to her or his ability

  3. Creates, appreciates and critically interprets a wide range of texts

  4. Creates and presents artistic works and appreciates the process and skills involved

  5. Has an awareness of personal values and an understanding of the process of moral decision making

  6. Appreciates and respects how diverse values, beliefs and traditions have contributed to the communities and culture in which she/he lives

  7. Values what it means to be an active citizen, with rights and responsibilities in local and wider contexts

  8. Values local, national and international heritage, understands the importance of the relationship between past and current events and the forces that drive change

  9. Understands the origins and impacts of social, economic and environmental aspects of the world around her/him

  10. Has the awareness, knowledge, skills, values and motivation to live sustainably

  11. Takes action to safeguard and promote her/his wellbeing and that of others

  12. Is a confident and competent participant in physical activity and is motivated to be physically active

  13. Understands the importance of food and diet in making healthy lifestyle choices

  14. Makes informed financial decisions and develops good consumer skills

  15. Recognises the potential uses of mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding in all areas of learning

  16. Describes, illustrates, interprets, predicts and explains patterns and relationships

  17. Devises and evaluates strategies for investigating and solving problems using mathematical knowledge, reasoning and skills

  18. Observes and evaluates empirical events and processes and draws valid deductions and conclusions

  19. Values the role and contribution of science and technology to society, and their personal, social and global importance

  20. Uses appropriate technologies in meeting a design challenge

  21. Applies practical skills as she/he develop models and products using a variety of materials and technologies

  22. Takes initiative, is innovative and develops entrepreneurial skills

  23. Brings an idea from conception to realisation

  24. Uses technology and digital media tools to learn, communicate, work and think collaboratively and creatively in a responsible and ethical manner

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