Implementation of the New Junior Cycle Programme

The New Junior Cycle

The new junior cycle will place the student at the centre of the learning process. The new junior cycle is made up of newly developed subjects and short courses, a focus on literacy, numeracy and key skills, and new approaches of assessment and reporting. The Junior Cycle will also encompass a range of other learning experiences. Students will also engage in an area of learning entitled Wellbeing.

This will be introduced for students starting first year in 2017. New subject specifications are being implemented in schools on a phased basis.

Underpinning the new junior cycle are a set of principles, key skills and statements of learning.  Students will receive a rich educational experience that has both breadth and depth.  Students will have access to a varied curriculum of knowledge, skills and values.


Key Skills

Eight key skills permeate across the entire curriculum. Through engaging with the key skills students will be more actively engaged with learning; take greater ownership of their learning; have a critical engagement with digital technology and be encouraged to problem solve and think creatively.



How student achievement at Junior Cycle will be assessed

Junior cycle students will receive a new Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA). The JCPA will report on a number of areas, including:

1.    Subjects

2.    Classroom Based Assessments

3.    Short courses

4.    Other Learning Experiences


Classroom Based Assessments and Assessment Tasks

Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs) provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning and skills in ways not possible in a pen and paper examination, for example, their verbal communication and investigation skills.  CBAs will be undertaken in subjects and short courses and will be facilitated by the classroom teacher. CBAs will be undertaken during a defined time period within normal class time and to a national timetable. Students will complete one CBA in second year and one in third year.

Once the second CBA is completed students in third year will complete a written Assessment Task.  This task, set by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), is undertaken during normal class time and will be sent to the State Examinations Commission (SEC) for marking. This Assessment Task will be worth 10% of the overall mark in the case of most subjects. 

At the end of third year, students will sit the final SEC examination in June.  CBAs will be reported on in the JCPA using the following descriptors:

  • Exceptional
  • Above Expectations
  • In Line with Expectations
  • Yet to Meet Expectations


Short Courses

Schools may offer short courses on their junior cycle programme.  A short course is designed for approximately 100 hours of student engagement across two or three years of the junior cycle. Short courses available include Coding, Digital Media Literacy, Artistic Performance, Civic, Social and Political Education, Physical Education and Social Personal and Health Education.

Digital Media Literacy will be introduced to first year students in Beaufort College in September 2017-2018.


Other Learning Experiences

Students will have the opportunity to engage with a range of other learning experiences as part of their junior cycle programme and these can be recorded on the JCPA.  These learning experiences could include student engagement in a science fair, a musical performance, a debating competition or being a member of school clubs.


Student Wellbeing

Student wellbeing is of central importance to educational success and overall happiness.  As a result Wellbeing will become a core part of the Junior Cycle programme.  This area of learning includes, amongst others, Physical Education, Civic, Social and Political Education, Social, Personal and Health Education and Guidance.


For further information on the new Junior Cycle visit


virtual tour 2


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